Hundreds join The P&J Run Fest to raise money for good causes

Runners ranging in age from 3 to 73 took to the streets of Aberdeen at the weekend for the first ever P&J Run Fest, bringing together a community of runners to raise money for the fund set up to celebrate The P&J’s 275th anniversary.

The event saw almost a thousand people signed up for three separate races: 10k, 5k and a 1k junior fun run, all starting and finishing at The P&J Live concourse in Aberdeen.

Money raised will help several local charities including Friends of Anchor, Munlochy Animal Aid, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, Save Bon Accord Baths and SurfABLE Scotland who earlier this year each received an initial £10,000 donation from The P&J 275 Community Fund.

Staged in association with Balmoral Group, The P&J Run Fest saw individuals, running clubs, families, as well as teams from local businesses covering a combined distance of 7,640km, the distance from Aberdeen to Shanghai.

A total of 45 volunteers helped keep the event running, including DC Thomson colleagues and cadets from the Westhill 875 Squadron.

Amongst the runners was P&J editor Craig Walker (pictured) who completed the 5k race. He said: “We’ve been organising this for months and to see it come to life at the weekend with hundreds of runners taking part was phenomenal. The spirit of everyone there was incredibly energising and a huge boost to someone who could barely run five metres at the start of the year, let alone run 5k. It was fantastic to be part of this and join hundreds of people from all ages coming together to stretch themselves and raise money for some amazing charities.”

Read more at: Press and Journal’s very first Run Fest provides day of family fun

The latest chapter in The People’s Friend story

The People’s Friend unveils a fresh new look today, which coincides with its 155th anniversary and a national search to discover the country’s best hidden writing talent.

From today, readers will find a bright new cover which better showcases the content of the magazine, with a new tagline, ‘The Home Of Great Reading’.

Inside the magazine, each issue is packed with eleven short stories, recipes and crafts inspiration, and the best on health, wellbeing, nostalgia, real life, gardening and travel advice.

The People’s Friend is the biggest publisher of magazine fiction in the UK, with more than 900 short stories featuring every year, including many first-time authors. This week, the magazine reveals the judges for The People’s Friend New Writers Prize, which with a top prize of £10,000 is the biggest award for unpublished authors in the UK this year.

Head judge is actor and writer Sally Lindsay (pictured). She’s joined on the panel by authors Louise Welsh and Adele Parks, ‘This Is Going To Hurt’ writer Adam Kay, writer and academic Yvonne Battle-Felton, ‘Strictly’ costume designer Vicky Gill, and BookTokkers Coco Omer and Francesca Pavis.

As well as being head judge, Sally is working with the ‘Friend’ to raise awareness of the wellbeing benefits of short stories. She says “Everyone knows how beneficial reading is, but people usually only find time for it now and again. With a short story, you can pick it up and finish it as quickly as you can a cup of tea and it brings a sense of satisfaction that you don’t get in many other places.

“The People’s Friend is something every writer knows, and as a writer myself, I love how it champions stories and creativity. The award for new writers is a wonderful idea.”

Stuart Johnstone, Editor of The People’s Friend echoes this, saying: “I think we all know we should read more but if finding time in your week feels impossible The People’s Friend just might be your cup of tea. Each week we’re proud to champion incredible fiction writers who give readers a quick moment of escapism as every story we print is carefully chosen with relaxation and entertainment in mind.”

  • As part of its 155th celebrations, the weekly magazine is running an offer for new subscribers of £15 for 15 issues including delivery. Go to to find out more.

Original 106 takes top spot in north east for market share

Original 106, reaches a major milestone as official listening figures released this month show that it’s firmly the market leader in the north east of Scotland. The station, which broadcasts from Marischal Square in the heart of Aberdeen, now has a market share of 15.2% according to RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research).

The figures put Original 106 ahead of local commercial brands and national networks, and show that on average people who tune into the station listen significantly longer, with an average time of 12.1 hours a day, an industry-leading number.

Group head of presentation Robin Galloway commented: “This is a great set of figures for Original 106 and I’m particularly delighted a relatively new radio player, DC Thomson, has invested heavily in local content – and been rewarded.
“Original 106 is now market leader in the North East, putting us ahead of heritage commercial brands and national networks. In some measures, enjoying double the time spent listening to that of our rivals.
“Our listeners and advertisers clearly love our trend bucking, local mantra of ‘Live From Aberdeen’.”

Owned by DC Thomson, Original 106 appeals to an adult audience with a wide selection of hits from the 80s through to today. Original 106 presenters keep the north east entertained and up to date with everything relevant to life in the area including hourly news bulletins that have the finger on the pulse of local issues, sport, and business developments.

Original 106 is available on FM, DAB, app and smart-speaker.

The People’s Friend launches UK’s biggest prize for unpublished authors

The People’s Friend is the biggest publisher of magazine fiction in the UK and to celebrate its 155th anniversary is running the country’s biggest prize for unpublished authors.

With an aim of uncovering hidden writing talent, The People’s Friend short story competition has a top prize of £10,000 and is open to any amateur author.

The ‘Friend’ commissions over 900 short stories every year, including many first-time authors. The home of great reading, it has a long tradition of running paid competitions to find new talent, with some of its most prolific names discovered in this way.

Stuart Johnstone, editor of The People’s Friend says: “We know how tough it is for writers to get their break, especially with so many cuts to arts funding in recent years. So, to help celebrate our 155th anniversary, we would like to give one new writer a helping hand by paying them a bursary of £10,000 to help fund their writing journey, as well as being published in the ‘Friend’.

“The People’s Friend has always been about improving wellbeing, and the positive power of story goes beyond sheer entertainment value. More and more research is showing that reading reduces stress and improves mental health.

“Through decades of change, in not only the world itself, but in the pages of the ‘Friend’, our passion for stories has never faltered. And that’s why we’re looking for a new writer, a new voice and a new source of great stories for our readers.”

Writers are invited to submit short stories of around 2,000 words by Monday February 5th in one of three genres: thriller, comedy or romance and there will be subcategories for entrants aged over and under 30.

Winners will be announced at the end of February, in a new look People’s Friend.

To find out how to enter, including terms and conditions, go to

bunkered wins trio of prizes at PPA Scotland Awards

bunkered scored three major wins at this week’s Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Scotland awards, with deputy editor Michael McEwan named both Writer of the Year as well as Columnist of the Year. bunkered as a whole also scooped one of the biggest awards, Consumer Title of the Year.

Organised by the PPA to ‘recognise the talent, creativity, and innovation across specialist media’ 2023 is bunkered’s most successful year at the awards.

Judges singled out Michael for his prizes, praising his “strong tone of voice with a fun and informative style,” and that his work in the magazine and online is “engaging, witty, informative, and sincere”. They described his writing style as “engaging, personal, insightful, funny, and incredibly well-researched” and that he “clearly understands his subject and audience.”

Naming bunkered as ‘Consumer Title of the Year’, judges said it demonstrates “total understanding of its target audience” and also praise its strategic pivot from being a ‘Scottish golf magazine’ to a ‘golf magazine from Scotland’. This pivot has meant that this year the magazine is selling on newsstands in England and Wales for the first time, better serving the golf community at large.

bunkered editor Bryce Ritchie says: “It’s wonderful to receive recognition for what we’re doing and to be named Consumer Title of the Year is testament to the work that the team put in for readers day in day out. For Michael to pick up not just Columnist of the Year but Writer of the Year too shows that he’s one of the best sports writers in the country.

“He brings a unique flair to his work and you can spot a Michael McEwan story a mile away, such is the highly engaging and distinctive style with which he writes. He’s also extraordinarily versatile. He tackles controversy with no agenda other than to find the truth, and approaches sensitive content with compassion.

“He is a wonderful storyteller and a gifted writer who intimately understands the needs, challenges and questions our readers face and pose. The fact that we receive more correspondence about his work than anything else is proof of that.”

The awards round off an exceptional year for bunkered, increasing its frequency to ten issues a year, expanding into new territories, taking the number one slot for UK golf podcasts and hosting its first ever live podcast.

Leah Williams guest edits Beano for Minnie the Minx’s 70th anniversary

Euros winner, Lioness Captain and bestselling children’s author, Leah Williamson has guest edited a special edition of Beano, commemorating the 70th anniversary of Minnie the Minx.

On sale today (November 15), the comic’s storyline celebrates two of the most empowering female trailblazers in modern day Britain, Minnie and Leah.

Leah has been immortalised on the front cover, alongside Minnie the Minx, who was the first female character to be featured on the front cover of Beano. Minnie has been inspiring children to be who they want to be, since 1953.

Minnie the Minx has appeared in over 3,000 issues of the Beano and is widely considered as the world’s first female comic heroine.

The special anniversary edition features Leah starring in an impromptu musical, called The Lioness Sings, with the Bash Street School children, where she finds her inner Minnie and plays pranks in assembly.

Leah also encourages readers and her fellow Bash Street Kids to dare, to never worry about failing, and to always try something new.

Leah Williamson, OBE said: “Minnie has shown children for generations, through mischief and laughter, that it’s okay to blaze their own trail through life, and strong role models like her empower young girls, helping them break down barriers. I’m honoured to have got the chance to guest edit this historic issue of the comic, and I hope Minnie will continue to inspire many more generations to come!”

The anniversary edition kicks off a month of celebrations for Minnie, up until 19th December, marking her first appearance in the comic in 1953.

Mike Stirling, Director of Mischief at Beano Studios said: “Leah Williamson is a real-life Minnie, and this formidable duo is at the centre of an anniversary issue like no other. Together, they are the ultimate Min-fluencers, telling their Beano friends, or rather singing, loud and clear, that there’s no greater person to be than yourself. And as Minnie is now 10 years old for the seventieth time, this might just be the secret to staying a kid forever.”

Stylist group launches new insights agency

The Stylist Group this week launches new dedicated insight agency: Think Stylist which will help businesses tap into the mindset of modern women.

Powered by Stylist, the UK’s leading media brand for Millennial and Gen Z women, it will give brands and companies access to its unprecedented understanding and monthly network of 5 million women, to decode emerging trends, cultural insights and attitudes of this unique cohort.

The dedicated agency launches with a new white paper: This is 30, which explores the attitudinal attributes of 30-year-old women, as the final cohort of Millennials embrace the milestone age.

In the wake of a global pandemic, This is 30 sheds light on the evolving ambitions and goals of today’s women, following a decade of profound change. From challenging societal benchmarks to navigating their way through a complex society, the report delves into the minds of 30-year-old women.

Alice Flannery, Associate Insight Director, Think Stylist said: “Turning 30 has always been a milestone age but the ticking clock for women at 30 today is no longer to just marry and have children but to do absolutely everything they can in life.

“In the wake of a global pandemic, climate crisis, and economic challenges, there has been a seismic shift in generational attitudes and Gen Z and Millennial women are redefining this truly transformational decade but feeling immense pressure as they do.”

Think Stylist’s This is 30 is available to download online now at


First bunkered Podcast LIVE hailed a “huge success”

The UK’s No.1 golf media podcast, the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast took to the stage in Scotland last night for its first-ever ticketed live show – and it was everything it promised to be.

A capacity crowd of more than 120 people attended Glasgow’s Drygate Brewery for almost two hours of straight-talking golf chat from bunkered’s Michael McEwan, Bryce Ritchie and Alex Perry.

Developed and produced entirely in-house, the podcast launched in August 2020 and has built a huge and dedicated audience, both in the UK and further afield.

The live show, presented by Eden Mill St Andrews, has been in development for some time and is the next step in the exciting evolution of both the podcast and the wider bunkered brand.

On the night, Michael, Bryce and Alex discussed topics such as where the Ryder Cup was won and lost, Tiger Woods’ preferred hotel room in St Andrews, and Robert MacIntyre’s in-flight dining as he returned to Scotland following his starring role in Europe’s victory in Rome last week.

Some of the most popular features from the weekly show were also brought to life on the stage, including the Honesty Box, with opportunities for audience members to join in the discussion and win prizes.

“We’re absolutely delighted with how the first-ever bunkered Podcast LIVE went,” said host Michael McEwan. “Taking the show from the studio to the stage was something we were really excited to do but it took a massive amount of planning by a number of people behind the scenes.

“The reaction from the audience both during and after the show, not to mention the number of messages we’ve received on social media since the event, tells us that it was a huge success and gives us an amazing platform upon to build from.

“This really is just the beginning for The bunkered Podcast.”

Launched in 1995, bunkered has grown to become one of the UK’s biggest and most trusted multi-platform golf media outlets.

Based in the home of golf, it has a strong presence in print, on digital and, now, on the stage.

“This is a hugely exciting time to be part of the bunkered team,” added Bryce Ritchie, bunkered editor. “Already this year, we’ve increased the frequency of our magazine from eight issues a year to ten, and we’ve moved into selling on the newsstand beyond Scotland for the first time ever.

“Meanwhile, our digital footprint is growing rapidly. Our website is getting bigger and better all the time, whilst our social media channels continue to put us firmly at the forefront of the conversation.

“We are growing constantly, and capitalising on exciting new opportunities such as The bunkered Podcast LIVE will help super-charge that growth.”

An edited version of The bunkered Podcast LIVE presented by Eden Mill will be available to watch on the bunkered YouTube channel in the coming weeks.

Being a kid never gets old, as Beano celebrates 85th birthday

The nation’s longest running comic is celebrating its 85th birthday with a collectible front cover and comic strip.  

Created to celebrate the best bits of being a kid in 2023, the comic was edited in collaboration with thousands of kids – the most ever in Beano’s history. 

Stormzy, Harry Styles and David Attenborough are the stars of Beano’s 85th anniversary edition. The special commemorative issue also features King Charles and Queen Camilla, alongside celebrities from the world of music, cinema, TV and sport.  

On sale from today, the front cover and comic strip has been specially drawn by Beano artist, Nigel Parkinson. It sees the celebrities assist the Beanotown kids in stopping Mayor Brown from carving his own face into Mount Beano for the birthday celebrations.  

The comic cover showcases King Charles wondering if he’s the monarch in Beanotown, as Queen Camilla happily informs him that kids rule in the iconic fictional town. Each of the celebrities featured will become a proud owner of a Golden Dennis & Gnasher Fan Club badge to commemorate their role in Beano’s birthday celebrations. 

The comic is still the pulse of the playground after eight decades of jokes and comic capers. A nationwide poll of 3,000 kids aged 7-14 determined which celebrities would be included and who would make the front cover.   

Mike Stirling, Director of Mischief at Beano said, “As Beano proudly celebrates its 85th anniversary, it continues to champion the power and joy of childhood by doing what it’s always done, showing kids being kids. Here’s to the next 85 years, and we dedicate this birthday issue to every child out there, because being a kid never gets old.” 

DC Thomson partners with Canopy Media for inserts sales

DC Thomson has appointed Canopy Media to exclusively represent its portfolio of newspapers and magazines for national inserts.

Earlier this year, Canopy commenced the sale of inserts, display and classified space in The People’s Friend, The People’s Friend Specials, The People’s Friend Pocket Novels, My Weekly, My Weekly Specials, My Weekly Pocket Novels and This England as well as inserts into The Scots Magazine.

From August 17, Canopy will also take over sales of national inserts for DC Thomson newsbrands The Press and Journal, The Courier, Aberdeen Evening Express, Dundee Evening Telegraph and The Sunday Post.

The partnership follows the success of Canopy’s existing long-term partnerships with other key partners, which include The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Reach PLC, Hearst, Future plc, The Spectator, HELLO! Magazine, Snack Media and Silversurfers.

Commenting on the partnership, DC Thomson’s head of national sales, Gillean McLaren, said: “By partnering with Canopy, we’re making it easier than ever before for advertisers to reach the loyal readers of our much-loved titles. As a company, we are constantly looking at how we can grow and develop our business, and working with partners like Canopy is very much part of our ongoing transformation.”

Chris Grey, Chief Executive Officer at Canopy, added: “We’re delighted to partner with DC Thomson as we look to grow revenues for their brands. The opportunity is out there, you just have to have the scale, reach and expertise to find it.”

The P&J launches community fund for milestone anniversary

As part of its 275th anniversary celebrations, The Press and Journal has launched a ‘Community Fund and Charity Spotlight’ designed to raise money and shine a light on local charities in the north and north east of Scotland.

The fund is a way to celebrate the work of local charities, big and small, and a chance to tell the stories of some incredible organisations across The P&J’s readership area.

Five charities selected by readers will benefit from money raised until the end of 2024 through The P&J 275 Community Fund, with each of them receiving a minimum of £10,000 each.

Readers are being invited to put forward charities which are close to their heart, with nominations for the P&J 275 Community Fund open at from now until August 25. Charities can also nominate themselves.

Nominated charities will feature in The P&J 275 Charity Spotlight online and in print, celebrating the great work they do and the impact they have.

Readers will then have the opportunity to vote for which five charities will become the title’s official partners for 2024, taking part in The P&J 275 Charity Gala in January.

All money raised at the gala, and other initiatives to be announced in coming months, will be split equally among the five charities towards the end of next year. Each charity will receive a minimum of £10,000.

Launching The P&J 275 Community Fund, editor Craig Walker explained how the project builds on the title’s commitment to charities across the north and north-east:

“The Press and Journal has been the trusted voice of the north and north-east of Scotland for generations. We have been serving our remarkable part of the world for 275 years, making us one of the world’s oldest newspapers.

“Our reputation is built on honesty and reliability, and we have spent centuries earning the trust of our readers. When you read our coverage, you can rely on its accuracy and integrity without the need for fact-checking. This position of privilege and responsibility is one we take seriously and protect diligently.

“I’m delighted we are launching The P&J 275 Community Fund to not only highlight and support good causes across our patch but also benefit some financially.

“For our 275th anniversary, we celebrate our strong heritage but also our role in the future of journalism, as we use different techniques to tell your stories. Our recent awards success, winning Scotland’s News Website of the Year for 2023 as well as being the bestselling regional daily newspaper in the UK, are great accolades to hold. We will continually strive to improve for you, our loyal readers, who we invite to join us on our exciting journey as we move towards our 300th year and beyond.”

DC Thomson newsbrands and journalists named best in Scotland

Picking up more awards than any other media organisation, DC Thomson’s titles and teams have been recognised as the best in the country at the 44th Scottish Press Awards, held in Glasgow last night.

Nine prizes were awarded to the company’s newsbrands and journalists, recognising excellence in journalism, ranging from print and digital media, national and regional reporting, sports, features and live coverage.

News website of the year went to The Press and Journal, which judges described as a ‘clear winner’ for its strength of content and statistical performance. It was praised for being ‘anchored in its community’ but still telling ‘important stories with national significance’.

The Sunday Post took the title of Sunday newspaper of the year for a second year in a row, commended for its ability ability to evolve and find new audiences, without losing sight of its traditional values with ‘cover-to-cover quality reporting’.

Marion Scott, chief reporter at the Post took a hattrick of awards. She won both reporter of the year and scoop of the year for her interview with rape victim Denise Clair. Marion was also given the Nicola Barry Award for the second year running, which seeks to ‘recognise women journalists at all stages of their career for their work in issue-led reportage’.

Best coverage of a live event went to The Courier (live news team leader Bryan Copland, reporter James Simpson and photographer Kim Cessford collected the award) for their ‘outstanding’ reporting on last year’s Kirkton riots which saw streets set on fire, a school smashed up and fireworks thrown at police officers. Judges praised ‘sharp writing’ backed up with exclusive and striking photography.

The Press and Journal’s live team was named as a very close runner-up in the live event category and ‘an exemplar in local journalism’ for its coverage of the Skye shooting tragedy.

Sports news writer of the year went to Alan Temple at The Courier in a category judges called ‘tough, with an extremely high standard in a big year for sports news’.

The Press and Journal’s Stuart Findlay won regional reporter of the year for his ‘forensic and gripping’ coverage of the Renee Macrae case which also landed him reporter of the year prize at the Highlands Press Awards in February.

The P&J’s Dale Haslam, who was nominated for his investigations into the Stonehaven Rail Crash and the Hunt for Mr X documentary, was a close runner-up in the same regional reporter category.

Jennifer McLaren at The Courier took regional feature writer of the year with judges impressed with how her writing was ‘uplifting and very much connected to the personal stories told’. Ellie House from The P&J was named runner up in the same category for her ‘journalistic rigour and sensitivity’.

Runner up prizes also went to Brendan Duggan (who works across DC Thomson titles) for young journalist of the year, Catherine Deveney writing in The P&J for columnist of the year and Jen Stout at The Sunday post for reporter of the year with her ‘haunting front line testaments’ from Ukraine.

Tom Miller, DC Thomson’s chief transformation officer, said: “These award wins are testament to the passion of the talented teams across our loved titles and their belief that quality, heartfelt journalism really matters.

“We are committed to telling stories that nobody else can, as best we can, for our audiences. And there is lots to be proud of for the many people who contribute to our success, from journalists, photographers and videographers to designers, production, audience, insight and beyond.

“We are putting a huge amount of effort and investment into transformation and building a sustainable model. To be recognised by our peers for how we’re going about that is exceptionally heartening.”

Maths quip wins Beano’s Funniest Class

Back for a fifth year, Beano’s Funniest Class returned this week with Class Indigo 1 (Year 5) from Greasley Beauvale Primary School in Eastwood crowned the nation’s funniest with their joke “What happened to the math teachers garden? It grew square roots”.

The winning class has been immortalised in Beano form, featuring in this week’s comic and each individual member of the class has been drawn by the legendary Beano artist Nigel Parkinson.

Jokes poured in from all corners of the country for this year’s competition, and whittled down to a shortlist of the Top Ten funniest schools by Beano’s gag masters before the public crowned the winner.

Mike Stirling, Director of Mischief at Beano Studios said, “As Brits we’re renowned for our sense of humour and at Beano we always believe that the best jokes come from kids. Each year we can’t wait to see what the next generation of comedians have to say, so a huge congratulations to Greasley Beauvale Primary School for taking home the crown – who doesn’t love a joke about teachers?”

Michelle Bates, Headteacher at Greasley Beauvale Primary School said, “The kids had an absolute blast crafting their joke, and having it showcased on the cover of the Beano comic is an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind moment. We’re overjoyed to spread their hilarious joke far and wide, bringing laughter to the entire nation and eliciting countless morning chuckles!”

Britain’s Funniest Class is a nationwide initiative created in partnership with YoungMinds, the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. It aims to lift classroom spirits and help build resilience, whilst inspiring the next generation of comedy geniuses through joke-writing lessons.

Emanata Studios launches with live action Calamity James short for BBC Comedy

The first film from Dundee/London production company Emanata Studios streams this week, a darkly comic take on hapless Beano character Calamity James, starring Mark Bonnar (Guilt, Shetland, Catastrophe) and newcomer Dylan Blore (Empire of LightThe Hunt for Raoul Moat).

Commissioned by the BBC for its Comedy Shorts strand and co-funded by Screen Scotland, Calamity James is a 14-minute slapstick adventure about James (Dylan Blore) who is cursed with ‘acute misfortune syndrome’. James is on a mission to reconnect with his estranged dad (Mark Bonnar).

Created for adult audiences, the short will be available on BBC iPlayer from Friday May 26, and will be shown on BBC Three in the coming months.

Emanata Studios is the film and TV production arm of DC Thomson, set up in 2021 to develop the IP from its vast archive. This ranges from Beano (the world’s longest running weekly comic) and The Dandy, to adult anthology comics Commando and Starblazer, Britain’s best-selling teen magazine of the 1970s Jackie and girls’ comic Bunty.

Emanata Studios is headed by Mark Talbot, Chief Creative Officer, a multi award winning producer including the BAFTA winning comedy The Revolution Will Be Televised for BBC. Mark is responsible for the creative output across all of Emanata Studios’ comedy, drama and animation projects.

Talbot says: “It’s been fascinating to take a character like James who causes chaos in Beano every week and think, ‘What if he were 20? What would he be like, what would his life as the unluckiest boy in the world have been like, how can we expand him to be a real person?’

“Marvel and DC do this all the time. You see it with characters like Batman – you’ve got the Robert Pattinson Batman but you’ve got Teen Titans as well. Ultimately this is a comedy for adults that honours its comic strip origins.

“What we’ve got with the Calamity James short we’ve made for the BBC is a really good proof of concept, that we can take the vast trove of ideas, characters and stories that are in the archives and make something new. Calamity James in the short is still recognizably the character from the comic – it sits alongside the comic character – but it is its own separate thing, existing in its own world as well.”  

This reinterpretation of Calamity James is the creation of Edinburgh-based writer-director Louis Paxton. After studying at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow, Louis embarked on an MA in Directing at the National Film and Television School in London and his films range from comedy drama to horror to musical comedy. Previous work includes BBC Three comedy/drama Ladybaby, BBC One’s Shetland and he is currently directing a block of the BBC Three horror/comedy series Wreck.

Paxton says: “Calamity James has been a wonderful opportunity for me. Together with some of Scotland’s best cast and crew, we’ve made an ambitious, heartfelt, and befittingly disastrous short film.”


Over 30 nominations for DC Thomson news brands and journalists at Scottish Press Awards

As the shortlist for the 2023 Scottish Press Awards is announced, The Courier, The Press and Journal and The Sunday Post have all received a substantial number of nominations.

Both The Courier and The P&J are in the running for News Website of the Year award – an accolade The Courier won last year.

The Courier is nominated for best coverage of a live event, for its reporting of last October’s dramatic riots in Kirkton – which saw streets set on fire, a school smashed up and fireworks thrown at police officers.

It led to a ban on fireworks being sold in city supermarkets and a national conversation about anti-social behaviour.

In the same category, The P&J’s Live team has been nominated for coverage of the Skye shooting tragedy.

Two campaigns from The Sunday Post have won nominations. The In Plain Sight campaign looked at the unrecognised toll of violence against women, while the Post’s Women’s Health campaign successfully called for the urgent appointment of Scotland’s first Women’s Health Champion to tackle a host of deadly health inequalities.

Three P&J journalists are shortlisted for regional reporter of the year. Alastair Gossip is nominated for his extensive coverage of the Union Terrace Gardens saga, his world-exclusive on the route of the Queen’s cortege and Lord Provost Barney Crockett’s controversial Russian portrait.

He is up against Stuart Findlay, whose coverage of the Renee Macrae case, has already landed him the reporter of the year prize at the Highlands Press Awards in February.

Impact reporter Dale Haslam is also in the running in the same category for his investigations into the Stonehaven Rail Crash and the Hunt for Mr X documentary which investigated a North Sea diver behind £100m Highland cocaine plot.

The Sunday Post’s coverage of the war in Ukraine has resulted in a nomination in the journalism team of the year category and The Post has two nominations for reporter of the year with chief reporter Marion Scott and journalist Jen Stout shortlisted.

Marion is also nominated for the Scoop of the Year award, for her interview with rape victim Denise Clair.

Janet Boyle’s health reporting in The Sunday Post – including a stark first-hand account from a crisis-hit A&E ward – has earned her a nomination in the specialist reporter of the year category.

Both Janet and Marion are also nominated for the Nicola Barry Award, which recognises the best work by women journalists.

Alan Temple at The Courier, who led on coverage of David Goodwillie’s ill-fated move to Raith Rovers, is in the running for Sports Writer of the Year.

Two P&J staff photographers are nominated, with Wullie Marr shortlisted for best sports photographer and Jason Hedges named in the news category.

Justin Bowie from The Courier/The P&J’s politics team is up for young journalist of the year, alongside Sophie Goodwin and Brendan Duggan.

In The P&J, Sophie wrote about abuse in women’s footballwheelchair racing in Aberdeen and a profile on Aberdeen Women’s player Nadine Hanssen.

Writing across The P&J and The Courier, Brendan is shortlisted for his work on an investigation into abuse at Fornethy House and a tribute to David Lapage who died during Storm Arwen.

Jennifer McLaren is shortlisted for regional feature writer of the year for her work in The Courier, and Maria Gran – now The Courier’s food and drink journalist – has been nominated for Financial/Business Journalist of the Year following her previous work with the business team.

Formerly of The P&J politics team, Calum Ross has been shortlisted for his work on the sanctions-busting flight from Inverness to Moscow after Russia invaded Ukraine gaining a nomination in the political journalist of the year.

Two P&J writers vie for best columnist with Catherine Deveney – who won last year – and Kerry Hudson nominated.

Julia Bryce is up for food and drink writer of the year (which she won in 2021), and Jan Patience has been nominated for arts and entertainment journalist of the year, writing in The Sunday Post.

Paul English’s work for The Sunday Post sees him shortlisted for the feature writer award and in the regional feature writer of the year category, Ellie House (The P&J) and Peter Ranscombe (The Courier) have been shortlisted.

The awards are organised by the Scottish Newspaper Society, and the ceremony takes place in Glasgow on June 7.

Images show clockwise from top left: Highland League Cup Final (Wullie Marr), 51 Squadron RAF Regiment based at RAF Lossiemouth (Jason Hedges), a massive wave hitting the sea wall at Cullen (Jason Hedges), first day of Belladrum music festival (Jason Hedges), a skater taking to the air at Banchory Skate park (Wullie Marr) and fireworks thrown at police during the Kirkton riots (Kim Cessford).

My Weekly announces new Editor

My Weekly, one of the world’s longest running women’s magazines, has appointed a new editor.

Susan Watson, who was formerly commissioning fiction editor at the DC Thomson magazine, becomes the 9th editor since My Weekly was launched in 1910.

Susan joined the title in 1999 as an editorial assistant and has worked in a variety of roles across the title, including features writer and celebrity editor. In 2019 she was appointed commissioning fiction editor and has established My Weekly as one of the UK’s foremost outlets for commercial fiction.

Susan takes over from Stuart Johnstone who has moved into a new role with DC Thomson, after five years as editor.

“To be appointed editor of My Weekly is a tremendous honour,” said Susan.

“This magazine has been a part of my life for more than 20 years and I am aware of the high regard in which our readers hold the title.

“My Weekly is a trusted brand with a proud tradition. It has remained successful because it has always evolved while keeping its readers at its heart.

“Through a top-class print product, increased digital content, as well as our beloved pocket novels and special, the future for My Weekly is incredibly exciting. I cannot wait to get started.”

With a readership of 224,000 each week, My Weekly is one of the UK’s most popular women’s magazines and is aimed at women aged 55+.

Maria Welch, head of magazines at DC Thomson, said: “We are delighted to announce Susan as the next editor of My Weekly. In 113 years, she is only the 9th person to take on the title.

“Susan has a deep knowledge of the brand. She understands our readers and their appetite for the perfect mix of great fiction, inspiring features and celebrity news that has allowed My Weekly to continue to be one of the world’s top women’s magazines for over a century.

“Susan will work with a fantastic team as they develop the magazine’s online presence, events and of course the weekly magazine and specials.”

Discovery Print wins Regional Newspaper Printer of the Year

DC Thomson’s printing arm Discovery Print has this week been named Regional Newspaper Printer of the Year at the 2023 Newspaper Awards.

The awards focus on recognising excellence in printed newspapers and is the third time Discovery Print has taken the top prize in this category, having previously won in 2019 and 2016.

According to organisers the “prestigious category demonstrates the range of technical challenges faced day in day out by print plants in today’s demanding market”. Judges were on the lookout for “consistent and excellent quality” in areas such as registration, photo reproduction, alignment and show-through.

Taking on printers from around the UK, Discovery Print was described by judges as a worthy winner, and one of the stand-out entries in a tough category.

Housed at DC Thomson’s Kingsway plant in Dundee, the Discovery Print team – headed by Guy Forester Head of Operations (Newspapers) and Craig Bertie, Production Manager – produce over 70 editions of individual newspapers each week, with nine dailies produced each night.

As well as DC Thomson titles The Courier, Evening Telegraph, The P&J, Evening Express and The Sunday Post, the site also prints the Daily Mail, Daily Star, Daily Express, The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News.

State of the art facilities include a Goss Compact Printing System, Goss Colorliner and Agfa Arkitex system. The plant is also able to carry out multiple insertions using the Muller Martini Mailroom system, create voucher strips and even print using scented inks.

Also at the awards, The Press and Journal was highly commended for Regional Newspaper of the Year, and The Courier received a commendation in this category. ‘Aberdeen and Dundee teamwork’ was commended in the Newspaper Employee/ Team of the year.

Guy Forester (pictured left, with Craig Bertie right) said, “We are printing around 11 million newspapers each month at Discovery Print, which is a mammoth undertaking. However, the company’s investment in the best facilities and equipment means we’re able to not only produce volume but exceptional quality too. Winning this award is a recognition of our team’s commitment to excellence in our own, and our customers’ titles.”

To contact Discovery Print, call 01382 575958 or email


DC Thomson announces new national news brand roles

As part of DC Thomson’s ongoing transformation, the media organisation has this week announced two senior appointments in newly-created news brand roles. Dave Lord has been confirmed as editor (national) and Jayne Savva becomes editor (features).

As editor (national), Dave will take the helm at The Sunday Post and will also lead politics coverage across all of DC Thomson’s news brands. For over 20 years, Dave has served in various roles at the company including chief reporter, news editor and deputy editor of The Courier and – most recently – editor of the Evening Telegraph.

In her new role, Jayne Savva will take responsibility for features output across all of DC Thomson’s print and digital news products. Jayne joined The Sunday Post as features editor in 2018 and since November 2019 has worked as deputy editor (features). She was previously features editor at Best magazine and deputy features editor at the Daily Record.

Outgoing Sunday Post editor Jim Wilson will remain at the title, moving to the role of contributing editor allowing him to also pursue opportunities outside of DC Thomson.

Dave Lord said: “To say I am proud to be taking on this role would be a mammoth understatement.

“The Sunday Post is an institution – and a much-loved one at that. I can’t wait to get started – to build upon the brand’s amazing heritage while ensuring it remains at the cutting edge of UK journalism.

“Over the last two years I have been heavily involved in DC Thomson’s digital transformation and have learnt so much. In my many years in various editorial management roles I have built extensive experience and expertise in delivering content that really benefits audiences and that is something I am keen to further develop in this new role.

“It is also an honour to be at the forefront of delivering the very best politics coverage to DC Thomson audiences across all our news brands.

“Our politics reporters already produce an astonishing array of quality content, from podcasts to regular exclusives. I look forward to helping us build on that, to ensure we really deliver the kind of content that not only informs our audiences, but also engages and entertains them in meaningful, relevant and innovative ways.” 

Jayne Savva said: “It has been a hugely rewarding experience working with The Sunday Post, where features have been integral to building its reputation as one of Scotland’s most trusted and respected newspapers.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to continue this close relationship, while also getting to know and work with our talented writers, editors, production teams and digital creatives across Scotland.

“Above all, I have a passion for telling stories that matter most to our readers and I am looking forward to developing our digital platforms to discover new and innovative ways we can bring these stories to life.

“It is exciting to see features placed front and centre of the future vision of our news brands. I see this as a valuable opportunity to build a creative and collaborative team, who can work together to produce journalism that will inspire, inform and delight our audiences.”

Tom Miller, DC Thomson’s chief transformation officer said: “Dave has a deep understanding of his audiences and how to best serve print and digital packages with an intelligent mix of humour, analysis, visualisation and news. His appointment puts The Sunday Post in a fantastic place to continue its reporting, investigations and tireless campaigning nationally while also becoming a part of our journey to grow digital subscription revenues.

“Jayne’s work at The Sunday Post, and in particular on the award-winning P.S. Magazine, puts us in a strong position to explore new growth opportunities. Jayne will be supported by a team that spans Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee, and be key in leading a creative and inspired team of writers that can push boundaries and delight our readers with features that are challenging, entertaining and set us apart from our competition.”

“We are delighted Jim Wilson will remain as contributing editor of The Sunday Post. Under his leadership, The Post’s campaigning journalism has been recognised at UK and Scottish press awards where, most recently, the title was named Sunday Newspaper of the Year in 2022.”

Earlier this month, Craig Walker was appointed as editor Aberdeen and the North with responsibility for leading The Press and Journal.

Brightsolid boosts team with heavyweight appointments

Brightsolid, Scotland’s leading managed hybrid cloud services provider, has announced the appointment of Andy Sinclair as its new chief technology officer (CTO), Andy Laing as chief financial officer and David Taylor as head of cyber security.

As new CTO, Andy brings over a decade of technology experience spanning engineering, architecture and cloud transformation. Most recently, Andy was director of product at iomart and he’s excited about the potential he sees at the DC Thomson-owned Brightsolid.

He says: “I’m thrilled to join Brightsolid as it enters its next phase of growth. I was drawn by the opportunity to deliver a compelling managed cloud solution to the market, but what really stood out to me was Brightsolid’s incredible internal culture, which places such high value on our people and our relationships with customers.”

The Brightsolid team are further strengthened with the appointment of Andy Laing as chief financial officer. A KPMG trained chartered accountant with extensive senior management experience, Andy has previously worked with various technology investment funds and extensively at director level within VC and PE backed deep tech organisations.

Andy said: “Brightsolid has an enviable reputation in Scotland for technical expertise and service delivery. I’m delighted to be joining the Brightsolid team as CFO at a time when the company is pursuing several potentially transformational opportunities.”

New head of cyber security, David Taylor’s career started in the military where he spent 10 years managing communications and information systems onboard Britain’s nuclear submarines. For the past decade David has been building and managing security operations centres, securing cloud and on-premises infrastructure, and conducting information security and compliance audits.

David is also looking forward to his role in Brightsolid’s future: “As well as a market leading managed detection and response product Brightsolid has an amazing culture which I am very excited to be part of. I can’t wait to work with the team to further develop our managed cyber security offering while continuing to deliver our fantastic levels of customer service.”

Elaine Maddison, Brightsolid’s CEO, sees the appointments as a key part of the managed services provider’s strategy: “I’m absolutely delighted that Andy, Andy and Dave have decided to join Brightsolid. We want to attract the best talent out there and that’s exactly what we’ve done here. We’re an ambitious business and these individuals bring unrivalled expertise and experience to drive our growth plans.”

L-R: David Taylor head of cyber security, Andy Laing chief financial officer and Andy Sinclair, chief technology officer


bunkered celebrates 200th issue with increase in magazine investment and UK distribution

bunkered this week celebrates the 200th issue of its print magazine. First launched in 1995, the magazine is set for a bumper 2023 as it increases in frequency and gains more retail distribution across the UK.

Golf fans can now enjoy ten issues of bunkered a year – up from eight – alongside additional supplements and selected bookazines at newsstand. The magazine has also been redesigned to a new, more compact size.

Alongside print investment, retail distribution for bunkered has increased since January 2023 to more than 200 additional Tesco, Waitrose and WH Smith stores across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

bunkered editor Bryce Ritchie commented, “bunkered is nothing without its loyal readers and that will never change. I am well aware – and immensely proud – that many of our subscribers have an even longer association with the magazine than me, and that makes publishing issue No.200 even more special for us.

“In recent years, we have expanded beyond the page to create hugely successful and fast-growing digital platforms. We have exciting and ambitious plans to expand our digital footprint on all fronts in the coming months and years but our magazine remains a critical cornerstone of our business.

“This is an incredibly exciting time in the history of our brand and we are excited to see where the next 200 issues take us.”

bunkered magazine was launched in 1995 and is now supplemented by an authoritative digital network centred around, highly engaged social media platforms, a fast-growing YouTube channel, live events and a multi-award-winning podcast.

P&J wins Digital Initiative of the Year at national awards

The Press and Journal’s Highland League Weekly (HLW) web show has been crowned Digital Initiative of the Year at the Regional Press Awards this week.

A joint project from the P&J’s sports and audio-visual teams, HLW goes live on the P&J website every Monday at 7pm. It is centred on the Breedon Scottish Highland Football League, a truly unique part of the UK football landscape, but one whose clubs, players and storylines are largely ignored by the national media.

Now in its second season, the subscriber-only show continues to grow and develop, and includes weekly highlights of multiple matches, reaction, analysis of all of the weekend’s results – and a mix of serious and not-so-serious features.

The team also produce regular midweek highlights, as well as a free-to-view Friday preview show, which is available on all social media platforms, where HLW has a passionate and engaged follower-base.

P&J editor Craig Walker said: “Highland League Weekly is a real success story for The Press and Journal.

“It shows the type of content we can produce online and our ambitions in trying to meet the needs of the niche interests and passions of our audience.

“A lot of work and a lot of miles go into producing our Highland League Weekly shows every week, with highlights filmed across the north of Scotland and long days pulling the content together.

“This award is much-deserved for the team involved and everyone who is part of Highland League Weekly has adapted and learned new skills to make what is a well-watched, well-received and now award-winning project successful to this point.”

Also at the Regional Press Awards, DC Thomson journalist Dale Haslam – who works across the company’s newspapers, including The Press and Journal and The Courier – was highly-commended in the Daily Reporter of the Year category.


New leadership for newsrooms in Aberdeen and the North

DC Thomson has announced the appointment of Craig Walker as editor, Aberdeen and the North, with responsibility for leading The Press and Journal and Evening Express.

Craig has been with the Evening Express for almost twenty years and has been a key part in the evolution of newsrooms in Aberdeen, Inverness and Elgin. He takes command of the P&J as it celebrates its 275th year.

Tom Miller, DC Thomson’s chief transformation officer said: “No-one is more knowledgeable and passionate about the region than Craig. He is exceptionally well-placed to progress our transformation, leading our talented teams with a focus on serving and representing our local communities with an expanded remit as editor of the P&J.”

Craig Walker 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.”

David Sutherland OBE 1933-2023


David Sutherland, the artist who gave life to some of Britain’s best-loved comic characters, has died aged 89.

He was the creative force behind Beano’s Bash Street Kids from 1962 until he drew his final comic strip at the end of last year. That illustration will appear in this week’s issue of Beano, to be published on Wednesday.

It will be the first and only pieces of his artwork to be bylined ‘David Sutherland OBE’, in recognition of the award he received in the New Year Honours.

David also drew Dennis the Menace for over two decades years, and Biffo the Bear, which he took over from his hero, Dudley D. Watkins.

John Anderson, Beano editor, said David Sutherland’s contribution to the comic and British comic history will never be matched: “No one will ever repeat what David achieved over 60 years. He was one of a kind, a genuine legend. It is the end of an era. Given that David started working for DC Thomson in 1959 and had been drawing The Bash Street Kids since 1962, he is the single most important illustrator in Beano history.”

Christopher Thomson, Chairman of DC Thomson, said: “David was a tremendously talented artist and creative and we are immensely grateful for the outstanding contribution he made over the last 60 years. He brought joy to our beloved audiences – children and adults alike – and to those who were fortunate enough to work alongside him. He will be much missed, and his legacy will undoubtedly have a lasting impact for many years to come.”

Nigel Parkinson, current Dennis & Gnasher illustrator, said David’s work had thrilled Britain for six decades. “The nation and its children and grandchildren and great grandchildren have all loved David Sutherland’s joyous, happy, teeming-with-life, hilarious drawings nearly every single week in Beano for 60 years, he has touched the heart, tickled the funny bone and amused the eyes of millions.”

In his early years with DC Thomson, David was understudy to legendary comic creators Leo Baxendale and David Law. He also ghosted for Dudley D. Watkins, the artist behind The Broons and Oor Wullie, which first appeared in The Sunday Post and remain part of Scottish iconography to this day.

Steve Bright, a long-standing DC Thomson illustrator, said: “David Sutherland was an unsung hero to me when I was a boy, avidly devouring and copying his wonderful Bash Street Kids, as I learned how to draw by sketching in his footsteps. Every line taught and inspired me more and helped determine my ambition to one day draw comics and cartoons as a career.”

In 1959, David entered a drawing competition organised by DC Thomson. His artwork made such an impression that he was invited to illustrate adventure strips for Beano.

David began work on Beano adventure strips such as Danny on a Dolphin and The Great Flood of London.

His ability and versatility were obvious to the editor and soon he was working on some of Beano’s most famous strips as an understudy to the established comic greats.

By 1970, David was the mainstay of the comic, drawing Biffo the Bear on the cover, The Bash Street Kids in the centre spread and Dennis & Gnasher on the back cover.

He drew well over a thousand episodes of Britain’s favourite wild child, Dennis, over a 28-year period from 1970 until 1998.

But it was on The Bash Street Kids that he would create his greatest legacy (his first and last strips are shown below).

David replaced Leo Baxendale on the strip in 1962 and produced his final illustration at the end of last year, for publication this week.

Over the years he drew well over 3,500 individual instalments in the comic. When you include annuals and other specials this takes the total to over 4,000 episodes.

John Anderson Beano Editor said: “This brings us to another of his defining characteristics – his dedication. David, even when he was in his late 80s, was still delivering a Bash Street Kids comic strip every week. David was a man of enormous warmth. He cared not just about the quality, but also about the readers themselves and this came through in the work. No matter how well you imagined your script would look in comic strip form, he always made it better with subtle background details and unexpected perspectives.”

Mike Stirling, creative director of Beano Studios, said: “David had been very much part of the work to modernise the Bash Street Kids in terms of inclusion and diversity.
“In his late 80s he was as enthusiastic and as energetic as anyone in adopting our new characters, giving them a provenance that is very important.”

A version of this piece appeared in The Courier here

The Press and Journal marks 275 years

This year marks the 275th anniversary of The Press and Journal, Scotland’s oldest newspaper and one of the longest running titles anywhere in the world. 

To celebrate the milestone, The P&J has launched ‘Our Mission’, its promise to the communities it serves, echoing a pledge made by journalists 275 years ago to tell local stories from the region accurately and fairly: 


Over the course of 2023, Scotland’s Newspaper of the Year and the best-selling regional daily in the UK will also explore the best of its journalism – from the very beginning right up until now. 

Editor-in-chief Frank O’Donnell, said: “Our reputation is founded in our honesty and reliability, a trust built over centuries that what we publish can be relied on. It is a position of privilege and responsibility that we carefully guard and never take lightly.

“While we continue to focus on local news and views, we bring them to life in new ways such as inspirational documentariesaward-winning, engaging podcasts and interactive in-depth explorations of the issues most relevant to readers’ day-to-day lives.”

“As the latest custodian of this proud institution, I am proud to be steering The P&J through one of the most remarkable periods of its long history.”

To celebrate the anniversary, The P&J reprinted the first edition of ‘Aberdeen’s Journal’ in the paper on January 5, which is also available to download here.



Beano helps welcome National Literacy Trust to Dundee 

Dennis and Gnasher joined pupils from Ss Peter & Paul RC Primary School, and Mike Stirling and Craig Graham from Beano, to help launch the Dundee Literacy Hub from the National Literacy Trust (NLT), the first in Scotland and the 18th in the UK. 

The Literacy Hub is supported by the Northwood Charitable Trust (set up by a member of the Thomson family), Dundee City Council, and community partners and schools and is designed to tackle literacy issues in communities where low levels of literacy are seriously impacting people’s lives.  

Beano has been working with the National Literacy Trust (NLT) since 2016 with a shared aim of promoting lifelong reading for pleasure. Over the next ten years, as part of a campaign called Read Dundee, the project aims to raise literacy levels across the city in children aged 0-12. 

As well as Beano lending its support to the launch of the Literacy Hub, DC Thomson’s director of brand marketing Fiona Hickley and Morag Neville of the Northwood Charitable Trust joined Lord Provost Bill Campbell, Dundee City Council’s Chief Education Officer Paul Fleming and Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, at the City Chambers to mark the start of the project. 

Fiona will represent DC Thomson on the strategic steering group for Read Dundee. 

“Through Beano, we’ve been working with NLT for quite a while, we both want to get children reading for the sheer fun and joy it brings”, she says. “Recently we co-created a Beano schools kit that has been distributed to 23,000 primary school pupils over the past two years.  The NLT were also instrumental in Marcus Rashford’s Beano guest editorship, in July, as he is an NLT ambassador. 

“I’m so pleased that National Literacy Trust is bringing its incredible expertise to Scotland and that so many partners have come together to make this happen in Dundee. I’m looking forward to involving more DC Thomson brands and teams in the NLT work in Dundee.  After all, readers are our lifeblood” 

You can read more about the Literacy Hubs at https:/ 


Trio of wins for DC Thomson at Women in Local News Awards

Pictured left to right: Lindsay Bruce, Sophie Goodwin and Clare Johnston

Three DC Thomson journalists have been recognised in the 2022 Women in Local News Awards this month, held as part of the Behind Local News annual conference in Birmingham.

Set up last year, the awards are supported by Women in Journalism and celebrate the impact women have in local newsrooms.

Lindsay Bruce of The Courier and The Press and Journal won Specialist Reporter of the Year for her work as obituaries writer, with judges saying: In a particularly difficult category, this entry clinched the award for demonstrating how to carve out a new specialism in obituary reporting — and storytelling with empathy and even joy in celebrating lives of people.”

Sports Reporter of the Year went to The Press and Journal’s Sophie Goodwin. Judges stated that the category was a particularly important one for them, to encourage more women into sports reporting. Sophie was praised for: “performing wonders” in raising the profile of women’s football through her journalism and “confronting issues such as sexism that still exists in the sport”.

Clare Johnston, who works across DC Thomson’s news titles was named Journalist Trainer of the Year. Judges stressed the importance of the role in the development of talent within the industry. From creating the ‘Imposters’ group as a wry nod to building women’s confidence, to empowering other women in their roles, judges described Clare as: “more than a trainer — she is every support a journalist needs.”

The full list of winners can be found here.

DC Thomson daily news brands hit digital subscriptions milestone

Paid digital subscriptions for DC Thomson’s daily news brands (The Courier, The Press and Journal, Evening Telegraph and Evening Express) have this month passed 25,000 paid subscribers, 18 months into the company’s ambitious drive to build a new, sustainable model for local journalism.

The shift to a digital-first approach saw the complete transformation of the newsrooms, with every member of staff taking new roles, and new teams created to concentrate on building deep expertise in individual areas such as crime & courts, health & wellbeing, environment & transport, all viewed from a local perspective.

Specific audience development, insight and data positions were created to give the teams understanding of the needs and wants of their readers. A content development function was built to further develop specialist skills such as data journalism and in-depth investigations.

Investment was also made in developing and upskilling talent in areas such as audio production and video. For the first time, the news teams created investigative documentaries and daily podcasts.

The success of a story isn’t measured by the number of clicks it receives but by a ‘quality reads’ metric, identifying how much of an article has been read, putting high standards of reporting and engagement at the core of the work.

This emphasis on excellence in journalism was recognised at September’s Scottish Press Awards with The Courier being awarded website of the year and The Press and Journal taking daily newspaper of the year. As well as the title awards, staff working across DC Thomson’s daily news brands won prizes including best local feature writer, best campaign, best columnist, best local reporter and best podcast.

The focus of encouraging audiences to pay for news shifted from solely being tied to digital replicas of the printed products towards true digital-first subscription products, focused on delivering our communities more value from the content that the newsrooms produce. Research shows that subscribers place the most value in ‘up-to-the minute’ news, available to them at any time of day.

Print continues to be a crucial part of the news mix, with more stories, an increased focus on supplements and reader participation. In particular, the P&J’s Saturday edition has been recently redesigned to substantially increase the breadth and depth of coverage with increased pagination and a renewed focus on features.

Frank O’Donnell, editor of the Press and Journal said: “25k subscribers is a significant milestone on our journey to developing a sustainable digital newsroom.
“Having only launched in May last year, we are ahead of target and confident that the changes we have made in content, structure, product and audience-focus are delivering results.
“We must now keep listening to our audiences to deepen our understanding of what readers want from us.”

David Clegg, editor of The Courier, said: “This is an encouraging early success for our strategy of making journalism worth paying for.
“It is a tribute to the deep connection we have with our communities that so many thousands of people have chosen to support us on this journey.
“I want to thank our readers for helping us build a sustainable future for The Courier’s quality journalism.”

DC Thomson sweeps the board at 2022 Scottish Press Awards

DC Thomson’s news brands, stories and journalists have been recognised in an exceptional result at this year’s Scottish Press Awards.

In a ceremony held in Glasgow yesterday, DC Thomson won almost a third of prizes, including some of the biggest of the night. The Press and Journal won the prestigious Daily Newspaper of the Year Award, The Sunday Post was named the Sunday Newspaper of the Year and The Courier scooped the award for News Website of the Year.

The chair of judges said: “In another year of pressure for independent news publishing, The Press and Journal was ambitious in tackling the challenges head on, radically shaking up the way its newsroom operated, and strengthening the relevance and quality of its editorial content.

“The Sunday Post has continued to evolve in both tone and content whilst remaining ever true to its original roots as a family newspaper. Every week the title delivers a formidable package of hard-hitting exclusives, campaigning vigour, engaging features and confident news coverage.”

On picking up the prize for Daily Newspaper of the Year, P&J editor-in-chief Frank O’Donnell said: “The rest of Scotland now knows what P&J readers have known for generations – this is our country’s very best newspaper.

“But this award is in particular a timely recognition of the way we have built on centuries of experience over the last 18 months to create a news product that delivers everything modern readers want.

“As a team, we have decisively shown that there does not have to be a choice between producing top-quality online news and the sort of daily print product our communities have come to know and love.”

Jim Wilson, editor of The Sunday Post, said: “Winning Sunday Newspaper of the Year is a tremendous achievement by a talented and committed team of journalists. I’m delighted the judges share my admiration and respect for their work.”

The Post’s chief reporter Marion Scott won Reporter of the Year and the Nicola Barry Award for a series of important, campaigning stories. Wilson said: ““Marion is already a legend in Scottish journalism but retains her passion for telling stories that matter. She’s an inspiration.”

The Courier’s website stood out for judges by “choosing to reject clickbait in favour of in-depth features and hard-hitting investigations”. Editor David Clegg said: “This award reflects the hard work, talent and dedication of every single member of the team. From a traditional newsroom, we have transformed into a modern, dynamic, truly agile digital-first operation.

“This success comes down to every content creator, digital content producer, AV expert, digital developer, audience insight specialist and social media expert. Throughout a period of extraordinary change The Courier had flourished because of one constant – high quality journalism rooted in its community.”

The P&J’s Neil Drysdale was named one of the best in the country for his feature writing in the local and weekly category. His award-winning work looks back on a shocking murder in Aberdeen from 60 years ago and the story of a young girl who fled the Nazis in Austria and ended up in the north-east.

The P&J’s Environment and Transport team led by Kieran Beattie and Philippa Gerrard scooped the award for Campaign of the Year for Beach Clean Champions.

Catherine Deveney won the title of Columnist of the Year for her opinion pieces in the P&J, with her entries exploring topics such as the gender pay gap and harassment of schoolgirls.

The Local/weekly Reporter award was won by Sean O’Neil from the Impact team (which works across the P&J and The Courier) for his in-depth investigative work, including Missing from The Broch – the P&J’s documentary exploring the disappearance of Shaun Ritchie.

DC Thomson’s podcast The Stooshie, featuring reporters from the P&J and The Courier, was named Podcast of the Year for its weekly insights and analysis on everything to do with Scottish politics.

The Sunday Post was named runner-up in three categories – Front Page of the Year, Journalism Team of the year for its COP26 coverage and Campaign of the Year for Shaming, a campaign demanding justice for two victims of male violence against women.

P&J obituaries writer Lindsay Bruce was announced as runner up in the Specialist Reporter of the Year category for her sensitive and heartfelt work, including her interview with the mother of Banchory graduate Darren Forest who died just six days after his cancer diagnosis.

Runner up in the Local/weekly Reporter award category was Impact journalist Dale Haslam who explored the untold stories of Trump at Menie in a series of five articles as part of his entry.

Brightsolid launches tailored cybersecurity service

Leading managed hybrid cloud service provider Brightsolid has launched its first Managed Detection and Response (MDR) service, a cybersecurity product tailored specifically for organisations in Scotland and the north of England.

Owned by DC Thomson, with offices and data centres in Dundee and Aberdeen, Brightsolid has been delivering managed services to the UK private and public sector for 25 years. It identified a need for a cybersecurity product tailored to its market, offering proactive protection against threats without overly restrictive fees.

Brightsolid’s MDR equips organisations with an experienced in-house Security Operations Centre (SOC) team to monitor and secure infrastructure 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and shield organisations from malicious threats and activities.

The SOC team undertakes threat intelligence, case development, threat hunting, incident containment and remediation activities. The service also includes incident response capabilities, triage analysis and guidance on mitigating priority and complex incidents.

Brightsolid’s MDR has been built to provide protection against common, advanced and evolving threats with a best-in-class cybersecurity portfolio. Industry-leading Microsoft platforms Sentinel and Defender are structured alongside Brightsolid’s SOC for a multi-layered approach that builds comprehensive and in-depth security, while supporting long-term cybersecurity strategies.

Elaine Maddison, CEO of Brightsolid says: “We’ve all read about the high-profile victims of cyber-attacks but companies seeking MDR services have found that the products on offer tended to be expensive and variable in quality.

“There wasn’t a product in the market that we were happy would protect our customers for a cost that made sense, so we’ve spent the last year developing our own. We’ve combined the best people with the best technology to bring our MDR to the market but we’re not going to charge a premium for the service.

“Every organisation is a potential victim, and time lost understanding and prioritising alerts can lead to significant financial and reputational damage. It’s important that, whatever an organisation’s size, they can have the reassurance that they are protected from threats.”

DC Thomson’s ‘freemium’ Living magazine grows to nine editions

Just six years after Living was first unveiled, DC Thomson’s free, luxury lifestyle magazine adds a ninth edition with the launch of Ness & Moray. The new addition, covering Inverness and surrounding areas, takes the number of separate regional versions of Living published to nine and the number of copies to 187,000 each quarter.

First published in spring 2016 with Perth & Kinross, the glossy title is distributed to homes, high-end business and hotels across much of Scotland.

Sitting at five regions before pausing in 2020 due to lockdown, it subsequently bounced back with four editions launched since then.

Editions now include Tay & Forth (Fife and Tayside); Capital and Capital South (Edinburgh/East Lothian); Kelvin & Clyde and Clyde & Cart (two Glasgow editions), Allan & Forth (Stirlingshire); Dee & Don (Aberdeenshire) and the new Ness & Moray (Inverness/Highlands) edition.

According to Living’s editor, Chae Strathie, the magazine aims to celebrate the very best of each of its edition areas. “We focus on the people who make the areas what they are, with particular emphasis on lifestyle, arts & crafts, culture, food and business,” he says. “We highlight artisans and artists, those who create luxury products and people who work in high end roles in fields our readers will find fascinating.”

Aimed at the highest demographic households in each area, readers are nearly twice as likely to have £100K+ in savings/investments than the average Scot. Family income is 30% higher than the Scottish average.

The magazine provides national-quality writing and design – led by design team Aileen Wilkie and Ailsa Smart – while running area-specific features. Likewise, the design ethos is to create a luxury and creative look and feel that encourages people to keep the magazines in their home for longer than would normally be the case with free titles.

The approach has attracted high-end advertising clients who recognise the value in targeted advertising in such a good-looking title. The magazine’s reputation for excellent content alongside big name advertisers has allowed it to attract clients in new areas and grow the brand to its current level.

“We aim to take ‘freemium’ to a new level,” says Chae. “The key to our success – and what sets us apart, I believe – is the quality of our writing, our stylish design and the stunning achievements of our sales team, led by Pauline McCart, in attracting such high-end clients to a free title.

“Editorial and commercial work hand-in-hand and have a very positive, mutually respectful relationship. However, although our revenue is 100% advertising driven the editorial content is completely independent of that, so our readers never feel they are simply being fed puff pieces. Advertisers of the quality we aim for appreciate that and want to be part of something that is widely distributed, highly targeted but is also a great read and looks fantastic.

“A regular comment we get from readers and clients alike is ‘I can’t believe this is free’ – which means we must be doing something right!”


110% Gaming powers up for 100th issue

110% Gaming, the UK’s biggest dedicated multi-platform gaming magazine for children, reaches a major milestone this week as it publishes its 100th edition.

The award-winning DC Thomson title was launched in October 2014 and has since sold over two million copies worldwide.

To mark the occasion, this month’s issue (published on August 17) comes packaged in a special edition card box containing 12 gamer goodies inside, and counts down the top 100 gaming legends of all time, as chosen by the 110% Gaming team.

Sarah-Jane Crawford, content editor of 110% Gaming, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have reached this milestone. Our goal has always been to provide a magazine that children find fun, informative and up-to-the-minute.

“We’re always striving to celebrate and promote the positivity of children’s gaming, especially in terms of supporting imaginative development, positive mental health, storytelling, and creativity.

“This is especially important, considering the difficult time children and families have endured in recent years. Knowing that kids are finding such enjoyment in 110% Gaming makes us very thankful.

“The fact that a print edition of a digital medium has done so well might sound surprising, but feedback from our readers shows that they love having the mag open to refer to whilst playing their games, which makes so much sense!”

Gareth Whelan, Head of Children’s Publishing, said: “As someone who launched this title as editor back in 2014, I’m delighted that it continues to appeal to kids and their parents in the UK and beyond.

“Gaming has continued to grow in popularity since the launch and the magazine has evolved its content over the years to reflect the rising popularity of YouTubers and female gamers as well as the diversification of gaming platforms.

“There remains great potential to grow the brand further and I look forward to seeing how that growth develops as we move forward.”

110% Gaming has been going from strength to strength with an average sale over the last 12 issues of over 21,000. In 2021 it was named Consumer Magazine of the Year at the Scottish PPA awards. In the last financial year retail sales values significantly outperformed the sector.

110% Gaming

Findmypast and Code First Girls announce new partnership

Findmypast, the technology-driven genealogy subscription service, has announced a new strategic partnership with Code First Girls (CFG), a UK-based social enterprise that provides technology training for women, to help tackle the UK’s gender gap in technology skills.

Through the partnership, Findmypast – part of DC Thomson, will fund six women on three-month CFG Degrees. Findmypast will also be providing further funding for 135 candidates with places on the eight-week CFG Kickstarter developer course, which helps students learn the fundamentals of programming.

Whilst there have been some meaningful inroads in recent years, the pandemic has had a regressive effect on gender representation in the workplace. Only 24% of individuals in UK STEM roles are female, meaning women are still severely under-represented in the sector.

Findmypast and Code First Girls are both dedicated to encouraging more women to pursue a career in tech and the strategic partnership will support Findmypast’s diversity and inclusion working group in its efforts to create an inclusive environment.

Findmypast has an encouraging 60:40 female representation at executive level, but the business recognises that there is still more work to be done to balance gender representation throughout the rest of the workforce. This partnership is central to Findmypast’s strategic action plan and is one of many initiatives aimed at driving the necessary change within the business.

Tamsin Todd, CEO, Findmypast, said: “We’re delighted to announce our new partnership with Code First Girls as part of our commitment to support more women entering the tech industry. It is critically important at a time when women’s careers have been particularly hampered by the pandemic that we continue to create the conditions for women to thrive in tech companies. While there is still much more work to be done, I am looking forward to working with Code First Girls to bring more women to the sector.”


Beano partnerships helping kids navigate modern life

The team at Beano have brought their expertise in communicating to kids and engaging with them to two partnerships this summer, to help young people manage money and stay safe online.

In late July, international footballer and author Marcus Rashford became guest editor of the world’s longest running comic. As well as appearing on the cover, Marcus penned the editor’s letter and featured in strips across the magazine.

The guest editorship is part of NatWest’s financial education programme Thrive, which the bank launched with the footballer earlier this year to improve money confidence in young people.

20p from the sale of every comic will also be donated to the Marcus Rashford Book Club, created in partnership with the National Literacy Trust and Macmillan Children’s Books.

The front cover of the special Beano sees Marcus in cartoon form wearing a Beano Editor’s t-shirt, with Dennis and Minnie either side of him. Marcus also appears with The Bash Street Kids, Billy Whizz and Bananaman and even creates his own prank as part of Harsha’s Prank Academy.

In Marcus’ editor’s letter, he told readers: “My favourite thing about Beano is how the comic brings together all sorts of different children. Instead of our differences dividing us, we embrace them here, and we find strength in them. We should be celebrating all things that make each of us unique.”

Then, in early August, to help parents learn how to support and educate their children on safe phone usage, Beano partnered with EE in a licensed promotional partnership to launch a specially created Beano comic strip starring iconic characters.

In the strip, Mrs Menace and Dennis showcased the potential perils of the online world, and provided parents with tips to ensure their kids stay safe and are kind online.

The comic strip shows Dennis picking up his first phone before getting into some characteristic scrapes by making prank calls, uploading a video of his cousin Minnie without her consent and downloading age-inappropriate apps – all of which can occur without the correct guidance.

Beano Studios’ franchise planning and partnerships director, Vanessa Andreis, developed the partnerships with NatWest and EE. She said: “Our work with NatWest is a first of its kind, combining both Beano’s ability to engage families through the bespoke strip and presence across the many brand touchpoints. This special issue is just the start of our partnership with much more fun to come.

“Likewise, the EE campaign harnesses Beano’s multi-generational appeal and decades of engaging and communicating to kids to deliver essential tips and tricks about the online world to families. We look forward to seeing the campaign across the UK and are proud to be part of this very worthwhile initiative”

To see more about the NatWest and Beano collaboration, visit
To find out more about the EE and Beano campaign and see the comic strip, visit

Beano recognised for diversity and inclusion at PPA Awards

After a conscious effort to ensure every kid sees themselves in the comic, Beano has been awarded this year’s Diversity & Inclusion prize at the Professional Publishers Association Awards.

Judges were impressed that the magazine had drawn on research and expert advice to deliver changes which they said were ‘appropriate, immediate and lasting, ultimately altering the experience for readers’.

Judges also commented that the magazine’s ‘genuine commitment to make significant change at a fast pace is something to be admired’.

Changes to the magazine were driven by the recognition that while Beano was more diverse and inclusive, constant evolution was needed to always reflect modern Britain.

Beano used data from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education as its guide, and worked with the charity Inclusive Minds who connect publishers with ambassadors from minority communities who share relevant lived experience.

In 2021, with CLPE and Inclusive Minds’ help, Beano added two new pupils to Mr Teacher’s rowdy Bash Street School register, with a further three in spring 2022. Mahira, Mandi, Harsha, Khadija and Stevie are all minority-ethnic Beano title characters who star in their own strips, but they are also the first permanent additions to Class 2B in over fifty years.

Also, to continue to create authentic stories, Beano is seeking out new talent, working on a mentoring/internship with CLPE and City University in London, whose Journalism course is noted for its strong intake from under-represented communities.

Rebecca Miskin, CEO of DC Thomson’s media portfolio said: “The team at Beano has done essential work, not only in recognising that the comic needed to change to better reflect Britain today, but by doing it in the right way. By building a story-world that reflects its readers’ realities, it encourages everyone to tell diverse and inclusive stories.

“Diversity of thought, background and culture is not just encouraged, but expected. This is a journey that is fundamental to our vision for the future across DC Thomson.”

Global recognition for DC Thomson news brands

DC Thomson has been recognised in a major international award this week, for the work the company does in taking creative approaches, based on insight, to develop its news brands.

The International News Media Association (INMA) Global Media Awards took place in New York yesterday with The Press and Journal winning first place in the ‘Best Brand Awareness Campaign’ category for its ongoing project ‘Every Story Starts With You’.

It won against shortlisted campaigns from Bladet Nordlys (Norway), Göteborgs-Posten (Sweden), Kleine Zeitung (Austria), Maharashtra Times (India) and Nine (Australia).

The Courier picked up second place in ‘Best Idea to Encourage Reader Engagement’ for its Personalised Subscriber Email Updates.

Led by Carly Gilchrist and Graham McDougall, the P&J’s brand awareness campaign put real Aberdeen people, businesses and its journalists front and centre to mark its move to a digital-first news provider.

The campaign revealed a new proposition for the news brand, “Every Story Starts With You”, which underlines the title’s dedication to telling the stories of Aberdeen’s people and serving them with quality local news.

Campaign channels included out of home (bus stops and bus panels), paid social media (including video content), onsite messaging, radio, print ads and PR.

In making the award, judges said the P&J’s campaign, was an “Excellent example of an audience-first campaign, a simple message that yielded fantastic results and an impressive increase in brand recognition”.

The Courier’s email project was developed by Alison Wallace and Katrina Edginton, and aimed to use readers’ habits to shape personalised emails and drive engagement.

The daily subscriber email is completely personalised to individuals and signposts ten news articles which are tuned to the user’s reading habits.

The approach proved successful, with those receiving the personalised email showing a significantly higher engagement level than those who hadn’t. The personalised emails have now been fully integrated into subscriber emails and are used as a benefit for those signing up.

Tom Miller, DC Thomson’s chief transformation officer has been working with the news brands over the last year to grow their audiences. He said: “I’m delighted with these nods from INMA as I believe they speak to our commitment to serving our local communities, both through putting readers and their needs at the heart of all we do on top of our continued investment in data, insight and marketing capabilities. We get better every day at serving the stories people want, when and where they want them.”

Read more about the campaigns below:

The Press and Journal’s Brand Awareness Campaign

The Courier’s Personalised Email Project

The Courier launches pioneering daily audio news briefing

DC Thomson news brand The Courier has launched what it believes to be a first for a UK regional news brand: a daily audio news briefing. Continue reading “The Courier launches pioneering daily audio news briefing”

The Courier releases first ever investigative documentary

The Courier’s investigations team this week releases documentary ‘A Short Walk Home: The Disappearance of Allan Bryant Jnr’, a deep-dive examination of how a Fife man came to vanish without trace over eight years ago. Continue reading “The Courier releases first ever investigative documentary”

DC Thomson launches innovative new recruitment programme

A new approach for DC Thomson recruitment has launched, the first step in evolving the way people are brought into the company.

Responding to the ever-changing job market and the company’s ongoing transformation strategy, DC Thomson Pathways takes a creative approach to recruitment. The programme is giving the company access to people (particularly in software engineering and insight roles) to help grow skills and improve diversity and inclusion.

DC Thomson Pathways is running as a pilot programme for positions within the Product & Technology (P&T) and Insights, Data & Audience (IDA) teams, looking beyond the traditional recruitment market process.

For the pilot, the company is working with digital skills academy CodeClan and career break specialists Women Returners to bring talent into the business, potentially recruiting 20 colleagues in the first year of the programme.

Roles include software engineers, data analysts, UX/UI designers, project analysts and product owners.

Once with the company, new employees will be supported with a coaching programme created especially for their cohort, buddy system and a learning-led culture.

DC Thomson director David Thomson said: “The strength of DC Thomson is our people. Over the company’s 117-year history, our strategy has always been about seeking out the best people and helping them grow.

“We have ambitious growth plans and a huge part in achieving them is having the right people with us. The Pathways programme is a crucial part of that journey.”

Those interested in joining the DC Thomson Pathways programme can find out more by contacting CodeClan or Women Returners.

Sunday Post journalist praised at Scottish Parliament on World Press Freedom Day

The work of The Sunday Post’s chief reporter Marion Scott was hailed at the Scottish Parliament yesterday as politicians marked World Press Freedom Day.

Russell Findlay MSP, who opened a special debate at Holyrood, spoke of the continuing importance of journalism but said its ability to hold power to account was in jeopardy as those in authority increasingly attempt to deflect scrutiny.

He continued: “Thank goodness then for people like Marion Scott, chief reporter of the Sunday Post newspaper. She embodies the best of journalism, compassionate, fearless and giving a voice to the marginalised.”

Marion, a former Scottish Journalist of the Year, has won many awards for her campaigning and investigative reporting during a career that has exposed a series of scandals and miscarriages of justice.

Praising her extraordinary track record, Findlay, a former journalist, said Marion’s work “has changed countless lives and challenges the powerful. The hard truths she uncovers can be awkward and uncomfortable, just as they should be.

“Marion does not seek praise and will likely give me an absolute doing for embarrassing her and anyone who has ever met her will know I am not joking.”

The MSP’s praise for her work was echoed by Jim Wilson, editor at The Sunday Post, said: “Marion has been one of Scotland’s most skilled and committed reporters for many years but her kind of talent and tenacity is needed now more than ever.

“She is everything that a journalist should be and it was fitting for that to be recognised in the Scottish Parliament on World Press Freedom Day.”

The tribute in the Scottish Parliament came only days after Marion had visited Holyrood, accompanying the family of Louise Aitchison after revealing how police failures had preceded her murder by a man with a history of violence against women. Her family spoke to MSPs of all parties as The Post continues to campaign for an urgent Fatal Accident Inquiry.

Trio of award wins for DC Thomson podcasts as million milestone reached

Podcasts produced by DC Thomson have taken three prizes in this year’s Publisher Podcast Awards with Energy Voice Out LoudAuthor in Your Classroom and the Bunkered Golf Podcast all winning their categories. The awards come as the company marks the milestone of reaching a million downloads since it started podcasting in 2019.

Winning Best B2B Podcast, Energy Voice Out Loud leads the conversation in the energy sector and introduces a significant new revenue stream through a mix of standard sponsorship advertising and, more significantly, through producing native content for clients such as NatWest and Ernst & Young.

Author in Your Classroom won the Best Books & Literature Podcast and introduces young people, their teachers, parents and carers to Aceville’s Plazoom platform with some of the world’s best children’s writers such as Cressida Cowell, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo. Each episode is supported with a free resource pack on Plazoom, giving a taster of the subscription product.

The Bunkered Golf Podcast takes ‘Best Sport Podcast’ for a second year in a row, and was praised by judges for the show’s “irreverence and repartee between the hosts” which they said “kept the subject matter fresh and interesting, even to listeners with little knowledge”.

DC Thomson came first equal in this year’s awards with the number of wins it achieved.

The company produces podcasts on themes as diverse as wind energy, potatoes and football. This month it passed the milestone of having its podcasts downloaded more than a million times since it first began podcasting in 2019. In 2021 alone, the company’s podcasts were downloaded 518,000 times, almost double the number of downloads in 2020 (299,000).

According to Christopher Phin, DC Thomson’s head of podcasts, the company is in the top few percent of podcasters worldwide. “Our journalists are learning new skills and finding ways to get closer to their audiences,” he says.

For Christopher, one of the most significant learnings is that while audience growth can be slow, once they’ve started listening, engagement levels (primarily how much of a podcast is listened to) are high. Cross marketing of podcasts across DC Thomson brands has also been shown to increase growth of listeners.

“We’re building momentum and ensuring that commercial thinking is baked into the very beginning of new show development. It’s been a phenomenal year of growth and experimentation,” he says, “and it feels like we’re still just getting started.”

DC Thomson Podcast portfolio:  

Gardening podcast The Dirt from Grow Your Own magazine is one of the most listened to programmes, designed to keep listeners company when they’re pottering on their allotment or veg patch while Health & Wellbeing magazine’s Walk To Wellbeing invites listeners to join celebrities on their favourite walks.

Football is covered in three podcasts with over a hundred episodes each. Twa Teams, One Street is where the Evening Telegraph sports team share their obsessions about the two Dundee teams, The Courier sports writers can be found on the Talking Football podcast, and The Press and Journal and Evening Express sports desks are behind Northern Goal.

The Bunkered Golf Podcast discusses the latest big talking points from across the game with ‘plenty of opinions and absolutely zero fluff’.

Out Loud from Energy Voice offers up news, analysis, and expert insight from across the oil, gas and renewable energy sectors, and The Global Franchise covers off news from the team at the magazine of the same name. Political commentators from The Courier, The Press and Journal, the Evening Telegraph and the Evening Express come together for political insights and analysis with a Scottish focus on The Stooshie.

The People’s Friend team delve into their 153-year archives in Reading Between the Lines, the My Weekly Magical Flying Bookshop is a feelgood fiction podcast, and Author in Your Classroom features advice and inspiration from some of the world’s best children’s writers.

An additional podcast, Pass it On from the Sunday Post, shares household tips from the 1950s. Although the programme is on an extended break and didn’t release new episodes in 2021 this evergreen content is still being listened to.

Pilot episodes for a number of other DC Thomson brands have been recorded, and are expected to go live in the coming months.

Partnership between The Sunday Post and Bloomsbury highlights male violence against women and girls

Scotland’s MSPs and most senior law officers have been sent a life-saving book illuminating male violence against women and girls in a landmark partnership between The Sunday Post and publishers Bloomsbury.

The book, In Control: Dangerous Relationships and How They End in Murder by leading criminologist Professor Jane Monckton Smith details eight escalating stages of coercive behaviour. Professor Monckton Smith has previously contributed to Shaming, The Post’s acclaimed campaign calling for a seachange in how violence against women and girls is investigated and prosecuted and now, in an innovative partnership between The Post and Bloomsbury, her book has been sent to all 129 MSPs and Scotland’s most senior law officers, the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General.

Each year for the last five years, at least 13 women have been killed in Scotland with around half of those recognised as victims of previous abuse but Professor Monckton Smith, one of the UK’s leading experts in domestic violence, says up to 80 other deaths, including some where women have taken their own lives, may be linked to domestic abuse and many could be prevented.

She told The Post: “These men do not suddenly snap. There is a clear pattern. The men can be stopped. Women can be saved.”

After receiving her copy, Pam Duncan-Glancy MSP told the newspaper of her shock at the research revealing how failures to recognise repeating patterns in the behaviour of violent men are allowing them to escape justice and failing victims. She is now among MSPs calling for fundamental change.

Chief reporter, Marion Scott, who has led The Post’s acclaimed campaign, said: “This is an important book exposing how male violence is still misunderstood by far too many police officers and prosecutors. We were delighted to work with Bloomsbury to ensure our MSPs and senior law officers received a copy to raise awareness of these identifiable patterns of behaviour and help ensure women and girls are better protected.”

YouTube tops 50 Coolest Brands poll from Beano Brain

Beano Brain, the award-winning specialist kids and family insights agency from Beano Studios, has this week revealed what the coolest brands are for the UK’s 7-14 year-olds.

Born from decades of experience with kids, Beano Brain helps companies build their own connections with families using its unparalleled knowledge of Gen Alpha, Gen Z and their Millennial parents.

Beano Brain’s bespoke consulting solutions help brands stay ahead of trends and prepare for the future by using the power of big data and pairing millions of proprietary data points with rich, qualitative panels.

YouTube is number one in the 50 Coolest Brands for Kids & Teens with Netflix, McDonald’s, Amazon and Disney making up the rest of the top 5 according to the survey of 30,000 7-14 year olds.

This is the first year the survey has been carried out but it will be repeated annually to help brands understand how to interact with young people and their families.

There were some notable gender differences, with social brands such as TikTok firmly in the top 10 for girls and gaming brands Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox featuring in the top 10 for boys.

There are no UK brands in the top 10. The highest rating UK brands are: Harry Potter (11), Costa Coffee (32), BBC (42), Sports Direct (45), JD Sports (46), Times Table Rock Stars (48), and Argos (49).

The Beano Brain team spent a year talking to kids and teens about their likes and dislikes and observing the brands kids are wearing, chatting about and coveting, before testing their findings with the Beano Brain omnibus panel of 30,000 youngsters.

The 50 Coolest Brands come from a variety of sectors spanning gaming, social media, retail, entertainment, hospitality and more, and reflect Gen Alpha’s increasing levels of discernment and their desire to interact both online and offline.

According to Helenor Gilmour, Director of Insight, Beano Brain, Generation Alpha (those born in or after 2010) have both high expectations and benchmarks for the brands they have in their lives.

They expect depth and breadth of content, full integration across multiple platforms and next day delivery as standard. They also expect to see a sense of guardianship of the planet and giving back alongside innovation and safety protocols.

To really stand out for youngsters – and make it into the 50 Coolest Brands ranking – brands need to help Generation Alpha ‘fit in’, yet also express their individuality.

Brands score highly if they embrace and listen to their creator communities, helping them build autonomy and independence while respecting their intelligence by not talking down to them.  Kids like brands that allow them to discover safely without skills barriers, give them a sense of aspiration and let them succeed quickly and then build expertise. Brands that allow shared experiences with family or friends are also valued.

Helenor said: “YouTube is the No.1 Cool Brand; the reigning king of the social media world and the go-to place for kids looking for expert advice. It has a winning formula of being perceived as friendlier and safer than other platforms.

“If kids want to learn how to do something, they turn to YouTube – the expert they know and trust – and it’s this that allows the platform to stand firm against the onslaught of TikTok.”

She added: “So often we forget that increasingly kids and young people are navigating their way through a world designed by and around adults. Brands that make them feel safe, welcomed and valued stand out for Gen Alpha, and with this generation’s predisposition for nostalgia and a mix of old and new, this suggests that those brands who get the balance right now will be nurturing lifelong fans.”

Beano Brain Managing Director of Commercial Insight, Pete Maginn, added: “There are two questions that I am repeatedly asked by clients: ‘which brands do kids really love at the moment?’ and ‘what can we learn about these brands to make our own as appealing and successful?’.

“The 50 Coolest Brands answers the first question with its mix of expected brands – YouTube, Disney, LEGO etc – up next to perhaps surprising entrants like Apple, Starbucks and WhatsApp, which undoubtedly play an important part in Gen Alpha’s lives and are well liked.

“In answer to the second question, Beano Brain has identified the criteria that drive brand love from kids and have brought these to life with robust data directly from kids, rather than filtered by parents.

“It’s crucial for business stakeholders, no matter how senior, to listen and see what kids truly like, do and say in order to make smart, informed decisions.”


More information on the brands and a free copy of the Top 50 Coolest Brands book can be requested at

Welcoming Ukrainian refugees to our communities

DC Thomson’s news brands will this week give away thousands of posters depicting the Ukrainian flag, as a symbol of solidarity with refugees fleeing war.

Around 160,000 flag posters have been printed, showing the Ukrainian flag and a dove of peace. The posters are being inserted into The Courier, The Press and Journal, Evening Telegraph and Evening Express on Friday March 25, and The Sunday Post on Sunday March 27.

The idea for the posters came from the newspaper production team at DC Thomson’s Kingsway site in Dundee. It is hoped that readers will put them in their windows as a symbol to welcome refugees to their towns and cities.

This is the first time in recent memory that DC Thomson has produced a large-scale poster like this for a cause.

Posters are double sided and fold out to be slightly larger than A2. The main flag side shows the Ukrainian flag with a peace dove and the words ‘peace not war’. When folded up, the poster is designed to be placed in smaller windows and shows the peace dove, with the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Guy Forester, head of operations for newspaper production, leads the team who came up with the project. He said: “The war in the Ukraine is at the forefront of everyone’s minds just now. You give what you can to charity but we wanted to do something to welcome people to Scotland. To come to a new city, escaping the horrors of war must be terrifying. We thought if you arrive in a city and see hundreds of Ukrainian flags in the windows of people’s homes, cars and businesses that it might move you and show that people care.”

Success for innovative new training scheme

An innovative Dundee-based project designed to give pupils the chance to train for the workplace while still at school is set to expand beyond its pilot stage and move into the mainstream.

Supported by DC Thomson and the Northwood Charitable Trust, the Future Skills College project began in 2017 after a study was commissioned on what could be done to help young people – especially those facing challenges – to move from education to employment.

The scheme gives senior pupils an opportunity to try out a potential career before committing to a full apprenticeship. It also allows them to combine college training and work placements while remaining on the school roll to continue with core curriculum subjects including literacy, numeracy and IT.

After a five-year trial, seed funded by the Northwood Charitable Trust, it has now been adopted by Dundee City Council and Dundee and Angus College as a core course offering for senior phase pupils in Dundee. Training will begin for a new cohort later this year in plumbing, electrical, joinery and early education and childcare.

Although at college, pupils remain on the school roll meaning they and their families can, if eligible, still access child benefit, education maintenance allowance and free school meals.

Ben Gray, director at DC Thomson and chairman of the FSC Trust, hopes it can be extended beyond Dundee.

He said: “It is a model that’s easily replicated. There are lots of other places across Scotland where this could make a difference.

“We’ve seen kids taking part in this really getting the bit between the teeth and reaching positive destinations. It means they can actually take control of their lives and that’s wonderful.”


What do students get from FSC?

As well as training in the college workshop, 16-year-old Leo Cura (above right) is taking the first steps towards a career as a plumber and spends a day each week working with building services firm McGill.

He said: “You learn most of the hands-on skills while you are working with the company and the knowledge side at college.”

Leo was considering his options for S5 at Grove Academy when a teacher told him about FSC.

He said: “Some people go straight into an apprenticeship without any practice but if you do this course before you go with a company you learn a lot of the skills so you are not getting thrown in at the deep end.”


What do graduates get from FSC?

Former Baldragon Academy pupil Jack Menzies (above), 18, is now an apprentice electrician with Dundee City Council, having completed his FSC course.

He pondered staying on for S6 but knew he wanted to become an electrician and saw the FSC as the right path to take.

He said: “For me it was a no brainer and it definitely helped me 100%.

“If you are going down the trade journey, whether it’s as a joiner, painter, decorator, Future Skills College is definitely the thing to do because it gives you the basics in what you need.

“You know what you are going into.”


What do employers get from FSC?

One employer which has taken on several apprentices after FSC work placements is Dundee-based Care Electrical Contractors.

Lee Mulholland, contracts manager, said: “It’s worked really well for us and a lot of the pupils that go through it end up getting jobs.

“FSC gives them a start because they’ve learned at college then they come to us on a day release and are picking up bits and pieces.

“I would definitely recommend it. It gives them a stepping stone to get in.”