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O’Donnell exits DC Thomson in staff clear-out

Frank O’Donnell: rewarding time

Editor in chief Frank O’Donnell left DC Thomson yesterday as the highest profile casualty of the cuts by the media group which is axing 300 jobs across its titles.

The company, publisher of the Aberdeen P&J, Courier and Sunday Post, is closing a number of magazines in a move to save £10 million.

Aberdeen Evening Express editor Craig Walker will take the title of editor, Aberdeen and the North.

Mr O’Donnell, whose departure had been predicted, addressed newsroom staff yesterday, telling them the last three years had been “some of the most incredible and rewarding in my time as a journalist”. Last month he was celebrating with P&J staff at the Highland Media Awards.

He joined the company in 2020 from The Scotsman where he had been editor and gave no indication as to his next move.

“I arrived with the ambition of finding a blueprint for sustainable digital journalism in the UK,” he said on social media. “I leave with more than 28,000 paying digital subscribers across our two main websites and the P&J as Scottish Newspaper of the Year.”

Family-owned DC Thomson is closing Living, Platinum, Evergreen, Shout, Animals & You and Animal Planet as well as a number of specialist titles published in England.

The Press & Journal had an average daily circulation of 26,746 in the second half of 2022, keeping it on top of the regional ABCs ranking despite a 12% year-on-year drop. Sister title The Courier in Dundee had a circulation of 20,682, representing a 13% decline.

Local daily newspaper sales across the UK fell by an average of 19% year-on-year in the second half of 2022 according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

The Scotsman’s average circulation is now just 8,762, down 11%).

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