Scotsman editors aim to resolve awards row

Sunday Herald editor Andrew Jaspan (left) with deputy Richard Walker

Scotsman Publications’ three editors are to hold a meeting to clear the air with the publisher of a Scottish trade magazine that organises the annual Scottish Newpaper of the Year awards.

The editors will meet Gordon Young of The Drum to discuss reports that they boycotted this year’s event because of “west coast and antiAndrew Neil bias”, following comments made at the awards ceremony in Glasgow by Drum editor Richard Draycott.

Glasgow-based The Drum, Scotland’s media magazine, has run the awards for more than a decade.

Absent from the event were Scotsman editor Iain Martin, John McLellan of Scotland on Sunday and Ian Stewart of the Edinburgh Evening News.

The overall winner was the Sunday Herald, which was also voted top Sunday newspaper. It also won four other categories and a special award.

Sister paper The Herald was named best daily.

Draycott, in his welcoming remarks, said: “It is a shame that the Scotsman Publications are not with us. Bosses at Barclay House gave two reasons for their editors’ reluctance to come along. First, they believed the jury was biased towards Glasgow; second, they felt there was an antiAndrew Neil agenda.

“Those on the jury know this is absolute nonsense. In fact, some might feel this is more about the Scotsman Publications wanting to get their retaliation in first – just in case.

Is this a lack of confidence in their own products?” As it turned out, Scotsman Publications picked up five awards – including best evening newspaper for the Evening News.

Although Scotsman Publications managing director Steven Walker declined to comment to Press Gazette, it is known he was angry that a private “courtesy” call he made to Young to say his editors would not attend the ceremony was made public by Draycott.

The editors had collectively decided not to attend because of concern about “a bit of west coast bias” after the shortlist revealed the Sunday Herald had received 12 nominations – compared with one for Scotland on Sunday.

McLellan told Press Gazette: “As a winner of The Drum’s Scottish Newspaper of the Year Award on two previous occasions and a Glaswegian to boot, I am in no position to accuse this year’s judges of west coast bias.

“But Scotland on Sunday was not well represented in the shortlistings and it was clear that the evening was going to be a celebration of our bitterest rivals. Therefore I did not feel inclined to go to the trouble and expense of travelling across the country to join the Sunday Herald party. I’m sure its editor Andrew Jaspan would have had a similar reaction.”

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