Scotsman Editor Frank O’Donnell: Trust matters and impartial journalism is vital

Last year The Scotsman celebrated 200 years of publishing. Picture: TSPL
Last year The Scotsman celebrated 200 years of publishing. Picture: TSPL
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Online news reporting offers many temptations to sacrifice quality in the race for audience.

Clickable headlines that don’t match up to the content; stories broken online so quickly they are not properly sourced; and the lure of publishing articles which have little to do with your core readership.

Attracting a large audience is vital as it helps to pay for journalism and demonstrates a title’s continued relevance in a digital age.

And every journalist wants to have their work read by as many people as possible.

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So, temptations exist.

Frank O'Donnell, Editorial Director of Scotsman Publications.'' Picture: Neil Hanna

Frank O'Donnell, Editorial Director of Scotsman Publications.'' Picture: Neil Hanna

But a growing number of news publishers are choosing more sophisticated approaches that blend audience growth with strong editorial values and investment in journalism.

Trust matters.

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The Scotsman has been a leading player in the digital space since the launch of scotsman.com in the late 1990s, ahead of many other publishers.

Our focus is simple. A relentless attention on the news that affects Scotland. Explainers, analysis, intelligent opinion and a sense of humour are what our readers love.

We were pleased this week to see high levels of public trust in our journalism.

Research by Ipsos Mori for Pamco, based on interviews with 35,000 people, showed that The Scotsman is ahead of The Herald, The Telegraph and eight other national titles, with a net approval rating of 79 per cent.

In total, 91 per cent of scotsman.com’s audience said that reading The Scotsman was “time well spent” and on the question of whether a title “offers me something I can’t get elsewhere”.

The Scotsman was number one in the UK, ahead of The Times, Guardian, Telegraph and Herald, with a net approval of 84 per cent – a massive 9 per cent ahead of its nearest rival.

I believe this is because The Scotsman is Scottish from front to back, reporting on Scottish business, arts, culture, news, sport, obituaries, features and lifestyle. And we are independent of party political bias, ensuring that our opinion section contains a diverse array of thought from across the political spectrum.

But we must continue to improve. The letters I receive insist upon it! We’re grateful for that support, for your feedback – and we welcome daily criticism because that’s how we will continue to improve Scotland’s national newspaper.

Frank O’Donnell is the Editorial Director for The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday.