'Why we must stick together in the wake of the pandemic' - Scotsman print editor Euan McGrory
Dear reader, I hope you, your friends and your family are safe and well. This sentiment comes with genuine sincerity, knowing instinctively that for some of you this will not be the case.
Tens of thousands of people, tragically, are no longer with us because of the devastating impact of coronavirus. Each death will have been a devastating blow to loved ones, the fact that saying goodbye as we would normally expect to do has often been impossible has only increased the pain for many. Also, with each passing day, we learn of those for whom the anxiety has simply proved too much. They too are victims of this terrible pandemic.
Against that backdrop of unspeakable grief, we have all had to make sacrifices, each and every one of us, in order to play our own part in saving lives. Curbs on our freedoms; restrictions on our movements; curtailments on our relationships; strains on our businesses and jobs; cancellations to hospital appointments and holidays. This virus has crept into every nook and cranny of our lives, causing damage wherever it seeps and, but for the selfless fortitude of so many people - key workers in particular, putting the safety of others before their own - that damage would most certainly have been far, far greater. Few would disagree that 2020 has been almost too hard to bear.
You will be more than aware our industry has been impacted by the pandemic too. We at The Scotsman are extremely proud of the newspaper and its 203 year history.
It supports the jobs of scores of journalists across Scotland. It puts pounds in the pockets of families who in turn go out and spend it in our communities. The livelihoods it supports, the mortgages and bills it pays and the tables upon which it puts food weighs heavily, sometimes. Never more so than these past few months and so we, as a team, want you - readers, advertisers, friends and partners - to know how grateful we are to you for being there for us, as we have, down the years, been there for you. It genuinely means more than we can adequately put into words.
Without those of you who have gone out of your way to buy a paper and subscribe online, the challenge for The Scotsman would have been infinitely more difficult. You may not know this, but in order to protect the title, each and every staff member took a temporary pay cut. Each columnist and contributor the same, and we are not out of the woods yet.
Despite all of this, we have been determined not to allow our standards to drop. These days, the general public is bombarded from all angles with information, speculation and conjecture - much of which cannot be trusted. That is why, in the days since March 23rd, we have done our utmost to bring to you the facts about the virus, along with helpful guidance relating to your community as local lockdowns were - and will be - required. We know that you trust this newspaper. I know that you trust my team. We do not take that for granted, nor will we ever allow ourselves to be complacent with the faith that you lend us.
It is because of that trust between us that I want you to know that we are determined to double down on protecting and enhancing The Scotsman. This historic bastion of journalistic integrity can withstand the current bombardment of dubiously sourced and ill-informed news and information if we - the readers and the title - stick together.
I don’t commit these words to print lightly: if we are to successfully navigate through the headwinds of this pandemic, we need more people to put their faith in Scotland’s National Newspaper, in print and online.
We are proud of our team of award-winning journalists including Martyn Mclaughlin who was this year crowned the UK’s Daily Reporter of the Year at the Regional Press Awards - for the second year running - for his investigations into the Trump Organisation’s operations in Scotland.
We are proud of the no-nonsense reporting of our team of political reporters at Holyrood and Westminster, led by Political Editor Scott Macnab; proud of unparalleled opinion and analysis of Scotland’s place in the world that we bring you every day; proud of the breadth and quality of our coverage of sport, business and the arts across the length and breadth of the country.
I know from your letters and emails how much many of you value our excellent coverage of the arts led by Brian Ferguson and Roger Cox and his team of first-class writers and reviewers including Joyce McMillan, Allan Massie and Stuart Kelly.
Our team of photographers and designers continue to bring you stunning images that each day capture the drama, beauty and, sometimes sadly, tragedy of life in Scotland .
I hope you agree in The Scotsman we have something very special and worth protecting.
I believe this is because The Scotsman is Scottish from front to back, reporting on Scottish life, whether it be in business, culture, news, sport, obituaries, features or lifestyle. We remain proudly independent of party political bias, free to report on whatever is in the country’s best interests, ensuring that our opinion pages contain a diverse array of thought from across every political divide.
So, in the coming days and weeks, we will bring to you some words from people you will recognise. Testimonials from our friends. References, if you like, to our character and our qualities in the hope that our current friends can help us to win new ones.
The support of our readers is never taken for granted. With a little help from you, we can continue to stand with you, in Scotland, for generations to come.
Yours proudly and sincerely,