Former editor of 'Scotsman' website set to launch paper

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The Independent Online

A former editor of The Scotsman's website is set to launch a "heavyweight" online newspaper within weeks as he strives to prove there is a future for quality journalism north of the Border.

Stewart Kirkpatrick has assembled a team of journalists in preparation for the launch of a Scottish newspaper that is "designed to succeed in the new publishing environment".

The launch comes at a time when newspapers have slashed costs and looked to new revenue streams, such as charging for online content, to combat the worst advertising recession in living memory. Mr Kirkpatrick said he knew "this seems like madness" but insisted there was a "substantial gap in the market".

He said he had identified "significant" prospective revenue streams and was not hampered by the costs facing many in the industry. He added: "There's room – in fact, a desperate need – for an online, heavyweight publication committed to quality journalism. Scotland needs an intelligent title that uses the internet, not fights against it."

The paper will target niche interests including politics, business and Scottish heritage, he added. It will not try to reinvent the model of his former employer or the Glasgow Herald, and would be "very different from what has gone before".

While it will be predominantly published online, print copies will be available, not on a daily or weekly basis but in "innovative, unexpected ways". He declined to give further details.

Mr Kirkpatrick, who edited Scotsman.com for seven years and set up a consultancy W00tonomy, said he had built up a "fantasy newsroom in my head of talented journalists that I would employ if I ever could". He said he had signed up "leading writers, respected authorities in their fields and asked them to let rip". "This new project will prove there is a future for high-quality journalism – if both imaginative and nimble," Mr Kirkpatrick added.

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