Former Hawick News editor bags top award

John Ross Scott
John Ross Scott

Former Hawick News editor, John Ross Scott, lifted the Chairman’s Award for achievement at the recent annual Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Scottish Magazine Awards held at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh.

His latest publication Living Orkney, and John himself, had been shortlisted in Magazine of the Year and Editor of the Year categories at the glittering gala event attended by top magazine publishers and journalists from across the UK, but lost out to Dumfries and Galloway Life and Paul McNamee of The Big Issue.

John told the Hawick News: “It was kind of scary seeing my face up on all the screens Oscar-style and, to be honest, I was quite relieved at not winning, but then right at the end of the night – just prior to the announcement of Animal Planet as Scottish Magazine of the Year – came the surprise.”

At the climax of the ceremony – hosted by Scots comedian Craig Hill – Christopher Ward, chairman of the Redwood Group on behalf of the chairman of the PPA Scotland judges Terry Mansfield of the Hearst Corporation, announced John as the winner of the Chairman’s Award for outstanding achievement.

After receiving his award a clearly stunned John said: “This is a great surprise and I am in a pleasant state of shock. I am delighted that this award in some way gives recognition to the large number of small top quality magazines – in the shadow of the giants – which are produced across Scotland by dedicated small teams each month. I pay tribute to them all – most notable my own team of Kerry Martin and Karin Brown, and thank all those who have helped me along the way to becoming a dedicated and at times dogmatic editor – most notably Robert McNairn, John Smail and David Hartley in the Borders, and Robert Leslie and Mathew Whittles in Orkney.”

Now in his 35th year in journalism, John – who only last month was reappointed for a further four years as chair of NHS Orkney – started work as a reporter at the Hawick News in 1977 under Mr McNairn, before moving on to The Hawick Express, Kelso Chronicle and Jedburgh Gazette, then 16 years as chief reporter at the Southern and editor of the Hawick News.

He also served as a councillor for 23 years in Jedburgh then Hawick and was leader of Scottish Borders Council until he lost his election in Hawick in 2003.

He then moved with his partner Wanda Gorzkowska and their daughters to Orkney where he was appointed first editor of Orkney Today, and edited it for four years prior to taking up his health board post. He started editing Living Orkney in a freelance capacity in 2009.

John is the son of Joanna and the late Walter Scott, of Newton Farm, Hawick, where his broither Terry still farms today.

With his son Cameron and grandson Ryan still living in Hawick and his other son Mathew lives in Innerleithen, John remains a frequent visitor to the Borders.