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John McLellan (journalist)

John McLellan (born February 1962[1]) is a Scottish newspaper journalist, former editor of The Scotsman (2009–2012), Scottish Conservative Party media chief (2012–2013)[2] and was a Conservative City of Edinburgh councillor (2017-2022).


McLellan was educated at Hutchesons' Grammar School (1974–1979) and studied BA English & media studies (1980–1983) at University of Stirling and journalism (NCTJ) at Preston Polytechnic (1983–1984).


McLellan was sports editor of the North-West Evening Mail and Assistant Editor of The Journal, Newcastle, before joining The Scotsman Publications in 1994 and had two spells editing the Edinburgh Evening News (1997–2002 and 2004–2009) and also edited Scotland on Sunday (2002–2004).

Johnston Press appointed McLellan as editor of The Scotsman on 20 February 2009 following the departure of Mike Gilson, and in May 2009 appointed editor-in-chief of The Scotsman Publications.

He gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on 18 January 2012.[3]

McLellan was dismissed by Johnston Press on 12 April 2012 as editor of The Scotsman in a management restructuring process which involved the scrapping of the editor-in-chief role with the editors of each title reporting directly to the managing director of the Scottish Publishing Unit Andrew Richardson.[4][5] He was replaced by Ian Stewart (journalist), who remained editor of its sister title Scotland on Sunday.[6][7] However, McLellan has continued to write a political opinion column for The Scotsman.[8]

On 23 June 2012 McLellan was appointed director of communications of the Scottish Conservatives. Former Tory spin doctor Ramsay Jones was suspended during the previous year's party leadership elections.[9] McLellan advised Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson on communications strategy, direction and content.[10]

On 28 June 2013 the Scottish Conservatives announced that McLellan had resigned his post as the party's communications director and would take up the role of director of the Scottish Newspaper Society [11] in September.[12]

In the May 2017 Scottish local government elections McLellan was elected to the City of Edinburgh Council as a Conservative councillor, one of four councillors for the Craigentinny & Duddingston Ward.[13]

In May 2022 McLellan did not stand for re-election to the City of Edinburgh Council.[14][15]


He was a member of the Press Complaints Commission (2008-2012), the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee (2006–12) and was twice chair of the Scottish Newspaper Society's editors' committee.[16]

He was appointed honorary professor at the University of Stirling in 2012 in a teaching and advisory role.

See also


  1. ^ "John MCLELLAN person". Companies House. Retrieved 30 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Former Scotsman editor John McLellan tackles intruder at PM visit - Journalism News from HoldtheFrontPage". HoldtheFrontPage. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  3. ^ "In My Opinion: John McLellan: Why diplomacy is key to the Leveson process - allmediascotland…media jobs, media release service and media resources for all". Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  4. ^ "Johnston restructure continues with John McLellan exit". Archived from the original on 21 December 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  5. ^ "John McLellan clarifies events on the day he lost his job as editor of The Scotsman". The Drum. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  6. ^ "McLellan: Scotsman departure was simple cost cutting". Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Ian Stewart named as Scotsman editor". Archived from the original on 15 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  8. ^ "John McLellan - Latest Articles". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  9. ^ "Ex-Scotsman editor joins Tories". BBC News. 24 June 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  10. ^ "John McLellan joins Scottish Conservatives". Scottish Conservatives. 24 June 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  11. ^ "The director". Scottish Newspaper Society. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Scottish Tory comms director John McLellan appointed as Scottish Newspaper Society director". The Drum. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  13. ^ "John McLellan elected as Edinburgh councillor". Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  14. ^ "Edinburgh City Council Tory Member John McLellan Will Not Stand at Next Election". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  15. ^ "John McLellan not currently an elected councillor". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  16. ^ "Arts and Humanities | About". University of Stirling. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
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John McLellan (journalist)
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