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Sister dailies to share editor as news chief departs in cuts

Frank OTwo sister dailies will share an editor after the departure of a senior editorial chief in cuts by their publisher.

Frank O’Donnell, editor of Aberdeen’s Press & Journal and editor in chief of DC Thomson’s daily titles in the city, has confirmed he has left the company.

Frank, pictured, had previously been told his job was among 100 editorial roles and 300 positions overall to be placed under threat in cuts announced by DC Thomson earlier this month.

Aberdeen Evening Express editor Craig Walker will now take over the running of both titles with the title of editor, Aberdeen and the North.

Posting on Twitter this afternoon, Frank said: “Today is my final working day as editor of the Press and Journal and Editor-in-Chief at AJL. The last three years have been some of the most incredible and rewarding in my time as a journalist and I will forever have great memories of the team and what we achieved.

“I arrived with the ambition of finding a blueprint for sustainable digital journalism in the UK. 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.

“We have transformed a newsroom by committing to digital subscriptions as the route to sustainability, with an unrelenting focus on audiences, a radical change in structures, ambition on content, and an investment in new skills and talent.

“And we have done all this while protecting our much-loved printed products. The Press & Journal remains the biggest selling regional newspaper in the UK, with our sister paper, The Courier, third.

“Thank you to all of my team in editorial, and the scores of other people in audience, data, AV, production, commercial, facilities, IT, and graphics who have helped to build this engine. It’s been a blast.

“And to our loyal readers in print and digital who have kept me right through this whole process. Your letters, emails, phone calls and social media messages have driven me mad, made me laugh and kept me sane all at the same time. We are nothing without you.”

Frank had previously been JPIMedia’s editorial director for Scotland before joining DC Thomson in 2020.

Craig, who has edited the Evening Express since 2017, said: “I grew up with the Evening Express and P&J and I have been a proud member of this team for 19 years. It’s a great privilege to now be asked to lead these titles into their next phase of transformation.

“In recent years we’ve all come together to change not only the newsroom, but also our culture, as we continue to evolve our ways of working and how we serve our communities. I feel strongly that my role is to help colleagues be as good as they can be, to create the right environment for everyone to thrive and for us to continue with our successes in digital and print.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Frank for his constant support and guidance through some challenging times.”

A DC Thomson spokesperson added: “As part of the ongoing transformation of our media business, the leadership of our Aberdeen newsroom is changing.

“Frank O’Donnell is standing down as editor in chief of the Press & Journal from 31 March this year. Frank is a hugely talented and experienced journalist and editor, and has been fundamental to the transformation of the P&J newsroom and more broadly DC Thomson’s news business.

“We would like to thank Frank for his contribution and leadership as we move into the P&J’s 275th year as the voice of the north and north-east of Scotland, carrying the accolade of Scotland’s daily newspaper of the year. We thank him and wish him the very best in the next step in his illustrious career.

“Craig Walker, currently editor of the Evening Express and managing editor for Aberdeen, will now take up a new role as editor, Aberdeen and the North.

“Craig has been with the Evening Express for almost 20 years and has been a key part in the evolution of our newsrooms in Aberdeen, Inverness and Elgin. No-one is more knowledgeable and passionate about the region than him.

“Craig is exceptionally well-placed to progress our transformation, leading our talented teams with focus on serving and representing our local communities with an expanded remit as editor of the P&J.”