Setting a new Standard in newspaper market

A NEW weekly newspaper - the Scottish Standard - will hit the newsstands on March 9 and editor Alex MacLeod’s 11-strong editorial team are currently working on the launch issue.

The Scottish Standard is financed by Belfast-based Flagship Media Group, one of Ireland’s largest newspaper-to-internet publishers.

The new weekly will be a full-colour 56-page tabloid, with an expected cover price of 70p and a pledged pro-Scotland, pro-independence editorial ethos.

MacLeod, 55, who spent 22 years at the Sunday Mail , and was editor-in-chief of First Press, the Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail’s magazine division, has assembled a five-strong executive team. The deputy editor is Allan Burnett, recruited from the Sunday Herald; production/sports editor John Maclean, is from the Sunday Mail; news editor Graham Martin is former news editor of the Big Issue Scotland; Marc Horne, from the Evening Express, Aberdeen, is political editor; and former freelancer Nick Bibby is business editor.

The man behind the venture is Scots-born publisher Derek Carstairs, 37, the owner and managing director of Flagship Media Group, which he founded in 1995. Although he claims that extensive market research reveals a gap in the market, the new weekly is being pitched into a crowded marketplace.

Steven Walker, the managing director of Scotsman Publications, said: "We must have one of the most competitive markets in the world and success in Scottish newspapers does not come cheap. I would have thought the experience of Business AM, where the Swedish Bonnier group lost millions over three years, would be enough to put people off."