The Scotsman is a Scottish compact newspaper published from Edinburgh. It was a broadsheet until 16 August 2004. Its sister publication, the Sunday newspaper Scotland on Sunday, remains a broadsheet. The Scotsman Publications Ltd also issues the Edinburgh Evening News and the Herald & Post series of free newspapers in Edinburgh, Fife, and West Lothian.
As of November 2012, it had an audited print circulation of 28,500, down from 35,949 in 2012 (Jan – Aug average) and 42,581 in August 2011. Scotsman.com websites, including the news site, job site, property site, mobile site and others have an average of 105,959 visitors a day.
The Scotsman was launched in 1817 as a liberal weekly newspaper by lawyer William Ritchie and customs official Charles Maclaren in response to the “unblushing subservience” of competing newspapers to the Edinburgh establishment. The paper was pledged to “impartiality, firmness and independence.”
William Ritchie (1781 – 4 February 1831) was a Scottish lawyer, journalist and newspaper owner. He was born at Lundin Mill, Fife, where his father had a flax dressing business.
At the age of 19 he moved to Edinburgh, and after some years employment in the offices of two firms of solicitors, he joined the Society of Solicitors in the Supreme Courts of Scotland in 1808.
After contributing to various publications for a number of years, in 1816 he joined with Charles Maclaren, his elder brother John Ritchie and John Ramsay McCulloch in founding The Scotsman newspaper, the first number of which appeared the following year. Ritchie was joint editor of the paper with Maclaren until Ritchie’s death in 1831.
In 1824 he published Essays on Constitutional Law and Forms of Process and in 1827 was appointed a commissioner under the Improvements Act. He campaigned for reform of policing and prison conditions, especially for poor debtors.
Charles Maclaren FRSE FGS (7 October 1782 – 10 September 1866) was a Scottish journalist and geologist. He co-founded The Scotsman newspaper, and edited the 6th Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
Maclaren was born in Ormiston, Haddingtonshire, the son of a farmer and cattle-dealer. He was almost entirely self-educated, and when a young man became a mercantile clerk in Edinburgh. In 1817, with John Ritchie, John Ramsay McCulloch and William Ritchie, he established The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh and at first acted as its editor. Offered a post as clerk in the custom house, he resigned his editorial position, resuming it in 1820, and resigning it again in 1845. In 1820, Maclaren was appointed editor of the sixth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. From 1864-1866 he was president of the Edinburgh Geological Society, in which city he died in 1866.
Its modern editorial line is firmly anti-independence. After the abolition of newspaper stamp tax in Scotland in 1850, The Scotsman was relaunched as a daily newspaper priced at 1d and a circulation of 6,000 copies.
In 1953 the newspaper was bought by Canadian millionaire Roy Thomson who was in the process of building a large media group. The paper was bought in 1995 by David and Frederick Barclay for £85 million. They moved the newspaper from its Edinburgh office on North Bridge, which is now an upmarket hotel, to modern offices in Holyrood Road designed by Edinburgh architects CDA, near the subsequent location of the Scottish Parliament Building.
In December 2005, The Scotsman was acquired, in a £160 million deal, by its present owners Johnston Press a company founded in Scotland and now one of the top three largest local newspaper publishers in the UK.
Ian Stewart has been the editor since June 2012, after a reshuffle of senior management in April 2012, during which John McLellan who was the paper’s Editor-in-Chief was dismissed. Ian Stewart was previously editor of Edinburgh Evening News and remains as the editor of Scotland on Sunday.
In 2012, The Scotsman was named Newspaper of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.
1817: William Ritchie
1817: Charles Maclaren
1818: John Ramsay McCulloch
1843: John Hill Burton (acting)
1846: Alexander Russel
1876: Robert Wallace
1880: Charles Alfred Cooper
1905: John Pettigrew Croal
1924: George A. Waters
1944: James Murray Watson
1955: John Buchanan (acting)
1956: Alastair Dunnett
1972: Eric MacKay
1985: Chris Baur
1988: Magnus Linklater
1994: Andrew Jaspan
1995: James Seaton
1997: Martin Clarke
1998: Alan Ruddock
2000: Tim Luckhurst
2000: Rebecca Hardy
2001: Iain Martin
2004: John McGurk
2006: Mike Gilson
2009: John McLellan
2012: Ian Stewart
Source: The Scotsman Digital Archive
Since 1998, the Scotsman has had an internet portal that features the latest news, sports, business, property, motors and sport in different sections of the site. It has had live webcams and panoramas around Scotland. It also has sections for other Scotsman Publications including Scotland on Sunday and the Evening News.