The new owners of JPI Media have issued a bold statement of intent by appointing Neil McIntosh as Editor-in-Chief of The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and Edinburgh Evening News.
He has agreed to leave his role as Managing Editor of BBC Online to spearhead the titles as part of National World Chairman David Montgomery’s drive to deliver a quality led journalistic powerhouse for the nation.
National World bought the firm last month for £10m after both Reach and DC Thomson ended their interest. McIntosh’s signing will be viewed as another coup for Montgomery and his senior management team of Mark Hollinshead and Vijay Vaghela.
According to sources at the titles, news of McIntosh’s appointment has so far been ‘warmly welcomed’.
“Neil will provide that leadership and the highest standards of reporting for The Scotsman at this important time.”David Montgomery, Chairman, National World
He is initially expected to focus on growing the business by exploiting the brand’s potential through “unmissable journalism”, building on quality across business, politics, opinion, the environment, education, Scottish lifestyle and the arts.
Details were revealed in today’s digital and print editions.
McIntosh said: “I’ve been impressed by David’s vision and ambition for The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday.
‘Under National World’s ownership there’s a brilliant opportunity to build The Scotsman’s position as Scotland’s National Newspaper, and develop unmissable journalism that gets to the heart of the country, and the communities within it.”
He added: “The strength and dedication of the newsroom has been evident through the last very difficult year.
“I’m looking forward to working with the team to build on the titles’ strength online, and in print.”
National World plans to ensure each publication has a ‘distinct personality reflecting the different audiences served’ – a departure from the trend towards centralisation.
Montgomery said: “Our Scottish newspapers with The Scotsman as the flagship title, will support their communities by publishing reliable journalism produced by knowledgable writers who live locally.
“The editors are asked to provide leadership in holding our democratic institutions to account and advancing the economic interests of each community.
“Neil will provide that leadership and the highest standards of reporting for The Scotsman at this important time.”
McIntosh helped transform UK journalism during the 2000s, being dubbed the ‘Godfather of Blogging’ and leading the introduction of key technological advancements such as the use of audio and video, for a clutch of global brands.
He began his professional career as a sub-editor with the Edinburgh Evening News in 1997 after graduation with both an HND and BA in journalism from the city’s Edinburgh Napier University, making this appointment something of a professional homecoming.
He would later go on to work as a freelance for titles including The Herald, Scottish Daily Express and The Scotsman, where he wrote a weekly column on the then emerging world of the Internet where he was to eventually make his name.
After a spell as Duty Editor with ITV and C4 text service, Teletext, he joined The Guardian in a decade long year career.
He served first as Deputy Editor of the pioneering Guardian Online web operation and later as Assistant Editor, driving the growth of Guardian Unlimited before being promoted again to Head of Editorial Development for guardian.co.uk.
The holder of an MBA, Masters in Business Administration and graduate of the IESE Business School, he was named Editor for the business facing WSJ.com Europe, in 2009, to launch the European chapter of the site. He became Deputy Editor for the operation just two and a bit years later leading it through rapid expansion and growth.
He was lured to the BBC in 2013 to become Managing Editor of BBC Online, tasked with ensuring it became a more engaging destination site for users through operational and strategic leadership. There his team delivered a home page audience of 8m a week, with more than a billion clicks a year.
His return to Scotland happens at a time when all the nation’s major publishers are involved in something of a long-overdue arms race for audience and advertisers.
It comes a year after previous incumbent Frank O’Donnell announced he was leaving to join rivals DC Thomson to help head up their digital transformation called Project Apollo.