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Publisher axes former editor in daily sportsdesk cuts

Phil JohnsonA former editor has been made redundant from his role running a regional daily’s sportsdesk.

Phil Johnson has confirmed his departure from the Edinburgh Evening News as part of wider cuts by its publisher National World.

Phil, who had been sports editor at the EEN for almost two years, is also a former group editor who was responsible for six weekly newspapers run by National World forerunner Johnston Press in the South of Scotland and Northumberland.

His departure follows that of the Edinburgh daily’s deputy editor Ginny Sanderson, who was one of eight newsdesk bosses whose roles were put at risk as part of wider cuts affecting more than 50 journalists across the group. It is understood the company’s sports writers in Edinburgh now report directly to group sports editor Paul Clarke.

Phil, pictured, told HTFP: “It’s no secret that generating enough revenue from online content continues to be a major challenge for the industry.

“With print circulation declining across the board, all companies are grappling with it.

“Personally, I’ve had a long association with the Edinburgh Evening News, The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday in various roles and I’m sad to be leaving, but it potentially opens up an opportunity to sidestep into a related media or communications role.

“I’m spending time with my family during the summer holidays and assessing my options.”

Phil began his career as sports editor of the Tweeddale Press Group in 1998 before moving to become a sub-editor on The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday two years later.

In 2007, he was made sports production editor at the Edinburgh-based sister titles and three years later took up his first editorship, running the Berwickshire News and Berwick Advertiser.

Phil was made JP’s group editor for the South of Scotland in 2015, adding the Southern Reporter, TSelkirk Weekend Advertiser, the Hawick News, Galloway Gazette and Carrick Gazette to his portfolio, while also continuing to edit the Berwickshire News.

He went freelance in 2016, but continued to work for The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News in addition to being sports editor and deputy editor of newly-launched weekly The Hawick Paper.

Phil returned to the Edinburgh-based dailies as print production manager in January 2021, moving to his most recent role 11 months later.