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Morning Star to trial Scottish edition in bid to double circulation there following 'shift' in political landscape

The Morning Star is aiming to double its Scottish circulation within a year by trialling separate Scotland editions to meet an “increased appetite for a different kind of news coverage” in the country.

The newspaper, which claims to be the only English-language socialist daily in the world, announced plans to increase its reach in Scotland at its conference for readers and supporters in Glasgow on Saturday.

Scotland editor Conrad Landin told Press Gazette: “There was a feeling that with the shift in the Scottish political landscape recently and also the election of Richard Leonard as the Scottish Labour leader – he’s been a contributor to the Morning Star in the past – there is an increased appetite for a different kind of news coverage and coverage from the left which we have consistently done since the paper was founded in 1930.

“But this is a good moment in the Scottish political scene in time for us to expand up here.”

According to the newspaper, Scottish TUC deputy general secretary Dave Moxham suggested at the conference that the Scottish Morning Star could take advantage of the collapse of the political centre to build support for a popular politics.

It also reported that Labour activists Vince Mills and Carol Mochan had said there was huge potential in building the paper’s reach in constituency Labour parties, while Unison Scotland’s Kate Ramsden said it provided a “left-wing counterbalance to what we read in the rest of the media”.

Landin was appointed the paper’s Scotland editor in March after four years as its industrial correspondent based in London.

Previously the newspaper only had a part-time reporter in Scotland.

If the Morning Star is able to build its Scottish circulation and increase its revenue from sales and advertising, Landin said it will “ideally” hire more people to work on content for the country – but that is “still some way in the future”, he admitted.

The Morning Star is a reader-owned co-operative which has always been “quite constrained” in its resources, added Landin.

He said launch of separate editions will enable the paper to target Scottish organisations for advertising “with the knowledge that they will have a wider reach than the paper would have previously had in Scotland”.

From around October the team plan to begin launching the separate Scottish edition on targeted days to coincide with political events or exclusives, with additional content focusing on the politics and industry.

Before that, Landin said they are working to ensure they will be able to offer a “full complement” of Scottish content across culture and sport, instead of limiting it to news and politics.

The newspaper already carries a column every Tuesday called Voices of Scotland and Landin writes a weekly column on Scottish politics which is published every Saturday.

After expanding its Scottish coverage, the aim is to double its circulation in the country in around a year.

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