Sunday Herald editor Richard Walker on why the paper became the only UK title to back Scottish independence

Scotland’s Sunday Herald is the only newspaper in the UK to have declared backing for a Yes vote in the upcoming independence referendum, and as the editorial team raced towards deadline for the final edition before the vote, editor Richard Walker allowed The Drum inside the newsroom for a first peek at the front page.

The paper ran with two front pages; the outside wrap was a full page ‘Saltire Selfie’ made up of hundreds of selfie’s submitted by readers, while the inside front page ran a striking image of UK chancellor George Osborne alongside a story on the treasury’s alleged role in leaking information to the media about the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Discussing the immediate reaction once the pages were sent out on Twitter late on Saturday evening, Sunday Herald news editor Neil Mackay said: “For me there’s an overwhelming outpouring of affection from readers. It’s great to get that kind of feedback.

“As a journalist, journalism comes in for a lot of criticism these days, and I think it’s amazing to get that kind of feedback from readers and show that our journalism has had a genuine positive effect.

“I think a lot of people have felt confused by the way the media’s handled this debate, and I’m glad they feel we’ve done our bit for them.”

Editor Richard Walker went on to explain how the paper arrived at its decision to back Scottish independence in May.

“I think it became obvious that a lot of our main voices in the paper had either started as supporters of independence or had moved towards that view,” he said. “I moved towards that view, I didn’t start out supporting independence, it took me a long while to realise that was the best future for the country.

“When it became obvious to me that the main opinion in the newspaper was in support of independence I thought it only honest to tell our readers that that’s where we were coming from.”

The referendum will take place on 18 September.

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