THE former editor-in-chief of The Scotsman, John McLellan, has been appointed the new director of the Scottish Newspaper Society and will be stepping down as director of communications with the Scottish Conservatives in order to take up the new post.
Says a Scottish Conservatives media release, he will continue to work for the party before taking up his appointment on September 2, when he takes over from interim SNS director, Jim Raeburn – who returned to the post following the stepping down, in April, of Jim Chisholm.
McLellan was axed at The Scotsman in April last year. And he is quoted in the release, as saying: “I am grateful to the Scottish Conservatives for the opportunity to work in the Scottish Parliament and see the political world from the other side of the fence.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with [Scottish Conservatives leader] Ruth Davidson, for whom I retain a very high regard.
“But the lure of going back to the industry in which I spent the vast majority of my working life was too great and I look forward to working with newspaper colleagues old and new.
“My time in Holyrood has confirmed what I always knew was the case; that vibrant, sustainable, independent newspapers are a vital part of our democracy and should remain so.”
He is an honorary professor of journalism at the University of Stirling. He has also served on the Press Complaints Commission and the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee. He is a former chair of the SNS Editors’ Committee, and when it used to be known as the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society.
Davidson is quoted, as saying: “I thank John for his all hard work for the Scottish Conservatives and for the benefit his experience has brought to the party.
“His input has been vital as we reshape the Conservative message at a crucial time in Scottish Politics.
“I have enjoyed our time working together and I know he will bring the same passion and tenacity to his new role as he has demonstrated here in the Parliament.
“I wish him well for the future.”
And SNS president, Tim Blott, is also quoted, this time saying: “We are delighted John is joining us as director.
“He has a wealth of experience and great passion for our industry.
“His communication skills will be very valuable as Scottish newspapers evolve in print and online and play a crucial role in our ever-changing society.”