Born: October 24, 1925; Died: April 12, 2012.

MAMIE Magnusson, who has died aged 86 after suffering from dementia for the past eight years, was one of Scotland's finest journalists.

Wife of the late Magnus Magnusson, she had established her own high reputation in Scottish journalism well before she met her husband. As Mamie Baird she was already the golden girl of the Scottish Daily Express, the biggest-selling daily paper at the time.

She had that rare knack of getting behind the bare bones of a news story to produce the human element which made all the difference. In an age of male dominance, she struck a blow for women in her profession and could hold her own with the very best. She did so with a combination of quiet determination and charm as well as sheer talent.

From Rutherglen, she was born in 1925, as the twin of Anna, and had the unlikely middle name of Ian, which she accepted proudly, since it had been the choice of her father for any forthcoming son. But there would now be no more family. There was just one drawback. For example, if she entered a competition as a child she was liable to have a response to "Master Ian Baird."

As it happened, there was already a son in the family, Archie Baird, who would gain his own fame as one of the best post-war footballers, with Aberdeen and Scotland, having previously made a daring escape from a German prisoner-of-war camp, about which he later wrote in his autobiography.

So there was writing in the family. Their father, John Baird, was janitor at Bankhead Primary School but it was at Rutherglen Academy that the young Mamie first showed her talent. Her ambition to be a journalist was already known to her Latin teacher, who mentioned it in a chance encounter with a senior man at the Sunday Post.

He asked her to submit an essay, which she cleverly did in a journalistic style. She got the job – and was one of many who benefited from the thorough grounding of the DC Thomson organisation. That was a toe-hold in a profession to which she would bring such distinction.

By 1947, however, she had been head-hunted by the Scottish Daily Express in Albion Street, Glasgow, where she continued her climb to prominence. In October of that year the big event was the marriage of the future Queen, Princess Elizabeth, to Prince Philip of Greece, who had just been given the title of Duke of Edinburgh.

The country was caught up in the same kind of enthusiasm that greeted Prince William and Kate Middleton in recent times. With the couple said to be due at Birkhall on Deeside as part of their honeymoon, she quietly made her way to the royal residence, in an age when that could be seen as an intrusion. To her horror, as she rang the door-bell her fur glove became caught in the hole – and nothing would stop the noise. But amid her fluster of apologies the door was opened and, to her surprise, she was invited in to view the royal interior which awaited the newlyweds.

It was on the Express that she met her future husband, Magnus, two journalists very much on an equal footing, though he was four years her junior. When they married in 1954 they enjoyed the joke that he had married her only to get her job. In those days it was more likely that the woman would sacrifice career for the domestic scene.

As Magnus began his rise to TV fame that culminated in the BBC's Mastermind, she did indeed turn her thoughts to motherhood, which would eventually produce five children. But she was not to be lost to journalism. Magnus brought his friend Roger Wood, recently arrived as editor of the Express, to visit her in maternity. It was Roger who insisted that she should be writing a column for the Express, where she was already well known.

That began a freelance career in which she and Magnus became a good writing team, extending to authorship. When he was commissioned to write a book it was not unusual for his wife to do the research and one half of the writing, even if it went out under her husband's name.

But she had commissions of her own, even taking on subjects like the Woman's Guild or the history of an insurance company, managing to imbue them with a human interest that surprised the readers.

As the family grew, they moved from Garrowhill to her native Rutherglen and then to the more rural setting of Balmore, north of Glasgow. That family began with Sally, who has gained her own prominence on television – and has matched her mother in producing five children. Then came Margaret, Anna and Jon, all of whom have followed Sally into television or radio.

With the youngest of the Magnusson family came the dreaded nightmare of every parent – outliving their own offspring. In 1973 Siggy was just 11 when he came from behind a school bus into the path of another vehicle. In their devastation, Magnus had a word of help for his wife: "The children have lost their brother. Don't let them lose their mother as well." In that frame of mind, she gained strength to keep alive the name and spirit of Siggy.

Pre-deceased by Magnus in 2007, as well as Siggy, she is survived by the other four children and her twin sister Anna.