FIRST Minister Alex Salmond will address senior Scottish newspaper figures at an inaugural conference later this week.

In a speech at Glasgow's Radisson Blu Hotel on Thursday, the First Minister is expected to refer to the major issues affecting the industry, including press regulation.

Scottish Newspaper Society director John McLellan said: "We are delighted the First Minister is able to join us for the first of what we hope will become a major fixture in the Scottish media calendar.

"It is obviously a historic year for Scotland politically, but it is also a crucial year for the newspaper industry as a whole and we are looking forward to hearing the First Minister's views on a wide range of topics affecting our industry."

Organised in association with First ScotRail, the conference's opening speech is from Lord Black of Brentwood, the chief architect of the new Independent Press Standards Organisation, which is set to replace the Press Complaints Commission by the summer.

Also making an address is Ellis Watson, the chief executive of DC Thomson Publishing.

He is one of the UK's most influential newspaper and entertainment industry figures and has worked for several major publishers as well as being behind the commercial success of TV shows such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and The X Factor.

There will also be two debates featuring Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew and Glas-gow University's Professor Philip Schlesinger among others.

Mr McLellan added: "It is a strong line-up and the response so far to this new event has been excellent."