Ian McCormack

Everyone at the Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards (HIPBMA) was extremely saddened to learn of the death of Ian McCormack, former editor of the West Highland Free Press.


Ian was presented with the Barron Trophy at the Press Ball in 2000 for a lifetime of achievement in journalism.


Following his retirement, HIPBMA also honoured him with a Special Recognition Award for all he achieved over more than 40 years in the industry.


Gordon Fyfe, chairman of the Highlands and Islands Media Awards, said: “It was a special award for one of the most unassuming guys you could have met. Someone who did not like a fuss.


“But we could not let Ian’s retirement pass without recognition by the wider Highlands and Islands media community.


“Ian edited 2,289 editions, 60,000 pages and 75 million words during a four-decade period in which the Free Press came to establish itself as a strong independent campaigning and award-winning newspaper.”


Ian became editor of the Free Press on 6 March 1976. He oversaw coverage of the rise and fall of Kishorn; a toll bridge to Skye; the collapse of BCCI; land reform and local ownership and the fight for better recognition for Gaelic.


Among the highlights brought to life on the back pages thanks to Ian’s coverage were Skye’s historic Camanachd Cup triumph of 1990 – as featured in the WHFP’s first colour supplement - Lochcarron’s rise through the leagues and Kinlochshiel’s premiership championship win.


“Critically, there are also very many journalists whose careers owe a great debt to Ian’s training, advice and patient counsel”, Gordon added.


John Ross, chairman of the Highlands and Islands Press Ball, said: “The Free Press under Ian’s leadership, was a tireless campaigner for Skye and the west Highlands, keeping those in authority under intense scrutiny, standing up for local people, and promoting important issues including land reform and the Gaelic language.”