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Publisher’s £10m cutbacks put 100 editorial staff under threat

Frank O'DonnellAround 100 editorial staff have been threatened with redundancy in cutbacks announced by a regional publisher yesterday.

DC Thomson, owner of four leading Scottish daily newspapers, yesterday announced plans to make 300 roles redundant across its business as part of cutbacks totalling £10m.

The company has now confirmed that 100 editorial staff working on its news titles have been put at risk as part of the proposals, although only approximately 50 roles are set to be made redundant by the end of the process.

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.

It is understood entire departments of journalists – including ‘live’ news, politics, health, environment and transport, and schools and families – have been put at risk of redundancy.

However reporters designated to the ‘cities’ team, the North team and those covering crime and courts are not believed to be under threat.

Sixteen out of 18 photographic staff are also thought to be at risk, although it is not yet known how many of those 16 will lose their jobs.

The teams were created in 2020 as part of the company’s Apollo transformation programme, which saw DC Thomson switch to a newsroom “built around specialist teams serving specific audiences.”

A spokeperson for DC Thomson said: “There are 270 colleagues across our news titles, spanning Dundee & Courier country, Aberdeen and the north and Glasgow newsrooms.

“The proposals mean that around 100 roles have been placed at risk of redundancy which, as we move through the consultation process, we believe could result in around 50 roles being made redundant.

“The structure being discussed is intended to push us further to collaborate more closely across titles while looking at areas of duplication as we look to work more efficiently – at every level.

“Throughout all these changes our commitment to our communities and to serving them with the highest quality journalism remains resolute.  We are in due process and it would be inappropriate to comment on individual roles and areas.”

It was previously revealed that Frank O’Donnell, pictured, editor-in-chief of the Aberdeen dailies, was among those told their job is under threat.

The company told staff about the plans on Wednesday afternoon and confirmed them publicly yesterday, although the manner of the announcements has been criticised by the National Union of Journalists.

Nick McGowan-Lowe, organiser at the NUJ’s Scottish office, said: “We had multiple members who found out about the scale of the redundancies from media reporting.

“There were people out walking their dog who checked their phone and found out this was happening, rather than directly from their employer. The company needs to sit down and work out a strategy on how to talk to its staff.”

As part of the proposals, DC Thomson confirmed the closure of a number of its Dundee-based magazines including Living, Platinum, Evergreen, Shout, Animals & You and Animal Planet.

In addition, 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. Around half of the 300 redundancies will come from Aceville.