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Around 300 jobs to be axed as regional publisher makes £10m cutbacks

Frank OA regional publisher is set to make around 300 redundancies and close titles as part of cutbacks totalling £10m.

DC Thomson staff have been told they will be “losing some valued colleagues” and that changes would result in “the closure of some well-loved titles”.

The publisher runs four regional dailies – Aberdeen’s Press & Journal and Evening Express, and Dundee titles The Courier and the Evening Telegraph – as well as the Sunday Post and magazines including The People’s Friend, The Beano, and Puzzler.

Frank O’Donnell, pictured, editor-in-chief of the Aberdeen dailies, is understood to have been among those told their job is at risk.

The company has confirmed the closure of a number of its Dundee-based magazines including Living, Platinum, Evergreen, Shout, Animals & You and Animal Planet.

In additon, all the specialist craft, gardening, health and food publications the company acquired from Colchester-based Aceville in 2018 will close, including Let’s Knit, Grow your Own, Healthy Diet, Busymitts and Craft Store.

DC Thomson says around half the redundancies will come from Aceville.  HTFP has sought clarification on the number of newspaper and journalistic roles affected.

As well as Dundee and Colchester, the company also has offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow and London.

A spokesperson for DC Thomson said: “We are having to make the difficult decision that 300 colleagues will be made redundant across the company, with around half coming from the closure of titles acquired from Colchester-based Aceville.

“A huge amount of work goes into the creation of our titles and despite being loved, some titles and brands are finding it harder to be profitable.

“By resetting DC Thomson’s media business we can focus on the communities which have potential for sustainable growth.

“We will be closing a number of our Dundee-based magazines including Living, Platinum, Evergreen, Shout, Animals & You and Animal Planet. All print titles acquired from Aceville in Colchester will also close.”

DC Thomson employees were told of the plans at an all-staff meeting yesterday, while more specific details have emerged this morning

Rebecca Miskin, chief executive of DC Thomson’s media business, told staff “significant changes” were being announced which would include job losses and closures.

She said yesterday: “We have today announced significant changes to our company, which involve the reshaping of our media portfolio and the simplification of the underlying structure.

“These moves are vital to set us up to thrive in the future and to respond to the difficult economic environment we are in.

“Our goal is to transform into a strong media business, focused on delivering real value to the communities we serve, that can face the future with confidence, and is equipped to thrive long-term in an industry which is changing at an unparalleled pace.

“The transformation strategy already in place was addressing these fundamental industry shifts, but the need to change has been massively accelerated and magnified by the current economic crisis.

“We will focus on specific connected and purpose driven communities which enjoy the biggest potential for deep audience engagement and long-term growth. We are strengthening and building the skills that will be vital deliver this.

“Unfortunately, we have also had to make difficult decisions concerning those brands and activities which sit outside these growth areas.

“We will be announcing the closure of some well-loved titles, as well as the cessation of some commercial activities. This will mean losing some valued colleagues, something we deeply regret.”

The National Union of Journalists has “vowed to fight to protect the jobs of our members” at DC Thomson.

Nick McGowan-Lowe, organiser at the NUJ’s Scottish office, said: “These are brutal cuts, and we will robustly defend the jobs of our members.

“Our members are furious both with how the company has handled these redundancies, and because they are seeking to make £10m cuts across the business after paying out £24m in dividends to shareholders last year.

“The jobs of hard-working journalists should not be sacrificed to pay the price of extravagant shareholder profits.”