Success at the Newspaper and Magazine Awards

Our Beano and Puzzler teams were celebrating this week after their success at the 2024 Newspaper and Magazine Awards (NMAs).

Organised by the Association of Circulation Executives (ACE), the awards bring the industry together to showcase and celebrate the success stories from the previous year.

In total, DC Thomson received nominations across five categories, being shortlisted for the overall Newsstand Team of the Year as well as nominations for our news brands, The Courier, The Press and Journal and the Evening Express.

Beano won the Magazine Newsstand Campaign of The Year. To celebrate Beano’s 85th anniversary, the team developed a summer-long campaign focussed on the special birthday edition of the comic. Crammed full of kids’ favourite celebrities and a special wraparound cover featuring the likes of The King & Queen, Harry Styles and Ant & Dec it was also supported by the biggest Beano retail marketing campaign in years with vibrant and colourful point-of-sale materials, creating theatre and standing-out in stores across the country.

And the NMA for Newsstand Magazine of The Year (Children’s) was awarded to Puzzler for its Kids’ Collection, a magazine designed especially for children as a great introduction to the joy of puzzles and mental agility. Both Puzzler and Beano teams were in attendance at the ceremony in London to collect their awards (pictured above).

Speaking ahead of the awards ceremony, Neil Mackland, head of newspaper sales and marketing, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted in a number of categories at the NMAs this year. It’s particularly gratifying to see our collaborative efforts highlighted, as the DC Thomson newsstand team’s combined entry for Team of the Year showcased the exceptional teamwork and synergy across our newspapers, magazine, and Puzzler teams.

“As a small but multitalented team, we feed into various aspects of the business including editorial, advertising, radio, events and production, helping to make numerous projects a reality.  Thank you to everyone who helped get us nominated”.

Beano reveals Britain’s Funniest Class 2024

Year 6 from Northside Primary School in North Finchley, London has been crowned Britain’s funniest with their winning gag: “What’s the hottest area in the classroom? The corner because it’s 90 degrees!”

Jokes poured in from across the country, with hundreds of applicants submitting their entries.

Beano’s chief gag makers whittled the wittiest submissions down to their favourite ten, which went forward to the public to decide.

Northside Primary School emerged victorious, securing 42% of the overall vote.

The class alongside their teacher have won the ultimate prize of being immortalised in a Bash Street Kids comic strip by Beano artist Nigel Parkinson. It will be the first time in the comic strip’s history that a whole class of real-life children will be immortalised in the pages of a Bash Street Kids story.

Mike Stirling, Director of Mischief at Beano said: “Britain’s Funniest Class is a celebration of the brilliant benefits of laughter at school, for pupils and teachers alike. Year Six, Northside Primary School found the funniest angle overall, and are deservedly now immortalised in Beanotown, but every entry gave us a great laugh. It’s been our most popular Britain’s Funniest Class contest yet, so laughter’s getting louder in schools nationwide. Result!”

The initiative, now in its sixth year championing the comedians of the future, aims to encourage confidence and wellbeing in the classroom. Beano has partnered with charity Place2Be to bring fun, free, resources to the classroom to tackle the growing issue of children’s mental health. In a first for Beano, the comic also launched a search for Britain’s Funniest Teacher, recognising the influence educators have on the creativity and humour in the classroom.

Northside Primary School’s Sarah Crouchley, crowned Britain’s Funniest Teacher said: “Beano’s Britain’s Funniest Class competition is such a great way to inspire creativity and innovation amongst children. Classrooms should be filled with laughter and learning, so thank you to Beano for allowing us to share our silly antics across the country. I speak for my whole class when I say we are buzzing to be joining The Bash Street Kids on the pages of their latest issue.”

The winning school also received the official Beano ‘Britain’s Funniest Class’ trophy, coveted Golden Gnasher Badges, comic subscriptions for the whole class and their school library, a trip to a Gulliver’s theme park of their choice, plus a visit from the Bash Street school bus, which delivered the prize haul. The bus is set to tour the remaining top 10 schools in June.

Competition was fierce throughout the campaign, with “When is a t-rex not a t-rex? When it is a coffee-rex” and “How did bees get to school? They took the buuuuussssss” amongst the runners up pipped to the post.

Original 106 Achieves Record Breaking Listening Figures

Original 106 is celebrating a landmark achievement as the latest RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) figures confirm the station as the market leader in the North East of Scotland.

The station’s reach and hours have increased both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year, reinforcing its position as the preferred choice for local listeners.

With an impressive market share of 15.8%, DC Thomson-owned Original 106 outperforms both local commercial brands and national networks with a reach of 97,000. Listeners are tuning in longer than ever, with an industry-leading average listening time of 10.2 hours per day.

Robin Galloway, group head of presentation, expressed his excitement over the record-breaking numbers. “This is a great day for Original 106 with its best set of listening figures ever. This is testimony to the talented on-air presenters, their amazing work ethic and an unrivalled team spirit. Local radio is thriving at DC Thomson.”

Robin added: “At Original 106, our commitment to our local communities is at the core of everything we do. We pride ourselves on delivering content that is not only entertaining but also deeply relevant to the lives of our listeners. From hourly news bulletins that cover local issues to supporting regional events and initiatives, we strive to be a true reflection of the vibrant North East community.

“Our success is a testament to the strong bond we share with our audience, and we remain dedicated to serving our communities and engaging with local listeners every single day.”

Original 106 is accessible on FM, DAB, via app, and on smart speakers, ensuring that the station remains at the heart of the community.

For more information, visit www.originalfm.com

The bunkered Podcast has hit a monumental milestone by officially passing one million total downloads.

Launched in August 2020, the multi-award-winning podcast has further cemented itself as the No.1 golf media podcast in the UK – attracting a loyal and rapidly growing fanbase in the process – by reaching one million downloads.

With new episodes every week, The bunkered Podcast has featured guest appearances from some of the biggest names in the game, from Greg Norman, Jose Maria Olazabal and Gary Player, to Colin Montgomerie, Luke Donald and Paige Spiranac.

It is currently on a streak of 18 consecutive months of double-digit year-on-year growth and has racked up listeners in more than 150 different countries.

Bryce Ritchie, bunkered Editor, said: “Reaching one million downloads is a ringing endorsement that we’re on the right path. We’ve never moved away from our core week-to-week structure, so people know what to expect. That’s not to say we won’t change things up going forward, but our success with our audience comes from sticking to our guns and doing what we wanted to do.

“Particular kudos must go to Michael McEwan, our Deputy Editor, for his hosting duties and bringing the podcast to life on a weekly basis. Michael invests a lot of time and energy bringing in guests and deciding what we’re going to argue about.

“There is much more to come and we have plans to evolve, which we will reveal soon, but that’s all further down the line. Lastly, I’d like to thank all our guests for coming on the show, our sponsor Callaway Golf for their immense support and our regular listeners. Without our audience, we’re just talking into a void.”

Michael McEwan, bunkered Deputy Editor, added: “What started off as an innocuous lockdown discussion – ‘Maybe we could launch a podcast?’ – has quickly become the most successful brand extension in bunkered’s long history.

“There are a number of reasons for that but the biggest, I think, is because it’s made by people who have a genuine passion for golf. We might not always get things right and we seldom all agree but we have a genuine love for the sport.

“It’s incredible to see how far the podcast has come and it’s remarkable to think it has been downloaded a million times and counting. However, we see this as very much the beginning. We have, as Bryce said, big plans to expand and evolve, so watch this space.”

This milestone continues excellent momentum for the bunkered brand.

In November 2023, bunkered magazine was crowned ‘Consumer Title of the Year’ at the 2023 PPA Awards, whilst bunkered.co.uk recently completed a transformative re-platforming. This has unlocked the site’s full potential and now provides enhanced benefits for both users and advertisers.

The continued investment behind the scenes – including the expansion of the editorial team and re-platforming of the website – has resulted in users being up 50% worldwide year on year, and up 25% in the UK. April was also the best-ever month for users in bunkered.co.uk history, with the two key content pillars – golf news and equipment – up by more than 70% and 300%, respectively.

The bunkered Podcast is available on all major podcast platforms, as well as the revamped bunkered website, the go-to for golf news, gear, instruction, videos, opinions and much more.

Guide Dogs partner with Beano to create better understanding of the impact of sight loss

Guide Dogs has partnered with Beano to create a bespoke story available in this week’s issue of the Beano comic. The partnership hopes to raise awareness of children and young people with visual impairments as well as the services Guide Dogs offer to help people with sight loss have the confidence and support they need to live their lives to the fullest. Alongside the bespoke comic strip, the collaboration sees the very first audio comic strip story created especially for people with visual impairments, making ‘BEANO Presents – A Buddy for Life’ fully accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Available digitally and in print from 1st May, the special Guide Dogs comic strip story sees Beano’s beloved character Erbert, announce his recent sight loss diagnosis to his friends for the very first time, after meeting a guide dog owner at the Bash Street School. The iconic characters subsequently take a trip to the Guide Dogs National Centre, to find out more about the support the charity provides to adults and children with sight loss.

To make the comic strip story even more special, buddy dog owner Alex McQueen age 7 along with his buddy dog Chance and guide dog owner Hester Poole aged 16 with her guide dog Pickle, have been ‘Beanofied’ and appear as their very own characters in the bespoke comic strip story pullout.  Both Alex and Hester have been supported by Guide Dogs over the years so they can live actively and independently

Each year, over 1,400 families are told that their child is losing their sight which can be a challenging and isolating time. With four in five (83%) adults with sight loss admitting they were bullied as children, Guide Dogs has partnered with Beano to raise awareness of the impact sight loss can have on a child or young person. The bespoke comic strip story hopes to help encourage young people to be more accepting and kind to those with visual impairments.

Alex’s mother, Lindsey McQueen said, “For Alex and Chance to be turned into comic characters in Beano is extremely exciting for him and all the family. Not just because he will be appearing in the comic, but because he is excited to show off Chance to the world. Guide Dogs has been supporting Alex since he was four years old and changed his life when Chance the buddy dog came home in 2022. They have a special bond that has helped both practically with Alex’s visual impairment but also with his confidence and given him a best friend.”

Since 2012, Guide Dogs has run the Buddy Dog service, matching children who are blind or partially sighted with dogs to help them develop their self-confidence, make friends and positively impact their wellbeing. Buddy dogs are dogs that are deemed to be more suited to living with a young person and their family than working as guide dogs and their presence can bring about transformative positive effects.

Beano and Guide Dogs’ collaboration sees the first audio comic strip story created especially for people with visual impairments. ‘BEANO Presents – A Buddy for Life’ will be available as a comic strip story, an audio comic story and as an adaptable digital comic story with a dyslexia-friendly typeface to make it fully accessible to all. The comic strip story will also be available to download as a panel-by-panel pdf, a more adaptable option for readers using digital devices allowing for screen magnification and larger fonts.

For Craig Graham, Editorial Director at Beano Studios, the partnership has been extremely meaningful as someone on their own journey with sight loss.

Craig said, “At Beano, it’s important to us to reflect kids’ experiences and help them navigate life with the fun and mischief that all kids should get to enjoy. ‘BEANO Presents – A Buddy for Life’ has given us the opportunity to talk at length about sight loss, which has been a particularly special project for me as someone who has a visual impairment. We hope that this special Guide Dogs comic story brings joy to kids, whilst also helping them understand more about sight loss, how to be there for their friends and highlights the services available to kids and young people that Guide Dogs offer.”

Alex Pepper, Head of Accessibility at Guide Dogs, said, “Our partnership with Beano will help children learn more about visual impairments and the various services Guide Dogs offers in a fun yet educational way. With Erbert opening up about his visual impairment to the Bash Street Kids for the very first time, we hope to encourage people to feel more comfortable sharing their sight loss experience.

“We aim to raise awareness of sight loss through our fully accessible bespoke comic strip story, which includes a first-of-its-kind audio version that enables everyone to enjoy and access the content across multiple formats. We hope to normalise these conversations so young people can better understand how to be inclusive and supportive of everyone.”

The special comic strip story is available as an insert in Beano issue out 1st May. To listen to Beano’s first audio-comic strip story and find out more information about Guide Dog user Hester and buddy dog owner Alex, visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/beano/.

DC Thomson data journalism team scoops international media award

DC Thomson’s data journalism team has won an international media award for its investigation into the health of Scotland’s city centres.

The team was awarded the Best Data Visualisation award at the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Awards Europe 2024, honouring European news publishers whose projects and products showcase creativity, inspiration, and service to their readers.

WAN-IFRA recognised DC Thomson for its community mapping project featured in The Courier and The Press and Journal.

With many businesses in Scotland’s city centres coping with a new shopping world – a world that has dealt with lockdown and continues to experience issues such as rising fuel costs, inflation, and the constant fight with online giants – the data journalism team decided to investigate the health of high streets in Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness and Perth. They then meticulously examined nearly 2,000 units across these cities through in-person visits to provide authentic and up-to-date data for their interactive high street trackers.

They found that on average, these cities’ high streets have a vacancy rate of 17.28% and shopping centres sit with just under a fifth of units vacant (19.91%).

The team keep track of the changes to these streets and shopping centres long term and produces regular reports on the changing state of shopping districts, keeping their fingers on the pulse of the city centre economies.

The project’s comprehensive approach, which combined structured data with compelling visualisations and empathetic storytelling, earned praise from the WAN-IFRA judges. They commended the team for their ability to transform data into engaging narratives that resonate with local communities.

The judges commented: “This project is a great example of data journalism for local newspapers. Data visualisation formats are varied and well done. DC Thomson was able to offer the same approach in several cities and managed to combine this data with human stories. It’s proof that newsrooms can produce structured data, turn it into engaging visualisations as well as transform it into empathic stories.”

Lesley-Anne Kelly, head of data journalism at DC Thomson added: “We were up against some really serious, hard-hitting journalism in these awards so to say we’re in shock is an understatement. This project involved a lot of manual data gathering by the team, so we’re thrilled to get some recognition for it.

The data team, Lesley-Anne Kelly, Emma Morrice and Ema Sabljak, will now go forward to the 2024 Digital Media World Awards competing against winners from other continents.

You can see all the other winners here.

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

DC Thomson receives five nominations at the 2024 ACE NMAs 

DC Thomson has been shortlisted across five categories at the 2024 Newspaper and Magazine Awards (ACE NMAs). 

The NMAs allow the publishing industry to come together, showcase and celebrate the many success stories that have emerged in the last 12 months. 

2023 was a year of considerable change within DC Thomson as it re-shaped and re-focused, transforming with real ambition to set the business up for long-term success. Now in 2024, the company’s newspaper, magazine and Puzzler newsstand teams have been shortlisted for five categories in the 2024 Newspaper and Magazine Awards (ACE NMAs). 

The newsstand team have implemented a series of transformative initiatives aimed at driving collaboration, harnessing data intelligence, and enhancing engagement with its diverse audience base. By fostering inclusivity and creativity, DC Thomson has laid the foundation for a new era of success in the fiercely competitive publishing landscape and as a result, received nominations in the ACE NMAs. 

DC Thomson is nominated for ‘Newsstand Team of the Year’, an award that recognises the team that has demonstrated consistently high performance and delivered great results across campaigns, challenges, initiatives, projects, or strategies.  

The Press & Journal, Evening Express and The Courier have all been shortlisted in the category, ‘Newspaper Newsstand Campaign of the Year’. This award is for a newspaper that has excelled in engaging with its audience and added genuine value to the market. Both The Press & Journal and The Courier continue to be two of the strongest performing regional titles in the UK with a real connection to their local communities.  

The Press & Journal has been nominated for First Class/Last Class campaign which aims to capture and celebrate the significant milestones of thousands of Primary 1 and Primary 7 students across the entire North of Scotland. These campaigns feature a mix of self-submitted and professionally taken photos, while The Courier has been recognised for Draw Your Mum/Draw Your Dad our heartwarming initiative to engage local schoolchildren in celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day which received an incredible 11,200 drawings for the Courier, and Evening Express for Pounds For Primaries/Christmas Concerts. In its 54th year, the December 2023 edition of the Evening Express Christmas Concert featured over 700 performers from 24 schools and community groups, marking a significant expansion of their annual event. With two shows drawing a combined audience of 2,300, the concerts raised over £20,000 in ticket sales and donations for Pounds for Primaries Campaign in January 2024. 

The Press & Journal has also been shortlisted in the Regional Publication Of The Year category. The P&J team decided to mark their 275th year with commitment to communities across the north of Scotland. As the highest-selling regional title in the UK mainland, The Press and Journal has a dual responsibility as a trusted source for business, farming, and fishing news while being the voice of families and communities in a vast circulation area and ensured every marketing campaign met these values. 

Beano is nominated for Magazine Newsstand Campaign of The Year. Launched in 1938, Beano celebrated its 85th anniversary in July 2023, cementing its position as the world’s longest running weekly comic. To celebrate this amazing milestone, Beano’s team developed a summer-long campaign focussed on the special birthday edition of the comic. The comic was crammed full of kids’ favourite celebrities and a special wraparound cover featuring the likes of The King & Queen, Harry Styles and Ant & Dec. It was also supported by the biggest Beano retail marketing campaign in years with vibrant and colourful point-of-sale materials, creating theatre and standing-out in stores across the country.  

The Puzzler KIDS COLLECTION has been nominated for Newsstand Magazine of The Year – Children’s. Originating in the nineties as Quiz Kids, this magazine has been a beloved choice among youngsters for nearly three decades. However, recognising the need for evolution, the team behind it took a bold step by initiating comprehensive changes. They revamped the content entirely, introduced additional puzzles, improved the paper quality, enlarged the format, and replaced the previously used plastic-coated neon pencil with a natural wood alternative. In its inaugural year, the Puzzler KIDS COLLECTION has captured 57% of the kids’ puzzle market, marking a significant milestone for a magazine that was relatively unknown when it first hit the shelves in early 2023.

Neil Mackland, head of newspaper sales and marketing, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted in a number of categories at the NMAs this year. It’s particularly gratifying to see our collaborative efforts highlighted, as the DC Thomson newsstand team’s combined entry for Team of the Year showcased the exceptional teamwork and synergy across our newspapers, magazine, and Puzzler teams. 

“As a small but multitalented team, we feed into various aspects of the business including editorial, advertising, radio, events and production, helping to make numerous projects a reality.   

“We’re up against some stiff competition but the campaigns from our brands received massive reader engagement, thousands of new customers and generated huge revenue for our commercial team. Congratulations to all the nominees and everyone who helped get us nominated!”  

The awards ceremony takes place on May 22nd 2024 at the London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London. 

​The full shortlist is available here. 

Resilience and ingenuity celebrated at The Courier Food and Drink Awards

The best culinary businesses from across Tayside and Fife were celebrated this week at the fourth Courier Food and Drink Awards, held at The Old Course Hotel in St Andrews.

Boasting more entries than ever before, the awards shine a light on the businesses and people around Courier Country making a difference in an industry crucial to the local economy.

In his welcome on the night, editor of The Courier, David Clegg, said: “The submissions paint a picture of an industry that continues to show resilience and ingenuity in the face of myriad challenges.

“The food and drink sector is at the heart of our local economy, using natural resources of our fertile farmlands, rivers and coastline to create considerable value and provide job opportunities for thousands of workers.

“It has been said that food and drink is Courier Country’s equivalent of the north-east oil and gas economy and its significance to this region really is difficult to overstate.”

Bar of the Year (sponsored by Diageo) went to Dundee’s The Barrelman which was praised by judges for supporting local, creating a real community vibe and engaging with charities. Thomas and Jacqueline Fox, the people behind the venue, also picked up the Entrepreneur of the Year award (sponsored by ALTAR Group).

Wasted Degrees Brewing took Brewer of the Year (sponsored by School of Business, Dundee University). As well as producing great beer, judges were impressed with the Blair Atholl company’s environmental consciousness and their ambition in branching into the European market.

Thomas Tsappis of Killiecrankie House was awarded Chef of the Year for showing ‘amazing creativity in menu development and the very best use of seasonal, local and sustainable ingredients’.

The Community Champion award (sponsored by Apex Hotels) was given to Broughty Ferry’s Braw Tea café, a social enterprise supporting disadvantaged women from all walks of life through training, work and friendship.

In the Craft Distiller of the Year category (sponsored by DP&L Group), The Kingsbarns Company of Distillers impressed judges by their growth over recent years and international recognition for their products.

Independent Café of the Year (sponsored by The Rookery) went to Sweetpea Café for its ‘great vibe and inventive menu’.

Producer of the Year (sponsored by Swilcan Loft) was given to Angus Soft Fruits with judges commenting on the quality of the product and commitment to the environment. The company were also highly commended in the sustainability category.

After taking the newcomer award in 2022, Auchtermuchty’s Boar’s Head won Restaurant of the Year for 2024 (sponsored by Barnetts Toyota). Judges were impressed with the ‘commitment to provenance, using the best locally sourced ingredients to provide an affordable fine dining experience’.

Rising Star of the Year (sponsored by Malmaison) was a public vote, with the award going to Ethan O’Hare from Carnoustie’s WeeCOOK, who was highly commended in the 2022 awards.

Street Vendor of the Year went to Choola, a husband and wife team bringing the flavours of Nepal to Fife from their street food van.

Based out of Craigencalt Farm by Kinghorn Loch Greenheart Growers took the Sustainability Award (sponsored by InvestFife). The market garden project provides positive social outcomes for the community, supplying fresh, organically grown produce to cafes and restaurants as well as veg boxes to locals.

A special awards winners supplement will be published in The Courier on Monday April 1st.

Record breaking year for Scottish Golf Tourism Week

Golf industry event Scottish Golf Tourism Week concluded last night in Inverness with predictions that this year’s meeting of suppliers and tour operators would bring golf tourists to the home of golf from more countries than ever before.

Brought to the Highlands in partnership with The Press and Journal, 90 tour operators representing a record 40 countries spent the week visiting courses around Scotland and taking part in over 3,500 face-to-face appointments planning itineraries for visiting golfers in 2024 and 2025.

Organised by DC Thomson and supported by The Highland Council, Visit Inverness Loch Ness, Highland and Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland, deals done during the week bring an estimated 50,000 golf tourists to Scotland each year, hugely benefitting local economies.

The six-day annual event has been taking place in St Andrews since 2016 and relocated to Inverness for the first time this year, centred at the city’s Kingsmills Hotel in association with Good Highland Food. The decision to move the event from its Fife home was taken to make it easier for north east suppliers, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to access global buyers.

Next year, the event will continue to showcase more of Scotland’s golf regions and support local businesses and communities with 2025’s host city announced as Aberdeen, maintaining the partnership with The P&J.

The week culminated last night (March 21st) with the prestigious Scottish Golf Tourism Awards, held at the at the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre in Inverness. Presented in association with Luxe Scot, the awards saw St Andrews’ Connoisseur Golf picking up Best Tour Operator for a second year running.

A total of 15 awards were handed out at a gala dinner attended by over 500 people to celebrate the clubs, hotels and experiences that have helped shape Scotland’s reputation as a world-class golfing destination.

Golf clubs across the north east did particularly well with the Royal Dornoch Golf Club winning the award for best course in the over £250 category, Cruden Bay Golf Club near Peterhead winning the £150-£250 category and Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Links on the Black Isle winning the under £100 group.

A high point of the night was a standing ovation for Gary Wilkinson, former Chairman of the Scottish Inbound Golf Tour Operators Association who received a special recognition award for his unwavering contributions to the golf industry.

Andy Williams, chief revenue officer at DC Thomson, organisers of the event said: “It has been very motivating to see the positivity and optimism this week as Scotland’s golf industry has been proudly showing off to the world what makes this country, that is arguably the home of golf, so special.

“We organise Scottish Golf Tourism Week as it really makes a difference to local suppliers. The average benefit for each business taking part is projected to be in excess of £215,000 in the three years following the event which is just extraordinary. The economic benefits go beyond that, and it’s estimated that Scottish Golf Tourism Week contributes an estimated £3 million to the local economy, highlighting the vital role that golf tourism plays in supporting businesses and community development across Scotland.

“DC Thomson’s purpose is to champion the communities we serve. A growing and innovating Scottish golf sector will create jobs and opportunities in our communities and the more people playing the sport the more opportunity for our local news titles and brands like bunkered to power them on that journey.” 

M&S Food joins forces with Taste of Grampian to champion local suppliers in North East

Marks and Spencer has announced that it is to partner with Aberdeen’s Taste of Grampian, taking title sponsorship position of the food and drink event when it returns to P&J Live for a third time on June 1st. 

The ‘north-east of Scotland’s favourite indoor foodie experience’ is an annual one-day consumer event organised by DC Thomson events, which has attracted more than 10,000 people through its doors in previous years. 

Celebrity chef, author and TV personality Nadiya Hussain MBE, who rose to fame after winning the sixth series of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off in 2015, will headline Taste of Grampian for 2024, alongside a strong line-up of Scottish and local chefs, with fantastic tasting experiences. A host of crafters and food and drink producers will be selling their products and sharing their brand stories, too. 

The event – held in partnership with ANM Group – gives attendees the chance to sample and buy the flavours of the region with produce, street vendors, artisan delicacies, fresh food, baking and drinks – all under one roof. 

Expanding on its existing presence at the Royal Highland Show, M&S Food will be showcasing its links to local suppliers, food quality and animal welfare. 

Sharry Cramond, M&S Food marketing director, said: “Taste of Grampian and M&S make a wonderful partnership because so many of our long-standing suppliers are based here – whether it’s slow-baked crumbly shortbread from Aberlour, great quality mackerel from Fraserburgh, velvety soft smoked salmon from Buckie or our exclusive blend of porridge oats from Banff. 

“We know how passionate our customers across the whole UK are about food from Grampian and M&S is proud of the support we provide to suppliers of all sizes across the region. 

“So we can’t wait to come to Taste of Grampian and showcase food from our north-east producers that are already championing great quality, value and innovation.” 

DC Thomson: home of trusted media brands

Today’s rapidly changing technologies are constantly revolutionising the way we communicate with one another. We exchange information more quickly and efficiently now than ever before.  

But at the same time, new platforms have given rise to disinformation. 

This is why it’s never been more important to use only sources of information that have proven to be trustworthy and reliable.  

DC Thomson is one of them.  

Why advertisers and audiences turn to DC Thomson:  

  1. We’re deeply rooted in local communities 

Many DC Thomson brands have been around for years – we’re talking decades and even centuries, in some cases. The Press and Journal, for example, marked its 275th anniversary in 2023, making it Scotland’s oldest newspaper.  

Like other beloved DC Thomson brands, its longevity is testament to its local knowledge and its commitment to serve its audience.  

This has led to journalism that has earned accolades like Scotland’s Newspaper of the Year and the best-selling regional daily in the UK. It’s no wonder it’s become an integral part of the lives of local people.   

2. Our brands are known and loved 

Some DC Thomson brands hold a special place in people’s hearts, like Beano. The world’s longest-running weekly comic has been entertaining kids of all ages since 1938.  

Aside from delivering laughter, Dennis and his ragtag group of friends have been helping children to improve their vocabulary and develop their reading skills.  

The People’s Friend, the longest running women’s weekly magazine in the world, is another beloved DC Thomson title. Devoted to quality fiction, it has lived up to its name by giving its readers good cheer, comfort and companionship through wars, disasters and social upheavals. 

For DC Thomson, informing audiences is just as important as delighting and inspiring them in their everyday lives. 

3. We’re adapting and evolving with our audiences       

Though many DC Thomson brands have been around for generations, they never stay the same. They’re constantly adapting and evolving in line with their audiences.  

This is why from our roots in publishing newspapers and magazines, DC Thomson has expanded to include other forms of media like radio and TV as well as events and digital technology. 

Speak to our advertising specialists to find out more about using our trusted media brands to reach more customers. 

Three ways we know our local community

Local media should serve local communities. 

That’s why at DC Thomson, we put the power of local advertising and reporting at the forefront of everything we do.   

Here are three reasons why we believe in the power of local. 

  1. A history of loyalty to our readers 

Across multiple publications, DC Thomson has pledged loyalty to the people and communities of our regions for centuries. 

For example, The Press and Journal has been the trusted voice of the north and north-east of Scotland for 275 years, The Courier has been serving the people of Tayside and Fife for more than 200 years and The People’s Friend is the longest running women’s weekly magazine in the world. 

During that time, we’ve never wavered in our commitment to tell stories fairly and accurately. 

Today, we’re still telling the stories that matter to our readers, whether that be through captivating documentaries, award-winning podcasts or interactive in-depth explorations of issues that really matter.  

2. Giving our readers what they want 

DC Thomson has a very loyal customer base and our printed newspapers still reach tens of thousands of people per day, while our online platforms continue to be popular and have a wide reach. 

Our modern newsrooms and investment in digital journalism has given us even more insight into what people read, how long they read it for, what they think about our content and what really matters to them. 

By putting our audiences and our data at the centre of our newsrooms, we can continue to dig deep into the topics that most interest and motivate our readers.  

3. We want to see our communities thrive 

The teams at DC Thomson are deeply embedded the local communities they serve, often living and working in those very areas. 

It means we all want to see our communities thrive, including the local businesses that are so often a vital lifeline for people in the area. That’s why we run events like The Courier Business Awards, now in its 11th year, which shines a light on fantastic businesses in Courier Country.  

When you work with DC Thomson you will not only benefit from our wide reach, but also from the deep understanding of our communities and the strength of our local connections. 

Want to find out more?  Speak to our specialist team today. 

Why utilising all of DC Thomson media options gives you value for money

In today’s fast-paced digital age, effective communication with customers demands a strategic and comprehensive approach. DC Thomson recognises the importance of reaching a broad audience through various media options, offering advertisers unparalleled value for their investment. 

Understanding multichannel advertising

Different channels represent unique avenues for communication. Whether it’s social media, print adverts, digital promotions or radio broadcasts, each channel plays a vital role in engaging diverse customer preferences. A successful marketing campaign combines these channels, to ensure multiple touch points for your audience.

Advantages of multichannel marketing

There are lots of advantages to multichannel marketing. Firstly, it allows advertisers to connect with customers through their preferred channels, be it print, digital or radio.  

With DC Thomson’s strong local audience and trusted reputation across various platforms, we provide an excellent opportunity to engage directly with local customers. 

Moreover, a multichannel approach expands the reach, potentially introducing businesses to new customers who may not have encountered them before. This aligns with the industry’s ‘rule of seven,’ emphasising that a customer needs exposure to a brand at least seven times before making a purchase decision.  

By reaching customers on multiple channels simultaneously, advertisers can significantly influence their buying behaviour. 

Tap into DC Thomson’s media channels

DC Thomson offers a diverse range of brands for advertising, including The Press and Journal, The Courier, The Sunday Post, The Scots Magazine, The People’s Friend, MyWeekly, Kingdom FM and Original 106FM.  

The synergy of these media options ensures advertisers can craft a truly effective and far-reaching advertising campaign. 

While other media outlets might offer lower costs, DC Thomson offers value in the extensive range of media options available across various formats. Advertisers can not only connect with customers through their preferred channels but also capitalise on the power of repetition and diverse platforms, ultimately achieving unmatched visibility and success for their campaigns.  

Our account managers are also trained to make this easy, helping to connect advertisers with the right opportunities across the DC Thomson portfolio. 

Find out how our multichannel marketing can help grow your business. 

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 www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/subscribe/ to find out more.

The Broons partner with NHS Highland to support #EndPJParalysis campaign

NHS Highland and the team behind The Broons’ legendary characters have joined forces to develop an educational comic strip to highlight the importance of movement during and after a trip to hospital.

A new pamphlet featuring all The Broons family members launched this week, providing health and wellbeing information about ‘deconditioning’ in an engaging and accessible way.

Derek Laidler, Professional Lead Physiotherapist, Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) said: “Admission to hospital for many older people can be seen as a low-risk option and it’s important for older people, their families and carers as well as health and social care staff to be aware of the very real risks involved when deciding the best options to manage an injury or illness. This collaboration with The Broons will help us to get that message across.”

Prof Brian Dolan OBE, a nurse who originated the #EndPJparalysis campaign and who appears as a character in this specially commissioned Broons story said: “Often one of the best things patients, especially older people, can do to get home from hospital sooner is to get out of their PJs and get up, dressed and moving.

“Patients’ time is the most important currency in healthcare and an important question for all of us is ‘If you had 1,000 days left to live, how many would you choose to spend in hospital?’ We know for the vast majority of us the answer is ‘None’ so let’s be more like Granpaw Broon who says ‘Get up, get dressed, an’ get moving – the very dab!’”

DC Thomson’s content manager for heritage brands Kate McAuliffe commented: “We know that part of the enduring success of The Broons is that everyone can see a little bit of themselves in the characters. They’ve been entertaining readers for nearly 90 years and it’s wonderful seeing how their lighthearted family-orientated storytelling can be combined with serious medical messages.

“The creative team have done an incredible job of weaving a story around Granpaw Broon being in hospital after some over-energetic dancing, and how keeping active puts a smile back on his face. There’s even Horace teaching Granpaw about using his smartphone to read QR codes, in inimitable Broons fashion.

“We always say the Broons are ‘Scotland’s Happy Family That Makes Every Family Happy’, and that really comes out in this partnership with the NHS.”

You can download The Broons x #EndPJParalysis comic strips and pamphlet here.

DC Thomson becomes a supporter of the John Schofield Trust

DC Thomson has become a supporter of the John Schofield Trust. 

John was killed in 1995 while reporting on the Civil War in the former Yugoslavia for BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight. After his death, John’s family and friends wished to create a lasting memorial to his work, establishing the Trust with an ambition to support and nurture new and aspiring journalists and improve social mobility in newsrooms across the UK and Ireland.

One of the Trust’s key activities is an annual mentoring programme and we’re delighted that Brendan Duggan, impact reporter at DC Thomson, has been selected as a 2024 Fellow for the programme.

Brendan will be one of the 120 journalists who will receive a programme of support over the next twelve months, including being paired with an experienced professional within the industry who will provide tailored mentoring that is shaped around the needs and ambitions of the individual Fellow. Brendan’s mentor is the BBC’s Investigations Correspondent, Mark Daly.

DC Thomson Director Ben Gray said: “At DC Thomson, we are building a learning environment full of opportunities for our colleagues and partners. We champion quality journalism and recognise its importance to our communities. We achieve this by supporting our newsrooms and developing the next generation of journalists. The John Schofield Trust is making a real impact in improving social mobility within the industry through its renowned mentoring programme and the opportunities that they provide to early career and undergraduate journalists. We share the Trust’s ambitions and are proud to be partnering with them to build transformative, diverse and talented newsrooms that reflect our communities.”

Trust CEO David Stenhouse said: “We are delighted to welcome DC Thomson as supporters of the John Schofield Trust. Since 1996 the Trust has worked hard to support journalists at the beginning of their career, and to make journalism a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming place.

In the last few years we have welcomed applications to our mentoring scheme from print, digital, multimedia and broadcast journalists in the UK and Ireland, and worked with senior journalists across the sector as mentors and panelists on our masterclasses. Working with DC Thomson will allow us to increase the value of our offer to journalists across the UK and Ireland, and we look forward to working closely together over the next few years.”

After graduating from Edinburgh’s Napier University, Brendan studied for a Masters in Investigative Journalism on a scholarship for Channel 4, before joining DC Thomson in June 2022. He produced both of DC Thomson’s Impact podcasts and was the presenter of series 1, Hunting Mr X, appearing across the national media to talk about the story behind the podcast.

Beano Hunts for Britain’s Funniest School Children

Comic celebrates the Bash Street Kids’ 70th anniversary with the launch of ‘Britain’s Funniest Class’ competition

The nation’s longest running comic, Beano is on the hunt for Britain’s funniest primary school class.

The children’s comic is calling on schools and teachers across the country to enter ‘Britain’s Funniest Class’ competition, by submitting their best jokes and gags.

The most side-splitting jokes will be put to a public vote to decide the winning class and one class will be crowned winner and immortalised in a special edition of the comic.

The launch of the competition marks the 70th anniversary of The Bash Street Kids, which has led the charge on classroom comedy for the last seven decades.

The comic strip’s characters, which include the likes of Plug, Harsha, and Scotty, have been showcasing the Great British classroom and embracing a perfectly imperfect childhood from the very beginning.

The initiative, now in its sixth year championing the comedians of the future, aims to encourage confidence and wellbeing in the classroom. Beano has partnered with charity, Place2Be to launch the competition and bring fun, free, resources to the classroom to tackle the growing issue of children’s mental health.

The real-life school children crowned Britain’s Funniest Class will be captured by Beano illustrators for inclusion in a special edition of Beano.

It will be the very first time in the comic’s history that a whole class of real-life children will be immortalised in the pages of a Bash Street Kids story.

Originally called ‘When the Bell Rings’ The Bash Street Kids was inspired by a Dundee school which was next to the offices of DC Thompson. 70 years on, the characters continue to reflect the individuality and hilarity of British children, making them a great source of inspiration for Britain’s Funniest Class, which this year has the theme ‘Express Yourself’.

Mike Stirling, Director of Mischief at Beano said: “We are absolutely thrilled to launch our biggest ever Britain’s Funniest Class competition, whilst also celebrating our very own funniest class – The Bash Street Kids.

The characters of class 2B, with all of their unique super-powers and flaws remind adults and children alike that it’s great to be different. We hope that the Bash Street Kids inspire this year’s entrants to express themselves and we can’t wait to see all the incredible and hilarious jokes from classrooms across the UK.”

Michelle Bates, Headteacher at Greasley Beauvale Primary School, winners of last year’s Britain’s Funniest Class encourages teachers across the UK to enter the competition. She said: ”The classroom and the school flourished when we rallied together as a team for the common goal of laughter. It was wonderful to see the classroom grow in confidence and creativity.”​

Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be said: “We are really excited to join forces with the team at Beano to find Britain’s Funniest Class, and get children laughing in every town in the UK. We know that having fun and laughter in the classroom encourages self-expression, confidence and can boost wellbeing so we’re proud to be part of this year’s initiative. ”

The comic is also on the hunt to discover Britain’s Funniest Teacher for the first time,  celebrating educators and the crucial role they play. The competitions launch during Children’s Mental Health Week.

The Bash Street Kids anniversary edition of Beano is now on sale. A special serialisation has been created and features the fictional class calling for real kids to send in their joke submissions.​

Britain’s Funniest Class entries are open here: beano.com/schools

The winner of Beano’s Funniest Class will be revealed on 22nd May 2024

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.

www.originalfm.com

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 www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/155bursary.

Beano and Place2Be join forces to support children’s mental health

The UK’s longest-running children’s comic partners with leading children’s mental health charity

Dennis, Gnasher, Minnie and all of Beanotown will help children build better mental health through a new partnership, announced today, between top children’s comic Beano and children’s mental health charity Place2Be.

This partnership brings together Beano’s 85 years of expertise in engaging children and Place2Be’s 30 years of expertise in delivering effective mental health support within school communities to support children’s mental wellbeing across the UK.

NHS data shows that 1 in 5 children and young people in England have a diagnosable mental health problem. Without the right support, many continue to have these problems into adulthood. Through this partnership, Beano and Place2Be will provide children and families with advice on how to look after their own mental health – and advice on where to turn if they need additional support.

In their first collaboration, Beano and Place2Be have created a ‘Top tips for children’ resource for Children’s Mental Health Week 2024 – the national initiative run by Place2Be. Available to download now, this resource features peer-to-peer advice (written by primary age children, for primary age children) on looking after your mental health. The Children’s Mental Health Week top tips for children resource features much-loved Beano characters alongside the tips – with a view to making the tips more engaging for children.

Place2Be has been working in partnership in with UK schools since 1994. The charity provides expert school-based support and in-depth training programmes to improve the emotional wellbeing and understanding of mental health among pupils, families, teachers and the wider school community.

On the partnership, Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be said:

“We are absolutely thrilled to join forces with the team at Beano to enable us to reach more children and families. This partnership builds on Beano’s great work incorporating mental wellbeing into its storylines. This aligns so well with Place2Be’s mission, helping children, parents and carers to feel more comfortable in having conversations about emotions and feelings in day-to-day life, building resilience and improving longer-term mental health.”

Mike Stirling, Editorial Director at Beano, said:

“We know from speaking to children that reading and laughter help them become more confident, creative, develop more empathy, and achieve better emotional balance. Helping kids laugh and read are what Beano does best, so we are thrilled to be working with Place2Be to continue to support kids’ well-being in a relatable and engaging way.”

Beano has been helping kids navigate life through fun and mischief since 1938. From World Wars to global pandemics, first days of school to getting their first mobile phone, the comic has always been on hand to help kids process emotions and feelings in a fun and engaging way. The Place2Be partnership follows on from a five-year partnership with YoungMinds, which launched the Beano for Schools Bouncebackability programme and annual Britain’s Funniest Class initiative. Beano for Schools provides free, curriculum-linked resources for teachers, which introduce and discuss mental health wellbeing with easy step-by-step lesson plans.

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.

Five reasons why advertising on a range of channels gains success

Today, there are many different ways to talk to your customers and an effective marketing strategy will take advantage of all those different communication channels. Here’s what you need to know. 

What do we mean by different channels?

Essentially, by channel we mean a method of communicating to your customers. That could be social media, print adverts, digital adverts, newsletters, direct mail, SEO optimised websites, online articles and more. 

The best marketing or advertising campaigns combines several different channels to achieve their overall goal. 

Advantages of using different channels in marketing

  1. You can talk to your customers where they’re most comfortable, via their preferred channel. That might be print adverts, digital adverts or branded content stories, depending on your customer. 
  2. You can speak to local customers on different platforms. We have a strong local audience with a trusted reputation, including print, digital and radio audiences, to help you speak directly to customers. 
  3. You might find new customers. A multichannel approach can increase your reach. Using a different channel from your norm could help you reach customers who may not have heard of you before.  
  4. The industry often refers to the ‘rule of seven’, meaning that a customer has to see your brand an average of seven times before they’ll make a purchase. Reaching customers on multiple channels at the same time could help nudge them closer to buying.
  5. You can benefit from the power of repetition. The old phrase ‘repetition builds reputation’ is still true, with research showing that regular advertising boosts ad recall and brand awareness, putting your business top of mind when a customer is ready to buy.  

Take advantage of DC Thomson’s media channels

With DC Thomson, you can utilise multiple media channels AND tap into the trust we’ve built with local clients to build a really effective advertising campaign. 

Indeed, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising reports that advertisers using multiple platforms, in newsbrands specifically, have reported market share increases of 87% and profit increases of 144% compared with non-users of news brands.  

DC Thomson offers a range of brands to advertise in, including The Press and Journal, The Courier, The Sunday Post, The Scots Magazine, The People’s Friend, MyWeekly, Kingdom FM and Original 106FM. 

Find out more about how our multichannel marketing can help grow your business.

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 www.thinkstylist.co.uk.

 

Milestone year for The Courier Business Awards

Firmly established as one of the leading business awards in Scotland, The Courier Business Awards – in partnership with Henderson Loggie – celebrated its tenth birthday on October 28th with its biggest event to date.

Held in Dundee in the grounds of the Apex City Quay Hotel, a record 760 people were in attendance including the Deputy First Minister, Shona Robison and Scottish Labour Leader, Anas Sarwar.

The event received more entries than ever before, with more than 160 submissions from businesses in the local area. Awards were made in 16 categories covering every facet of the local economy, shining a light on the exceptional work being done around Tayside and Fife.

This year’s judging panel was chaired by Mike Soutar (founder of Shortlist magazine) and included David Smith (managing partner at Henderson Loggie), Graham Huband (managing editor of DC Thomson’s newsbrands), Elaine Maddison (chief executive of Brightsolid) and Angela Vickers (chief executive of Apex Hotels).

Top prize went to Carnoustie Golf Links (pictured right) which won business of the year. Despite being hit hard during the pandemic, judges found the business had excelled in the last 12 months and has had its most successful season to date. The business, which operates three golf courses (including the world-famous Championship course), also won the leisure, tourism and hospitality category.

Other awards included Transition to Net Zero (won by Realise Energy Services) recognising progress towards a low carbon economy and greater sustainability, Resilience and Recovery (won by Lass O’Gowrie) reflecting the ongoing economic challenges, and a new Rising Star award for 2023 voted by readers of The Courier, awarded to health coach Shelley Booth.

A Special Recognition trophy was presented in honour of the late John Bullough, founder of Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, who died earlier this year aged 54.

Graham Huband said: “Reaching the 10th anniversary milestone of The Courier Business Awards is a proud moment, but it is also an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved.

“Over the past decade we have shone a light on many of the most interesting and inspiring businesses – and business people – that Courier Country has to offer.

“For those involved in the judging process like me, it has been a truly eye-opening experience – but in absolutely the best sense of that word.

“We have visited every type of business – from heritage family concerns to kitchen table start-ups and global multi-nationals with a significant footprint in Tayside and Fife.

“And, almost without exception, under every stone we have upturned there has been a hidden gem glinting out back at us.

“The Courier Business Awards is about celebrating the amazing success stories on our doorstep, helping build communities and networks and giving voice to a business community which continually punches above its weight.”

Full details of all winners can be found at www.thecourier.co.uk/tag/courier-business-awards/

Data journalism, video and comic shine light on dementia

DC Thomson’s newsbrands this week launch a major study into the impact of dementia in Scotland, analysing over two decades worth of data, as well as carrying out a number of freedom of information enquiries. The project includes deep dives into the data region by region, video case studies, and a comic has also been created for children to better understand the condition.

Running in The Courier, The Press and Journal from today and in The Sunday Post from this weekend, the research carried out by DC Thomson’s data team shows that deaths linked to dementia have more than tripled across Scotland since 2000.

It also reports the huge rise in self-funded nursing care and that women in Scotland are almost twice as likely to die from dementia than men. It finds too that 2023 saw a record high for dementia patients delayed in leaving hospital due to the availability of care home beds.

The accompanying comic, ‘My Granny is a Time Traveller’, is designed to help children understand why an elderly relative may be forgetting things. It’s downloadable online as well as being made available in a four-page pullout in DC Thomson’s news titles. The writer of the comic recently lost his grandmother to dementia and in a fitting tribute, the story is dedicated to her.

The work is an example of DC Thomson’s commitment to collaboration and innovation, and how being insight-led is driving journalism with impact and producing compelling content that resonates with communities.

Head of Data Journalism, Lesley-Anne Kelly, who led on the research, said: “It’s a true collaboration between reporters, data journalists, graphic artists, comic writers, the print team, the AV team, SEO and social media specialists and many more beyond.

“It’s a privilege to work somewhere where we’re allowed the creative freedom to take an idea and achieve such an ambitious goal, and we hope our readers see the passion that went into it.”

The investigation is in The Courier here and here.

The investigation is in The Press and Journal here and here.

The comic strip can be read here.

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.

Minnie causing mischief in the 2023/24 storm name list 

Minnie causing mischief in the 2023/24 storm name list 

Met Office and Beano are up for mischief, as Minnie the Minx gets her own storm. The comic character has been included in the Met Office’s official list of storm names for the 2023/24 season. 

The collaboration between Met Office and Beano comes as Minnie the Minx celebrates her 70th anniversary later this year and Met Office is preparing for their 170th birthday in 2024. 

Minnie  kicked up a hilarious storm last week in a special comic story, raising awareness of what actions to take before, during and after a storm. Children  also learned about the Met Office storm names, created to keep people safe and #WeatherReady when it matters the most.  

The special comic story shows Minnie ‘charming’ the Met Office team to get her name on the list after her anger that Dennis had a storm named after him in 2020. After picking up a ‘how to prepare for a storm’ leaflet, Minnie gets to work with the help of a bunch of other Beano stars to keep everyone safe so her storm doesn’t hurt anyone. 

The comic also features a special ‘Storm Dodge’ strip where Roger is seen skilfully getting out of helping Mum and Dad prepare for the arrival of Storm Minnie.  

Met Office Associate Director of Communications, Dave Britton, who leads communication in times of severe weather, said: “This is the ninth year of us naming storms and we do it because it works. We’re delighted to work closely with Minnie and everyone at Beano again to help get our safety messages to their loyal readers. 

“Whether it is tying down garden toys, making sure you’re stocked up on your favourite food or checking on your neighbours, we hope our advice can help children make better decisions for themselves, but also provide them with the right messages to keep their family and friends safe too.”  

Mike Stirling, Beano’s Director of Mischief, said: “Minnie is a force of nature herself, so having her own storm came naturally, especially after she found out that a storm was named after Dennis a few years ago. Kids will love this hilarious story, and we’re happy to join Met Office in their mission, by sharing essential information in a fun way with children all over the country.” 

Comic creativity – BBC Teach and Beano team up to give teachers new free resources

Beano and the BBC have joined forces to help primary school teachers share the secrets of comic creation with their pupils. The new Beano – how to create a comic set of resources provide a step-by-step guide to help children to make their own comic; from creating characters to constructing worlds to developing stories.

Three classroom videos, featuring our Beano Studios mischief makers, Mike Stirling, Ed Stockham, Rhiannon Tate and Craig Graham, introduce children to visualising characters as stick people, creating a story mountain, and building a soundscape with words like ‘clang’ or ‘squelch’.

Hosted on BBC Teach, the home of thousands of free curriculum-mapped classroom videos, the new resources are rooted in Beano’s 85 years expertise in comics and creativity.  the free videos are designed for teachers to use with their primary classes at Key Stage 2, 2nd Level and Progression steps 2 and 3 across the UK. They include everything needed to create a comic as part of a whole class project. The resources are accompanied by teacher notes, templates (thought balloons, head shapes and story mountains) as well as a specially designed comic book layout.

The videos come as part of the Beano for Schools initiative, providing teachers with comics and related resources to help children enjoy reading and support the teaching of English and Art and Design/Expressive arts. The videos have been designed in collaboration with BBC Teach to help children explore similes, alliteration and onomatopoeia; understand narrative development; how to combine graphics as well as lettering and visual imagery.

Mike Stirling, Beano’s Director of Mischief, said: “Bringing laughter and creativity to the classroom has been our mission ever since we launched Beano for Schools, in 2018. The collaboration with BBC Teach will get kids’ creative juices flowing, and we hope it will inspire a brilliant new generation of comic creators. We can’t wait to see what creative mischief these videos unleash.”

Alex Harris, Executive Producer at BBC Teach, added: “These resources are a unique opportunity to hear directly from the creative genius behind Beano. Designed to support teachers and engage learners, we hope these fun resources will get children creating thousands of comic strips and help develop a new generation of comic creatives.”

To access Beano – how to create a comic, visit: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/class-clips-video/english-ks2-beano-how-to-create-a-comic/zr7rdnb

DC Thomson recognised for pioneering a new approach to regional journalism – Enders Analysis case study

A new report from Enders Analysis has argued “all is not lost” for local news publishers, despite a punishing economic environment.

Enders identified DC Thomson as a publisher it believed was innovatively approaching the remaking of the local news business model.

A case study published by Enders has described the company’s approach as “an entrepreneurial, bullish mindset, focused on describing and realising a better future”, highlighting, for example, its switch from unique visitors to time spent as a principal metric of success, as well as its shift to “depth and expertise rather than a structure of geographic coverage”.

The report was optimistic about the industry more broadly, saying: “In the round, local media organisations are increasingly focused on the benefits they bring to communities and the use-cases that people value.

The full report, ‘Signs of Local Life – A new phase for local media’ can be read by clicking here.

 

DC Thomson launches new podcast, The SEN Mums’ Career Club

Designed to be a place for women in work who are also raising children with complex and additional needs, The SEN Mums’ Career Club launched last month and has already received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

In the podcast, journalist and SEN (special educational needs) mum Leisa Millar speaks to women building their careers across a range of industries – from marketing and PR to teaching and medicine – whilst parenting children who need significantly heightened care.

“Only 3% of UK women with a disabled child are in full-time employment. As one of them, I understand all too well why this percentage is shockingly low,” says Leisa, who came up with the idea for the podcast and hosts it each week.

Leisa is Head of Audience Development at DC Thomson and a mum of three. Her eldest daughter, six-year-old Beatrix, has a rare genetic condition called Kabuki Syndrome, which has multiple impacts, both physical and cognitive.

She explains: “The SEN Mums’ Career Club is an inclusive space for women like me to come together and discuss work and ambition through our unique lens of special needs parenting.

“We’re actually a sizeable group. We’re just largely invisible. Most women worry about how raising a family will hurt their career – is it little wonder that one raising a child with significantly heightened care needs might choose not to publicly shout about that fact?

“I occasionally meet or virtually stumble across brilliant women who have both impressive careers and children with SEN. It’s difficult to put into words how much it means to me when this happens.”

Guests have included legal marketer Helen Burness, and civil servant-turned-online business manager Lizzy Parsons, who took her local authority to court to fight for her daughter’s education – and won.

Feedback on the podcast has been hugely positive including messages saying that the podcast is the “first that hits the spot of raising a disabled child while attempting to navigate a career” and that, “I love my job and my colleagues and team are so lovely but only a few know the massive struggles I face as a SEN mum.”

The SEN Mums’ Career Club, brought to you by DC Thomson, is produced by Morven McIntyre with graphics from Gemma Day. New episodes are released every Wednesday on all major podcast platforms.

Spotify

Apple

Amazon Music

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 www.pressandjournal.co.uk/tag/pj-charities/ 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.”

New editor named for record-breaking DC Thomson magazine

 

The People’s Friend, the world’s longest running women’s magazine, and still one of the UK’s biggest selling, has appointed respected editor and journalist Stuart Johnstone to lead the much-loved title.  

Stuart becomes only the 11th editor in the magazine’s 154-year history, which began with William D Latto in January 1869.   

The weekly magazine, published in Dundee by DC Thomson, is known around the world for its regular offering of feel-good fiction and features. Stuart has worked as a writer and editor at DC Thomson for over 20 years, and joins the Friend from his most recent role, as editor of sister title My Weekly. 

He succeeds Angela Gilchrist who served as editor for the last 15 years. In her final editorial in the July 8 magazine, she explains to readers that she has decided that the time is right to move on to pastures new.  

She gives heartfelt thanks to readers for their support, enthusiasm and friendship and lets them know that they, and the Friend are being left in Stuart’s “very safe hands”. 

Stuart says that he’s excited to be taking on the role and feels the weight of history on his shoulders, taking on such a cherished title. “It isn’t just a magazine,” he says, “It’s a way of life.”  

In his first editorial, he pays tribute to Angela, someone who he has worked with for many years and describes as a friend and a “truly inspirational and dedicated editor”.  

“I know what it means to readers,” he says, ”And I give them, and indeed Angela, my sincere promise to do my very best to continue bringing them the fantastic mix of stories and features that they enjoy in every issue.”  

Beano’s Gift Egbedi appointed as member of PPA’s inaugural Next Gen Board

Gift, Beano’s brand marketing and communications manager, has been appointed to the Professional Publishers Association’s (PPA) Next Gen Board. His talent and drive meant DC Thomson were keen to put him forward for this position and after a rigorous application process are delighted that he has been selected. 

He has been selected to join another 15 under 30s from across the industry to join the PPA’s Next Gen Board, who will work closely with the main PPA board to help shape the future of the media industry  

This initiative was launched as part of the PPA’s strategy to encourage more inclusivity of younger and more diverse voices across the media sector. The first meeting will take place in July.  

Gift Egbedi says: “I look forward to developing new relationships within the publishing and media industry working alongside my peers and members of the main PPA Board to access new ideas, learn more and share insightful information about the work of other media professionals. 

I am so excited to be part of the PPA Next Gen Board and I hope to contribute to the growth of the sector as a representative of DC Thomson

Sarah Hall, head of brand marketing strategy say: From BeanOLD to Britain’s Funniest Class and his incredible social and D&I working group initiatives, Gift has made a phenomenal difference to Beano Studios in the three years he’s been part of the team.  

The PPA New Gen Board is lucky to have one of our brightest stars, who I know will make a phenomenal difference and be an incredible voice for the future of the industry. 

DC Thomson writers recognised for journalism supporting refugees

The P&J’s Lindsay Bruce has been honoured for her work in telling the story of a frontline Ukraine medic reuniting with his wife and baby in Aberdeen after a year apart.

Lindsay won the award for ‘best local media’ coverage at the Refugee Festival Scotland Media Awards this month, which celebrates ‘the exemplary work of journalists in Scotland covering refugee and asylum issues’.  

The piece in The P&J, which featured footage by local videographer Tucker Tangeman, captured the powerful moment Artur Sokol was reunited with his wife Yuliia and baby daughter.  

Lindsay said: “It’s really important to both myself and Tucker that the ongoing stories of war and its displaced people don’t get forgotten. 

“We also wanted to make sure we captured and elevated their voices. We’re both delighted and very proud to have won the local media category and hope their story helps change the narrative on how refugees and asylum seekers are thought about.” 

This is the second time Lindsay has won the award, last year winning the same category for her coverage of another Ukrainian family reuniting in Aberdeen after a long struggle to get them to safety.

Amie Flett from The Courier was named runner-up in the ‘local media’ category this year, for her story about a Dundee University student who spent 14 years in a refugee camp, and Patricia-Ann Young, writing in The Sunday Post was named runner up in the features category for her tale of refugees performing alongside members of the Scottish Opera.  

Sabir Zazai, CEO of the Scottish Refugee Council described this year’s shortlist as ‘an impressive and crucial contribution’ to the dialogue around people seeking protection in the UK. 

He added: “It has never been more important to tell the stories of people seeking sanctuary in a responsible way that puts the people behind the headlines first.” 

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.”

DC Thomson brands recognised at 2023 PPA’s and Star Awards

DC Thomson brands have received five nominations across the 2023 PPA Awards and The Marketing Society Star Awards.

This year’s Star Awards theme ‘wildly effective’ recognises ways the industry has changed and celebrates how businesses are evolving in the face of tighter budgets and changing audience landscapes.

DC Thomson has been nominated in the Tourism, Leisure, Culture and Sport category for its campaign with Dundee City Council which saw Dundee transformed into Beanotown for almost a month.

The city welcomed a six-metre high and 38-metre long Hollywood-style Beanotown sign on the Law Hill in Summer 2022 to coincide with Dundee Summer Bash Streets Festival, an event which celebrates the city’s comic and story-telling heritage.

Mike Stirling, Beano’s director of mischief, said: “It was beyond our wildest hopes that we could change the city into Beanotown, but with teamwork across the business and our collaboration with Dundee City Council we were able to prove that Dundee really is the World Capital of Comics.

“The transformation saw 45,000 additional tourists arrive in the city, generating an additional £220k of direct economic benefit. We are delighted this has been recognised at this year’s Marketing Society Star Awards.”

The Press and Journal’s Made for You, Made for Weekends campaign has been recognised in the Marketing, Planning and Insights category. The campaign set out to boost the paper’s Saturday edition in line with understanding changes in reader’s mindsets at the weekend, while implementing a 40p price increase, all during the cost-of-living crisis.

DC Thomson brands have also been recognised in three categories at this year’s 2023 PPA Awards.

Beano Studios is shortlisted for PPA Media Brand of the Year (Consumer Media). The award is for a consumer media brand that has an authoritative voice in their market, produces content their audience wants and informs their communities.

News teams have been recognised in two categories.

The Courier and P&J’s DMP-powered subscriber engagement is nominated for PPA Data Initiative of the Year, an award that recognises a business who can demonstrate excellent use of data to deliver value to their audiences, while the News Subscriptions Team is up for PPA Team of the Year.

Ella Dolphin, DC Thomson’s chief brand officer, said: “I’m delighted to see so many of our brands shortlisted across a range of categories at this year’s PPA Awards and The Marketing Society Star Awards.

“These awards recognise that the publishing industry is an evolving landscape, and for our brands to be nominated across five categories is a testament to the hard work and innovation that our teams put into producing outstanding content every day while pushing boundaries.”

The winners for all categories will be announced in June. The Marketing Society Star Awards will take place on June 15th in Glasgow’s DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central and the PPA Awards are on June 28th at London’s City Central at the HAC.

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 contact@discoveryprint.co.uk

 

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.

DC Thomson receives four nominations at the 2023 ACE NMAs

DC Thomson has been shortlisted four times across three categories at the 2023 Newspaper and Magazine Awards (ACE NMAs).

The NMAs give the publishing industry the opportunity to come together, showcase and celebrate the many success stories that have emerged in the last 12 months.

This year sees Puzzler Magazine shortlisted for ‘Newsstand Magazine of the Year – General Interest’.

Puzzler’s head of innovation, Shameem Begg, said: “We are delighted to have our 50-year-old Puzzler mag shortlisted as a finalist in this year’s NMAs. As the UK’s first ever puzzle magazine, it’s wonderful for Puzzler to be recognised and a testament to its quality content that it continues to innovate, entertain and attract new audiences after five whole decades. Congratulations to all the finalists!”  

Both The Press & Journal and Evening Express are shortlisted in a brand-new category, ‘Newspaper Newsstand Campaign of the Year’. This award is for the newspaper that has excelled in engaging with their audience and added genuine value to the market. The Press & Journal has been nominated for its ‘Win a £90,000 Lodge Campaign, while the Evening Express is recognised for ‘The EscapEE’.

The P&J’s campaign saw the £90,000 lodge provided by Riverview Holiday Park draw in thousands of entries and huge attendance at a gala day where the winner was announced for the title’s largest ever giveaway. The winner took ownership of the lodge at the gala and then and was ready to move in that day.

The EscapEE ran in the Evening Express and provided lots of fun and massive interest across our evening title and Original 106 Radio. The competition works as an exciting and unique manhunt, where audiences seek out “The EscapEE” to claim different cash prizes. The main objectives were to encourage readers of the newspaper to also become listeners to the radio station and vice versa.

DC Thomson is nominated for ‘Newsstand Team of the Year’, an award that recognises the team that has demonstrated consistent high performance and delivered great results across campaigns, challenges, initiatives, projects or strategies.

Neil Mackland, head of newspaper sales and marketing, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted in a number of categories at the NMAs this year. It’s a great achievement to be recognised as a finalist in the ‘Newsstand Team of the Year’. As a small but multitalented team, we feed into various aspects of the business including editorial, advertising, radio, events and production, helping to make numerous projects a reality.  

“We’re up against some stiff competition for ‘Campaign of the Year’ but both the Evening Express and P&J campaigns had massive reader engagement and generated huge revenue for our commercial team. Congratulations to all the nominees and everyone who helped get us nominated!”  

The awards ceremony takes place on May 18th 2023 at the London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London.
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The full shortlist is available here.

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 bunkered.co.uk, highly engaged social media platforms, a fast-growing YouTube channel, live events and a multi-award-winning podcast.

bunkered.co.uk.

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.

 

 

DC Thomson shortlisted for 15 awards at the UK Regional Press Awards

DC Thomson is celebrating the end of 2022 with an incredible 15 nominations at the UK Regional Press Awards.  

The Courier, The Press and Journal, Evening Telegraph and Evening Express have been shortlisted across a number of categories, and several members of the editorial team have also been recognised with individual nominations.  

Dale Haslam, part of the newsroom’s content development team, has been shortlisted for Daily Reporter of the Year for impact investigations such as Gangster Granny and a series on cyber fraud. 

 The data journalism team, led by Lesley-Anne Kelly, received three of the eight shortlisted nominations in the Digital Initiative category with nods for their analysis of baby name trends, NHS waiting times tracker and a project mapping local victims of WW1, while The Press & Journal’s football show, Highland League Weekly, has been nominated in the same category.  

The Courier’s Alan Temple has been nominated for Sports Journalist of the Year, for a series of articles produced in light of the controversial signing of footballer David Goodwillie at Raith Rovers.  

Alex Watson, head of comment for the Press and Journal, and fellow P&J columnists Catherine Deveney and Kerry Hudson are shortlisted for Columnist of the Year, and Ellie House received a nomination for Features Writer of the Year. 

Staff photographers Mhairi Edwards and Steve MacDougall are each nominated for Photographer of the Year for their work across all titles.  

The Big Food Appeal, a campaign organised by the Press and Journal, Evening Express and Original 106 to tackle food poverty, is shortlisted for Campaign of the Year.  

DC Thomson has been nominated for News Brand of the Year and News Website of the Year following the digital transformation which saw the daily news brands hit the milestone 25,000 paid subscribers earlier this year.  

Tom Miller, chief transformation officer said: “With DC Thomson’s ongoing transformation, we are learning more about our readers, their needs and mindsets with every day that passes.  

“There is much to be proud of, and these nominations are testament to the immense effort that our writers and photographers put into blending insight with creativity to produce outstanding journalism every day.” 

The full shortlist is available here. 

Six Wins for DC Thomson at the PPA Scotland Awards!

It was a brilliant night for DC Thomson at the PPA Scotland Awards on Wednesday night (30th November) where our brands scooped six wins.  

Robert Wight was awarded The Editor of the Year for his personal contribution to the ‘all round brilliance’ of The Scots Mag.  

The People’s Friend was an ‘outstanding winner’ in the Media Brand of the Year category being both a multi-channel and multi-layered brand. 

Beano took home two awards. The team were awarded Children’s Magazine of the Year for evolving into a modern publication whilst keeping the essence of their roots. Their second win was Event of the Year for the Art of Breaking the Rules which judges dubbed both ‘creative and innovative’ while perfectly capturing their audience.  

Wullie Marr was awarded the Editorial Photograph of the Year for ‘Amanda Buchan’ in Evening Express as his entry exemplified the power of great photography. 

The team at My Weekly picked up the award for Newsletter of the Year with judges commenting specifically on the high quality of their newsletter. 

Special mention to bunkered who were nominated in a staggering five categories including, Event of the Year for bunkered Live, Podcast of the Year and Magazine Cover of the Year, Bryce Ritchie for Editor of the Year and Michael McEwan for Columnist of the Year.  

Find the full list of winners here.  

 

It’s party time for Puzzler Media

 

Back in 1972 Puzzler hit the newsstands as the nation’s first ever dedicated puzzle magazine. Now, Puzzler Media turns 50 and they’re celebrating in style.  

What better way to mark the occasion than a specially designed puzzle!? Screen Test is 50 cunning ‘rebus’ puzzles based around TV shows from the last 50 years. This real-life installation has been in the window of the DC Thomson Fleet Street office since the 9th November and has caused a bit of head-scratching from passers-by as they ponder what a hammer sitting on a pile of Sherlock Holmes novels could possibly represent… For those who aren’t in or around London but still love to solve puzzles, Screen Test is also available online.  

 Puzzler’s head of innovation, Shameem Begg says: “We wanted a live experience to spread some joy to the millions of people who play puzzles every day. We knew it had to be something fun that spanned generations – just like Puzzler!   

“We all remember, with great fondness, TV shows from our youth so we’ve created a set of 50 visual clues to represent 50 of the UK’s best known TV shows from the last 50 years. Rebus puzzles make you smile when you solve them, the TV show Catchphrase is a great example – it started back in 1986 and people continue to watch it today because it’s so much fun to play along.”   

The fun doesn’t stop there… Puzzler Media released a gold-foiled edition of Puzzler, featuring some iconic and original puzzles, exclusive competitions and a special Miranda-themed selection curated by the one-and-only Miranda Hart. 

Miranda says, “I’m genuinely thrilled to have been asked to be guest editor for Puzzler, for it has been a good friend to me during both the good times and bad times of my half-century in this world. Yes, I too am turning 50 this year – all the greats were conceived in 1972 (my wholly unbiased opinion…).” 

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:/literacytrust.org.uk/communities/ 

 

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!”

LIVING

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 Beano.com/Marcus
To find out more about the EE and Beano campaign and see the comic strip, visit
ee.co.uk/beano

Beano reveal Britain’s Funniest Class

Britain’s Funniest Class have wowed the nation by appearing overnight on a giant billboard in Hitchin today, celebrating their crowning as the nation’s funniest school class.

The giant billboard, which was unveiled by the Beano team, appears to have been pasted up by Voyager year 5 class themselves. The incredible artwork features the winning class in comic form with their winning joke, which also appears in the iconic comic out today.

This year is the first time that the winning class and joke have been immortalised out in public. The Beano billboard aims to give the country a much-needed smile ahead of schools breaking up for the summer holidays.

The competition was fierce this year with hilarious jokes coming in from across the nation and receiving over 190,000 votes by the public, but it was Whitehill Junior School that snatched the top spot. “What do you call a class of children who eat potatoes using their toes?!  The Mash Street Kids!” joke won with 43.4 percent of the votes on Beano.com.

In true Dennis and Beano style, the winning jokes also appeared around Hitchin centre immortalising themselves in comic history. Locals in Hitchin were captured giggling away at the side-splitting works of art.

Members of the winning class were snapped with rollers and paste in Hitchin. The witty pranksters’ billboard stands at 11 ft tall.

Mike Stirling, Director of Mischief at Beano Studios said, “Now in its fourth year, ‘Britain’s Funniest Class’ gets kids reading, creating and laughing in classrooms all over the UK. At Beano, we’ve always said our greatest gags come from kids, and Whitehill Primary has proved this again. It’s a pun-believable joke The Bash Street Kids themselves would be proud of.”

The Beano artworks give members of Hitchin and the rest of the nation the chance to chuckle the day away at the nation’s funniest school kids.

Mr Steve Mills, Headteacher at Whitehill Junior School said, “The children had amazing fun creating their joke and for them to be immortalised on a billboard and the Beano comic is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We are delighted to be able to share their funniest joke with the rest of the nation and hopefully generate many chuckles this morning!”

A total of ten witty schools were shortlisted by Beano’s gag masters and Head Judge comedian Suzi Ruffell, before the public were given the deciding vote to crown the winner.

In second was ESMS Junior School in Edinburgh with 31.9 percent of the votes with their bonetastic joke – “Doctor: I’m afraid that we need to remove your whole spine. Patient: But why? Doctor: Because it’s really holding you back.”

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.

Beano, VisitScotland and ScotRail launch joint family campaign

Beano has teamed up with VisitScotland and ScotRail for the first time to promote family holidays and day trips across the country.

Dennis & Gnasher and Minnie the Minx are the faces of a new ‘blamazing’ tourism marketing campaign aimed to reignite families’ love of rail adventures in Scotland.

The two-year campaign aims to use the cross-generational appeal of one of the UK’s best-loved comics and ScotRail’s Kids for a Quid deal, to promote sustainable travel as part of Scottish tourism’s recovery.

VisitScotland has created a special landing page – www.visitscotland.com/beano – with Dennis, Gnasher and Minnie highlighting key places to visit in each of Scotland’s seven cities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth, Stirling), including dog-friendly days out.

The campaign forms part of VisitScotland’s drive for sustainable tourism in line with the national tourism strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030, and will use a variety of digital and print marketing to highlight attractions across Scotland.

The UK family market accounts for a third of all overnight and day trips in Scotland. Prior to the pandemic, overnight stays by families saw year-on-year growth since 2016, with an average 13% increase in trips on the previous year. UK families took 2.2 million overnight family holidays in Scotland in 2019 – an increase of 15% on 2018 and the highest in ten years.  ​​​​​​​

ScotRail Kids for a Quid tickets means up to four children (aged 5-15) can travel for just £1 return on off-peak and weekend journeys with every paying adult. Additionally, it also gives one free child entry to some of Scotland’s most popular attractions when purchasing a full price adult ticket at the attraction.

Mike Stirling, Beano’s Director of Mischief, commented: For me, Beano has always represented the heart of Scotland’s storytelling. As a kid, it was visiting new places by rail that sparked my own sense of imagination. I’d be engrossed in my comic as we left the station before glimpses of new places distracted me. On one trip, crossing the Tay Rail Bridge, a fellow passenger proudly informed me my Beano was created in my destination, Dundee. I was blown away something so cool was so close!

“The same goes for all of Scotland’s seven cities. Every visit, you come away with a new story to share. Our characters are ordinary kids exploring extraordinary imaginations and I hope Minnie, Dennis and Gnasher encourage many families, pets included, to get on board and create their own memorable stories during this special year.”

Vicki Miller, Director of Marketing and Digital at VisitScotland, said: “The UK family market makes up around a third of Scottish tourism trips and therefore it’s important we create fun and engaging content for parents and children as part of our tourism recovery plans.

“By working with ScotRail and Beano we aim to raise awareness of what makes Scotland a fantastic family destination and the benefits of exploring our ‘blamazing’ sights by rail. It is particularly appropriate that we should team up with one of the UK’s best-loved children’s comics during Scotland’s Year of Stories.

“The campaign will provide a creative way to further support the recovery of the tourism industry while promoting sustainable travel experiences to the benefit of visitors, communities and our environment.”

Lesley Kane, ScotRail Commercial Director, said“This is a fantastic partnership with the Beano and we are delighted to be able to play our part in helping families enjoy Scotland by train.

“Children love the train, and our Kids for a Quid offer provides real value for money. With more than 2,000 trains running every day across the country, there is no better way to give the kids an exciting day out and create new memories for your family.

“We are looking forward to welcoming more and more people back to our services to experience all that Scotland has to offer, by rail.”

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 beanobrain.com

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.”

www.futureskillscollege.org.uk

 

Beano launches Libraries Aloud for World Book Day 

Beano is launching a new children’s reading initiative – ‘Libraries Aloud’ – designed to encourage families to head to their local library and have fun reading out loud.  

The new campaign will see a series of free interactive ‘read-out-loud-a-longs’ take place in libraries across the country to celebrate libraries and reading for fun. 

Olympic legend, author, and father of three, Greg Rutherford is spearheading the initiative and leading a team of loud storytellers, including author Anna Whitehouse (Mother Pukka). The storytellers will read The World’s Loudest Ever Comic Strip in this week’s Beano, created especially for World Book Day (Thursday 3rd March). 

The special two-page strip, in this week’s comic which goes on sale on Wednesday 2nd March, has been designed for children to read out loud to help them unlock reading for fun. It contains, in true Beano style, over 35 crashes, bangs, parps, wallops and thwacks. 

The initiative was created as new research revealed that 75% of British children haven’t visited a library in over a year and 95% said that making noise and talking about stories made reading more fun. 

The poll of 2,000 British parents with children aged 6 and above highlights that reading for pleasure and access to libraries is on the decline.   

Unbelievably a quarter (26%) of kids have never visited a library in the UK. On average children have not visited their local library in over three years and well over four in five parents (84%) would like to visit their local library more often. 

Over half of children (55%) admit to being put off by the thought of going to the library because they think they need to stay quiet. However, nine in ten children (95%) said that making noise and talking about stories made reading more fun and three quarters of kids (77%) said they liked reading with their parents. 

Of those asked, over two thirds (72%) of parents said their children do not read for pleasure regularly and 81% of parents believe that children are reading less than they did when they were younger.  

The study revealed that children read six books a year, compared to their parents reading at least 10 books a year when they were kids.  

Mike Stirling Beano’s Director of Mischief said, “It’s been years since children had to stay silent in a libraries but many grown-ups still believe that rule applies. We’re excited for Beano to celebrate the fun and noise that is ‘aloud’ in libraries this World Book Day and hope it encourages everyone to plan a visit to their local library very soon.”   

Greg Rutherford said, “I absolutely love reading with my children, and Beano is a great gateway for them to get into reading – it’s just not just books, but comics too that form this magical world! It’s been an honour to be involved with this campaign and I hope as many people as possible can pick up a Beano this week and enjoy reading it loudly at their local library!” 

Research by the National Literacy Trust found that if all children in the UK read for pleasure almost daily, the number getting 5 good GCSEs could increase by 1.1 million in a generation. 

To unlock reading for fun for as many kids as possible, Beano has partnered with World Book Day to give away 15,000 comics to kids from today via the Beano website. A special Beano quiz has also been created to help kids to get loud and enjoy reading for fun. 

Greg Rutherford and Beano’s team of storytellers will be doing special read-out-loud-a-longs in libraries on World Book Day. More information and a special recording of Greg reading the World’s Loudest Comic Strip in Beano can be found here.

DC Thomson partners with NCTJ and Meta for Community News Project  

Two new community reporter roles have been created at the Press and Journal through a partnership with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and Meta (formerly Facebook). 

DC Thomson is one of 14 publishers who now join the Community News Project (CNP), which began in 2019. The scheme expands with £6 million funding from Meta, creating 18 additional community reporter roles across the country.  

The Press and Journal will have two new reporters covering the Western Isles, Fort William, Lochaber and Skye as part of the scheme which aims to support quality local journalism, report on underserved communities and improve the diversity of UK newsrooms. 

The P&J applied to join the scheme, demonstrating how the CNP reporters would engage a currently underserved community and/or location, as well as detailing how they would be supported in the newsroom and with their NCTJ training.  

Frank O’Donnell, editor in chief of The Press and Journal and Evening Express at DC Thomson, said: “People want to see news that matters to them, and this only happens through community reporters who really understand the issues and can talk to readers in a voice they recognise. 

“That’s why we’re delighted to be involved with this project because it aligns so closely with P&J values and allows us to put more eyes and ears on the ground in specific areas that are underserved.” 

Sarah Brown, head of local news partnerships, northern Europe at Meta, said: “At the heart of the CNP is a goal to surface real life stories from under-represented groups. We look forward to working with the NCTJ and our publishing partners in onboarding a new cohort of trainees who will share stories and viewpoints that don’t often get told.” 

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “This brilliant project continues to be a success story for the industry thanks to Meta’s on-going investment and the support of the publishers involved in the scheme.” 

The Press & Journal’s community reporter roles will be advertised in the coming weeks. 

Findmypast and The National Archives unveil 1921 Census of England and Wales

Findmypast and The National Archives have published the highly anticipated 1921 Census of England and Wales online today, as the 100-year rule, which ensures records are closed to the public for 100 years, has ended.

After three years of intensive conservation and digitisation and with the help and support of the Office for National Statistics, the Census is now available to search and explore online, at Findmypast.co.uk.

Taken on June 19th 1921, the Census saw over 38,000 enumerators dispatched to every corner of England of Wales to capture the details of more than 38 million people. This included over 8.5 million households as well as all manner of public and private institutions ranging from prisons and military bases to public schools and workhouses.

Offering more detail than any previous census, the 1921 Census of England and Wales not only asked individuals about their age, birth place, occupation and residence, but also their place of work, employer details, and gave ‘divorced’ as an option for marital status for the first time.

Falling between the two world wars, the record paints a disparate picture of England and Wales, from the Royal household to the average working-class citizen, still reeling from the impact of WW1, a major housing crisis, the Spanish flu pandemic, ravaged economy and industrial turmoil.

The publication of these documents mark the last significant census release for England and Wales in many people’s lifetime as the 1931 Census was destroyed in a fire and the 1941 Census was never captured due to the Second World War. This means the next census will not be available until 2052.

The 1921 Census demonstrates the rapid social and cultural change the country was undergoing, with the changing role of women and the impact of WW1 proving particularly apparent.

Owing to the vast number of men who fell in the war, the Census reveals there were 1,096 women for every 1,000 men recorded, with this discrepancy being the biggest for those aged between 20 and 45. This means there were over 1.7 million more women than men in England and Wales, the largest difference ever seen in a census.

There was also a dramatic increase in the number of people recorded in hospitals with a 35% increase from 1911, three quarters of whom were men, many presumably suffering from wounds received in the war.

As a result of the number of men killed or left permanently disabled, the 1921 Census also saw many more women stepping into employment, with an increase in the number of women working as engineers, vets, barristers, architects and solicitors.

From the famous to the infamous, the documents also provide a vivid snapshot of the lives of prominent individuals alive at that time, including cultural icons such as Lord of the Rings writer – J.R.R. Tolkien, Famous Five author – Enid Blyton, Peter Rabbit writer – Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh author – A.A. Milne and the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle.

In Scotland, National Records of Scotland takes responsibility for historical census data. NRS will be releasing their indexed images of 1921 Census returns for Scotland in the latter half of 2022. Ireland and Northern Ireland also conducted their own censuses separate from England and Wales. However, The 1921 Census was not taken in Ireland due to the Irish War of Independence. Censuses in Ireland and Northern Ireland were conducted in 1926.

Tamsin Todd, CEO of Findmypast said: “Taken between two world wars, following a global flu pandemic, during a period of economic turmoil and migration, with social change at home as women won the right to vote, the 1921 Census documents a moment in time that will resonate with people living today.

“It has been a great honour for Findmypast to work with The National Archives as its selected partner to digitise and transcribe the 1921 Census. I am incredibly proud of our Findmypast team who have worked with passion and dedication to conserve, scan, and transcribe 38 million historical records. Our advanced search technology enables family historians to easily find and view images of the 1921 Census, and connect individual records into their family trees. Family historians around the world can now meaningfully search the Census to reveal where and how their ancestors lived and worked 100 years ago.”

Part of the DC Thomson group, Findmypast is a fast-growing, technology-driven subscription service. With a bank of billions of digitised records, and access to some of the world’s most renowned historical databases, Findmypast allows customers to connect to people, both past and present, and visualise their family story in more detail than ever before.

DC Thomson writers awarded for work highlighting violence and abuse against women

DC Thomson writers have been recognised by Zero Tolerance, the Scottish charity which promotes gender equality, and challenges attitudes that ‘normalise violence and abuse against women’.

Journalists from the Sunday Post, The Courier and The Press and Journal were named as winners in the 2021 Write to End Violence Against Women Awards, which the charity has run since 2013.

The awards reward journalists and writers in Scotland who ‘raise awareness of these issues in a responsible and sensitive way’. A total of eight awards were made for articles written over the last year, with four pieces being from DC Thomson titles.

The Press and Journal took two awards. First was for Karen Roberts’ article on the how domestic abuse charities were struggling to cope with rising demand as the Covid-19 crisis increased the risk to victims. In the same title, Alex Watson was recognised for her chillingly candid column about a sexual attack on herself.

Kirsty Strickland from The Courier won the award for her comment piece on how changes to universal credit and tax credits could put women in abusive relationships at risk.

Marion Scott and Craig McDonald at The Sunday Post also picked up an award for their report on how 7,000 domestic violence cases were ‘trapped in Scotland’s courts logjam’.

Organisers of the awards said: “Reporting on violence against women can play a vital role in increasing understanding of violence against women and gender inequality and challenging their place in our society”.

DC Thomson CEO Rebecca Miskin said: “Giving a voice to the unheard and taking people in power to account is vital. It’s what matters to our writers and places them directly at the heart of their communities. I’m exceptionally proud that our journalists are being recognised, not just for the standard of their work but in such an important subject.”

DC Thomson appoints Rebecca Miskin as its new CEO for media business

DC Thomson has today (7th December 2021) announced the appointment of Rebecca Miskin as CEO of its media portfolio as the 116-year-old company progresses its ambitious growth plans.

Rebecca joined DC Thomson as Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer in summer 2020 and has been instrumental in developing the plan to consolidate DC Thomson’s media entities and create a scalable media company powered by data, technology and talent.

In this newly created position, Rebecca will be overseeing the company’s entire media operation, bringing together brands including Beano Studios, Stylist and Puzzler for the first time, as well as communities in energy, local and national news, teaching, crafts, sport and radio.

Rebecca, who retains her DC Thomson group strategy role, has a strong track record of leading digital transformation at major media companies, having previously been digital strategy director at Hearst, general manager at NBC Universal and commercial director at Time Inc.

Christopher Thomson, Chairman of DC Thomson, said: “Rebecca’s appointment as CEO is a crucial part of our transformation strategy, which looks afresh at how we can inform, entertain and delight audiences now and in the future. She will be supported by an experienced leadership team drawn from across the group to create engaging content and experiences that truly connect with our audiences.

“As a board, we are investing in technology and talent to support this plan, which will make sure we have the right skills and experience across our media business to create the engine for growth.”

Rebecca said: “DC Thomson was founded on creativity and entrepreneurialism. As the company transforms to prepare itself for the future, it is my mission to nurture that spirit.

“Throughout DC Thomson’s history, its ability to continually recognise the wants and needs of audiences has created successful brands that have grown and evolved. Now more than ever, readers, listeners and viewers want to feel a togetherness that comes from shared experiences.

“To survive and grow, we have to do more than just attract customers, we need to create loyal and long-lasting communities and we will achieve that by investing in technology, data and talent.”

DC Thomson scoops five awards at Scottish PPA’s

DC Thomson scooped awards in five categories in this year’s Scottish PPA Awards.

The ceremony in Glasgow saw Beano win Media Brand of the Year as a result of “an impressive range of innovative brand extensions and activities which helped to deliver a great commercial performance”.

Consumer Publication of the Year went to 110% Gaming for its strong brand identity and understanding of target audience, with The Scots Magazine being highly commended for the same category and winning Social Influencer of the Year in recognition of its social media response to changes brought on by the pandemic.

Animal Planet collected the prize for Sustainability Initiative of the Year following collaboration with external organisations and charities, alongside impressive consideration towards both audience experience and environmental impact.

The People’s Friend’s podcast ‘Reading between the Lines’ won Podcast of the Year with judges describing the show as “charming, enthralling, fun and lively”. The category had no shortlist this year which created great suspense for nominees.

Maria Welch, Head of Magazine Publishing at DC Thomson Media, said: “I’m delighted with the results of this year’s PPA Scotland Awards which recognise such a range of achievements.

“The breadth of awards received from sustainability to social media influence, showcases the diversity of our portfolio and a commitment to honouring our much-loved brands while continuously moving forward. The recognition of our teams and their efforts throughout the past year is thoroughly deserved.”

See the full list of results alongside the judges’ comments here.

Pure Radio welcomes new presenters

Pure Radio, the station by Scots, for Scots, unveils a new look to weekday afternoons and evenings, as well as weekend mornings with new presenters joining the rapidly-expanding channel.  

Stuart McCully, well known to Aberdonians from his show on Original 106, has taken up residency in the weekday 4pm to 8pm slot. Meanwhile, Fraser Thomson joins Pure from the Greatest Hits Network and entertains listeners from 1pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Ross Turnbull, who has won fans from his stints filling in around the Pure schedule is given his own show in a new slot for the station; weekend mornings 7am to 10am.  

Having launched just under two years ago across central Scotland, the DC Thomson-owned station has taken the country by storm, recently expanding in August to Aberdeenshire.  

Robin Galloway, Group Head of Presentation and presenter of Pure’s weekday breakfast show, said: “While other stations are becoming more and more formulaic and radio-by-numbers, we’re keeping things fresh for our listeners. We’re proud to be doing things differently and that includes looking around Scotland for talent ready to be given the chance to properly shine.  

“With McCully, Fraser and Ross we’ve got some of the hardest working guys ever to have sat in front of a mic and each one of them has got the cheeky streak of irreverence that makes Pure what it is. 

“We make no secret of the fact that the music that we play has a heavy emphasis on home-grown artists like Gerry Cinnamon, Lewis Capaldi, Simple Minds, Eurythmics and Deacon Blue. It makes sense that we champion home-grown talent in the studio too and that’s why we’re so proud to be welcoming our new presenters to join the Pure family.” 

Stuart McCully’s show is weekdays 4pm to 8pm and Fraser Thomson can be heard weekday afternoons, 1pm-4pm, from the same day. Ross Turnbull’s weekend show is every Saturday and Sunday morning (7am-10am) from December 4.  

Tune into Pure Radio through the app, online at pureradioscotland.com, or on smart speakers. 

    

Left to right: Stuart McCully, Fraser Thomson and Ross Turnbull.

Beano Studios and DC Thomson launch Emanata Studios to develop the UK’s largest comic book archive for film and television

  • Emanata Studios will develop the entire DC Thomson comic archive, the largest of its kind in the UK, for TV and film.
  • The archive includes popular titles such as ‘Dandy,’ ‘Commando,’ ‘Victor,’ ‘Jackie,’ and ‘Bunty’.
  • In theUS, Emanata is working with Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s media company, Westbrook Studios on a high concept drama, based on the very first British comic book superhero ‘The Amazing Mr X,’ who is featured in ‘Dandy’.
  • Emanata also has a live action dramedy based on ‘Dennis the Menace’ in development with Jerry Bruckheimer TV and CBS Productions and Fox Entertainment has picked up the rights for Bananaman and are developing an adult animation series with Bento Box (‘Bob’s Burgers’ and ‘Central Park’).

For the first time in its more than 100-year history, DC Thomson is opening up its entire comic archive to be developed for international audiences of all ages. Well-known titles and characters including ‘Hotspur,’ ‘Spellbound,’ ‘Mandy,’ ‘Beano’ and best-selling teen magazine ‘Jackie’ are being reimagined by a diverse range of new and established talent for newly created Emanata Studios, a division of Beano Studios.

Chief Creative Officer Mark Talbot will lead Emanata Studios, with a team of producers working alongside him, and he will continue to report into James Clayton, Chairman and David Guppy, CEO of Beano Studios. Emanata Studios will have offices in both Dundee, home of the comic archive, and London and is represented in the US by CAA.

Talbot commented“This is an incredibly unique place to be. This one-of-a-kind archive has preserved more than 2000 stories and characters and Emanata is the perfect studio to reawaken them. For those who already know them, and new audiences ready to be entertained, we can’t wait to reintroduce the world to Bunty, The Supercats, Nick Jolly the Flying Highway Man alongside the incredible Beano IP at our disposal.”

Emanata Studios also has an impressive range of projects in the works in the UK across drama, comedy and animation for adults and YA in the UK which include:

  • A UKTV comedy live action pilot script has been commissioned based on an iconic comic character from ‘Dandy’.
  • Screen Scotland, backed by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery, has funded a drama, written by Rae Brunton, based on character ‘Nick Jolly the Flying Highway Man’ who featured in the ‘Hotspur’ comic.
  • The development of a live action drama with each of Sky Studios and Drama Republic, and two adult animations with MTV Entertainment Group.

Beano Studios Chairman James Clayton added: “With sole ownership of the UK’s largest comic book archive and ever-increasing demand for premium content, it’s the perfect time for Emanata to renew these treasured stories and characters for modern audiences.”

Plus, Emanata Studios is excited to announce the launch of its 2022 New Writers’ Bursary. Submissions will open in January, via the Emanata website, for a bursary of £30k which will be awarded to three writers from underrepresented groups to write a pilot script based on IP from the DC Thomson archive. Previous recipients include Adjani Salmon, Ameir Brown, Lara Peake and Leila Navabi, with one project in development with a UK broadcaster.

Full details and more information can be found on the Emanata website.

Shaun Ritchie documentary receives overwhelming response

The Press and Journal’s documentary on the disappearance of Shaun Ritchie – Missing from The Broch: The Disappearance of Shaun Ritchie – has broken all records for engagement with almost 1,000 people signing up to watch it in the first 10 days alone.  

Shaun Ritchie, 20, vanished from Fraserburgh on October 31st, 2014, after travelling with friends in a van to a remote farm. A disturbance took place at the location leading the group to disperse. While his friends all returned safely, Shaun was never seen again, and his disappearance has been one of Police Scotland’s biggest ever missing persons investigations.      

The documentary sheds new light on the case, for the first time naming all of those who were present on that night and revealing that an axe attack allegedly took place on the same night at the same location. However, police say this was not linked to Shaun’s disappearance. Police still maintain that they do not believe any criminality was involved, but Shaun’s family have asked for a new team to investigate the case.    

Impact investigations reporter Sean O’Neil worked closely with a wider team on the documentary. They included Mhairi Edwards, Blair Dingwall, Gregor Aiken and Kenny Elrick who carried out direct filming. Clarke Cooper created graphics for the piece and audio producer Morven McIntyre provided voiceovers and sound support. Drew Farrell edited the documentary while story designer Cheryl Livingstone was responsible for the launch plan. The entire project took several months from the initial idea put forward by Sean, through to the launch.    

Sean O’Neil said: “Missing from The Broch: The Disappearance of Shaun Ritchie was several months in the making and thankfully it appears to have resonated with our audience. Shaun has been missing for seven years and our documentary was able to bring fresh information to public attention for the first time and hopefully can help get the answers his family so desperately want. 

“The documentary was a collaborative effort between Impact/Content Development and AV. I first pitched the idea in April having followed Shaun’s case for a number of years and started pre-interviews and on-camera interviews in May. Some, like Police Scotland, took four months from initial contact, chasing up, to them sitting down in front of camera.     

“That allowance for time, and the co-operation of Shaun’s friends and family, were the key elements to the documentary’s success and in bringing Shaun’s case to a new light.” 

Video trailers for the documentary went live on social media on the morning of Sunday 31st October making people aware it would go live at 8pm. The trailer over-performed by 15.5 times, while the social posts for the main documentary over-performed by 3.5 times. The 40-minute video has also had more than 3,500 plays since launch with engagement at record levels. Around half of people who watched made it to the 90% mark, which is extremely unusual of for a video of that length.    

Richard Prest, Head of Content Development, said: “This was a hugely important piece of work by the team to help a family shed light on the disappearance of their loved one, Shaun Ritchie. We chose to tell his story as a documentary as it was the best way to convey the impact on those involved as well as guiding our subscribers through the important, but complex, chain of events that led to his disappearance.   

“We can only hope that our work helps identify relevant information that brings some form of closure to his family”.   

Watch the documentary here.

DC Thomson Media shortlisted across eight categories at the PPA Scotland Awards

DC Thomson Media has been shortlisted 11 times across eight categories in this year’s Scottish PPA Awards.

The Scots Magazine has been shortlisted for the Consumer Publication of the Year award alongside the Event of the Year award for their Adventure is on Your Doorstep campaign.

Beano and 110% Gaming are also shortlisted for the Consumer Publication of the Year award, with Beano picking up a second nomination for Media Brand of the Year.

DC Thomson Media’s newest kids’ title, Animal Planet, has been shortlisted for Launch/Relaunch of the Year alongside the Scottish Caravans and Motorhomes Park Guide.

Platinum’s virtual event Platinum Live has been shortlisted in the Brand Extension of the Year category with Laura Mincher, Design Editor, nominated for Designer of the Year.

Individual nominations have also been awarded to Michael McEwan, bunkered’s Digital Editor, for Columnist of the Year and My Weekly’s Hope Wilson for Young Journalist of the Year.

Mike Watson, CEO of DC Thomson Media, said: “This is wonderful recognition of the hard work and talent across our Media portfolio.

“I’m delighted that our newer titles such as Animal Planet and Platinum have been recognised alongside historic brands such as The Scots Magazine. This shows the talent of our teams to continuously innovate while staying true to our readership.

“Well done to all the teams involved and best of luck on awards night.”

The award ceremony will be held at Oran Mor in Glasgow on December 1st, 2021.

View the full shortlist here.

Findmypast reveal what’s to come in the highly anticipated 1921 Census

Findmypast has revealed a sneak peek of the digitisation process of the 1921 Census of England and Wales, which will be officially published online on 6 January 2022.

Taken on 19 June 1921, the census paints a vivid picture of the population as it was on that one night one hundred years ago.

For two and a half years and counting, a team of hundreds of Findmypast conservators, technicians and transcribers have undertaken the invaluable task of conserving, transcribing and digitising the 1921 Census in association with The National Archives and with the help and support of the Office for National Statistics.

It is the largest project ever completed by The National Archives and Findmypast, consisting of more than 30,000 bound volumes of original documents stored on 1.6 linear kilometres of shelving.

Everyone will be able to search and explore the census online, only at Findmypast, from 6 January 2022, allowing them to access the previously unseen archival material from the comfort of their homes. Users can discover more about their family’s past and learn what life was like in England and Wales a century ago.

This highly anticipated launch is likely to be the last significant census release for England and Wales in many people’s lifetime. Taken once a decade, the census remains secret for 100 years before being opened to the public. However, as the 1931 Census was destroyed in a fire at the Office for Works in 1942, and the 1941 Census was never captured owing to the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1921 Census will fill a huge gap for historians.

The 1921 Census offers more detail than any previous one taken. For the first time, individuals were asked not only about their occupations but also their place of work, employer, and were given ‘Divorced’ as an option for marital status. As well as searching for individuals, users will also have the ability to search the census by address to uncover the history of their local area or home and the stories of former occupants.

Taken between two world wars, during a period of economic turmoil and at a time when women had just won the right to vote, the 1921 Census will reveal some incredible findings about society and how it has evolved over the past 100 years.

The 1921 census will be available online, only at findmypast.co.uk, from 6th January 2022.

Read more on the highly anticipated census release here.

DC Thomson News Brands journey to the heart of Scotland’s climate crisis

DC Thomson’s daily newspapers are travelling across Scotland to report on how the climate crisis is impacting on local communities ahead of international COP26 talks in Glasgow.

Journalists from The Courier and The Press and Journal are driving an electric van from John O’Groats to Glasgow, looking to find out what the climate emergency means to audiences in their titles’ circulation areas.

The eight-day tour, which begun on October 21 and ends on the 28th, will look at what climate change means for local wildlife, the fishing industry, emissions from industry and for flooding risks in towns, cities and villages.

Writers from DC Thomson’s news brands will report on some of the potential solutions to climate problems, investigating peatland restoration and reforestation.

They will also meet readers from across Scotland – hosting eight climate chats – asking them what the climate crisis means to them ahead of the world climate talks in Glasgow.

A road trip diary, appearing daily on the websites for both titles, will capture the journey.

The team will also publish a short documentary about their trip to coincide with the talks beginning.

Peter John Meiklem, Head of Transport and the Environment for The Courier, said: “We have organised this road trip to better understand how the climate crisis is changing our communities.

“We hope to learn more about how the climate crisis is shaping our communities. To find out how the people who read and watch our content feel about the growing emergency.  And to discover what they would tell the decision makers in Glasgow if they had the chance.

“Our journalists will stop in cities, towns and villages in the Highlands, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perthshire.”

Philippa Gerrard, P&J Environment and Transport Journalist, said: “It’s been an exciting adventure so far. Travelling such large distances in the electric van has been a real eye opener.

We plan to tell the climate stories that matter, taking the pulse of our communities as they stand on the brink of an enormous change.

“We want to capture their hopes and fears as Scotland heads down the road towards net zero emissions by 2045.”

As part of their radical newsroom restructure, a component of DC Thomson’s wider Transformation Programme, the News Brand teams are continuing to develop new ways of delivering news and digital storytelling. This includes advancing DC Thomson’s developing reputation for first-class environmental reporting across digital and print.

Community-focused car club operator Co Wheels is the transport sponsor for the trip, providing a new electric van to transport DC Thomson journalists on the journey.

Somerset House’s blockbuster autumn exhibition Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules opens

Somerset House’s blockbuster autumn exhibition Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules opened in spectacular style on Wednesday night.

Somerset House’s Director Jonathan Reekie welcomed a host of famous faces from the worlds of art, fashion and comedy to the exhibition that celebrates the world’s longest-running weekly comic – Beano – and its mix of mayhem, mischief and fun, led by its beloved band of characters, such as Dennis and Gnasher, Minnie the Minx and Bananaman.

Special guests included comedian Frank Skinner, actress Lily Newmark and broadcaster Zezi Ifore and many of the exhibition’s contributing artists, such as Turner Prize winner Martin Creed.

Curated by artist Andy Holden, the exhibition took guests on a trip through Beanotown itself with larger-than-life recreations of Beano’s most iconic backdrops, as if stepping inside the pages of the comic.  Hanging on the colourful walls of Bash Street School, the homes of Gasworks Road and Bunkerton Castle, and situated outside on the streets of Beanotown, invitees discovered an eclectic collection of contemporary artworks from over 50 of today’s greatest creative rule-breakers, inspired by Beano’s spirit of rebellion and sense of playfulness.  In an exhibition that is just as unconventional as its content, their audacious artworks are shown alongside over 100 comic artworks from the Beano archive, including original drawings never previously seen in public, exploring its lasting impact on the contemporary cultural landscape and upcoming generations of creatives.

After viewing the exhibition, guests then entered an exclusive reception in Somerset House’s Seamen’s Hall and followed a bright yellow carpet onto its River Terrace, with its sweeping views of the capital, decorated with red and black neon illuminations, in homage to the style-staple striped red and black jumpers of Dennis and Minnie.  Inspired by the antics of Beano’s mischievous heroes, whoopee cushions were also placed on seats along the River Terrace.​​​​​​​

The exhibition received fantastic coverage and reviews following the opening night, with write-ups in The Guardian, awarding the exhibit 5 stars (Somerset House’s first 5-star exhibition review!!), i and The Londonist, to name a few.

Findmypast partners with The Francis Frith Collection to release 300,000 new historical photographs

  • Over 300,000 historical photographs available to search online at Findmypast for the first time in partnership with The Francis Frith Collection
  • Covering all corners of the UK and beyond, this vast new Findmypast resource enables family historians to add colour and context to their ancestor’s stories, witnessing sights and scenes of daily life from up to 150 years ago
  • Spanning 1860 to 1970, the Francis Frith collection provides a valuable photographic record of British life, chronicling over 100 years of dramatic change in vivid detail​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Findmypast has added over 300,000 historical photographs chronicling more than a century of British life to its vast archive of family history records.

Published in partnership with the UK’s leading publisher of local photographs since 1860, Francis Frith, and available to search online at Findmypast for the first time. The collection forms a valuable photographic record of daily life in Victorian, Edwardian and 20th century Britain.

Spanning two centuries (1860 to 1970) and covering more than 9,000 cities, towns and villages across the UK, the collection provides both family historians and history enthusiasts alike with the opportunity to come face to face with their ancestors or step back in time to witness sights and scenes from the nation’s past.

Available to search by date, location and keyword, this visually rich resource captures thousands of individual streets, landmarks, landscapes, businesses, buildings and locations that would have played a defining role in people’s lives. Each search result also details the image’s date, original description and location, including the latitude and longitude allowing for easy identification on Google maps.

Also included are images of individuals, families, significant national and local events ranging from Royal Jubilees to village fetes, as well a wide variety of images captured overseas.

The collection not only documents the changing face of locations across the British Isles, it also portrays a diverse array of localities across the world that shaped the destiny of people’s ancestors. This includes a wide array of fascinating images from Egypt, Canada, France, Germany Gibraltar, Hawaii, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States. ​​​​​​​

Find out more and search the collection here.

Puzzler Presents…The People’s Friend Puzzles 

Puzzler and The People’s Friend have joined forces to create a brand-new magazine!

Puzzler has been working with the wonderful people at The People’s Friend to bring you an exclusive collection of top-quality brainteasers!

The People’s Friend Puzzles is crammed with puzzles to suit all tastes. From fun Wordsearches and Kriss Krosses to more challenging Logic Problems, Sudoku and Cryptic Crosswords, all are sure to keep you entertained for hours and give those little grey cells a workout, too. As well as the Straight Talking and Cryptics, crossword fans will enjoy the Missing Links, which are a great test of word association skills. If you fancy yourself as a general knowledge expert, don’t miss the Quiz Crosswords. Of course, even the keenest puzzlers need to take a moment to reflect and recharge their solving batteries, and our Set the Scene puzzles are perfect for relaxing and taking in the beautiful images whilst enjoying a cuppa.

The People’s Friend Puzzles is on sale on 22 September and priced £5.99. Available to buy in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda, WHSmith, Waitrose and M&S.

Also available to buy online here.

News brands celebrate wins at the UK Regional Press Awards

The Press and Journal and Evening Express’ newspaper delivery team scooped the Special 2020 Award for the dedication of their 750-strong home delivery network.

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, they surpassed all expectations delivering an increased number of papers as people were forced to stay at home.

From writing letters of support to running errands, the delivery team served their communities proud, and they have now been recognised with this prestigious award.

Head of newspaper sales and marketing, Neil Mackland, said: “The coronavirus pandemic challenged us all in 2020.

“But for the girls and boys who make up our home delivery network, it brought out the very best of them.

“We were faced with challenges at the start of lockdown, however we received strong support from parents and customers as they could see we were doing absolutely everything we could to ensure safe working conditions with no impact on our delivery service.

“We started receiving letters and calls of thanks from our readers, passing on their appreciation for the amazing work by our very own home delivery heroes.

“We also witnessed many examples of our newsboys and girls offering to collect shopping, take out bins and run errands for our most vulnerable customers.

“We are proud to be associated with them.”

Press and Journal editor-in-chief, Frank O’Donnell, added: “We rightly saluted our frontline workers who kept the country going during lockdown.

“But perhaps one group that went unheralded were the paper boys and girls, who brought trusted local news on the pandemic directly to people’s doors.

“A daily newspaper written by professional journalists was so important to people across the north and north-east, especially in those early stages of Covid-19, when misinformation and rumour were common.

“Not only did these youngsters keep delivering, they offered to help those who couldn’t leave their homes by bringing vital supplies and running errands.

“This says so much about the strength of our communities, the future of our region and the big heart of our young people. I am proud to know them.”

The Courier and two of our journalists also came away with successes at the awards, announced on Thursday 16th September.

The Courier came highly commended in the Daily Newspaper of the Year (above 400,000 monthly reach) category.

Dale Haslam was highly commended in the Specialist Writer/Impact Journalist of the Year category, while Lesley-Anne Kelly was also highly commended in the Data Journalist of the Year category.

For the full list of winners visit the Society of Editors online.

 

Beano joins forces with Radley London to create iconic collection

 

Beano’s comic strips have been styled by Radley London into expertly crafted, collectable designs. Illustrations of Dennis, Gnasher, Minnie and Radley’s Scottie dog create mischief across bags, card holders and purses.  The rebellious collection will be available exclusively in Radley’s London and Glasgow stores, selected concessions and online from 4th October.​​​​​​​

Dennis’s iconic black and red stripes are referenced throughout the collection, including the ‘Breaking Rules’ Book Street bag, which features screen prints and foil embossing on luxurious leather.  The large black tote has appliqué badges of the Beano characters and slogans and includes a detachable striped Scottie dog key fob who dons his very own red and black striped jumper.  The collection also includes a highly collectible leather card holder which features the iconic Dennis and Gnasher fan club logo.  The Dennis fan club was originally created in 1976 and this is the first time it has been brought to life in a licensed deal.

Vanessa Andreis, Franchise Planning and Partnerships Director, Beano Studios says, “In this momentous year for Dennis we’ve chosen iconic partnerships to commemorate his 70 years. Bringing a bit of Dennis’s loveable mischief to Radley London will be a special part of Dennis history and thanks to their incredible craftsmen we’re sure these collectible products will still be around for the next 70 years of this iconic character.”

Radley London is an official partner of Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules – a major exhibition at Somerset House.  Radley’s rebellious collection of Beano-inspired handbags and accessories will be available to buy within a special pop-up shop at Somerset House during the exhibition, which runs from 21 October 2021 until 6 March 2022.

Jackie Hay, Radley London, Chief Product Officer comments, “We are so delighted to join with Beano and Dennis in this very special year.  Our Design Team had enormous fun creating a playful collection which brings Dennis and his friends into our world.  The exclusive Picture Bag designs are made by hand by our artisan craftsmen – including cutting, dying, stitching and printing – and we can’t wait to see our collection run riot this Autumn on our handbags, purses and of course our very own Dennis fan club card wallet.” ​​​​​​​

The landmark exhibition, Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules at Somerset House will explore the relationship between Beano and contemporary art pieces with unruliness and irreverence, through the eyes of the artists who embody the Beano sensibility of rebellion.

The major exhibition will feature original comic drawings, never previously seen in public, selected across its 4,000-plus editions (to date) and rare archive artefacts, alongside works from leading artists and designers, imbued with the same Beano spirit of breaking the rules. Recently announced contributors include artists Nicola Lane and Peter Leversidge and editorial cartoonist Martin Rowson.

Beano was first published by DC Thomson in July 1938 and is still put together in its original Dundee headquarters and printed in the UK each week. Beano has an ABC of 54,800 – an increase of 9.0% YOY. The brand reaches over 5m kids a month on its digital network, centred around multi-award winning Beano.com and fans in more than 100 countries across the world can watch Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed!, the Emmy nominated TV series.

DC Thomson Media shortlisted for 36 press awards

DC Thomson Media has received an incredible 36 nominations at the UK Regional Press Awards and the Scottish Press Awards. 

The Sunday Post, The Courier, The Press and Journal, Evening Telegraph, Evening Express and Energy Voice have all been shortlisted across a number of categories. 

Several members of the editorial team also received individual nominations including journalists Dale Haslam and Lesley-Anne Kelly and photographer Mhairi Edwards who have all been nominated at both the UK and Scottish awards. 

Richard Neville, head of news brands at DC Thomson, said: “This is fantastic recognition of the hard work and talent of our editorial teams. 

“It has been a year of transformational change in our newsrooms, with the additional challenge of getting our newspapers and magazines out each day during a global pandemic. But our journalists, specialist writers, photographers, columnists and production staff stepped up to ensure our loyal readers stayed informed and entertained throughout. 

“It is particularly pleasing to see the Aberdeen Home Delivery team recognised in the Special Award for 2020 category for their incredible work getting papers out to our readers during lockdown.” 

The UK Regional Press Awards are taking place virtually on September 16 and the Scottish Press Awards will be held in Glasgow on September 29. 

A full list of the nominations available below. 

https://www.scotns.org.uk/awards/ 

https://www.societyofeditors.org/events/regional-press-awards-for-2020/shortlist/ 

Beano Crown ‘Britain’s Funniest Class’ in Third Year of Annual Competition

Beano has been on the hunt for Britain’s Funniest Class 2021 and the submissions have been undeniably top grade.

The annual competition, which is currently in its third year, challenges kids across the country to find their funny bones and submit their best quips in hope of securing the title as ‘Britain’s Funniest Class 2021’.

From ‘knock-knock’ to ‘what did?’ jokes there were heaps of hilarious submissions, but Forthill Primary School in Dundee took the top spot with this year’s winning joke “What did the facemask say to the mouth? Let me cover for you!”. The topical-inspired joke received over 21.7% of the final votes on Beano.com and Forthill Primary School’s Class 5B are revealed as Britain’s Funniest Class and immortalised as Beano characters in the comic on sale today.

A total of ten quick-witted school classes were shortlisted by a panel of Beano’s gag masters, before the public were given the deciding vote to crown the winner.

Runners up, Greystones Primary School weren’t far behind the winners with their very COMICal punchline securing 17.4% of votes – ‘What did the teacher say to the comic lover as a punishment? There will Beano comics for you’.

Rounding off the top three came St John the Baptist Primary with their rib-tickler, “Where’s the best place to take a dog for a walk? Leeds” and 11% of the votes.

The top 10 jokes, all true Beano-esque funnies, are as follows:

Final Position School Class Name Shortlisted joke %
1st Forthill Primary school 5B

 

What did the facemask say to the mouth? Let me cover for you!” 21.7
2nd Greystones Primary School Y5R What did the teacher say to the comic lover as a punishment? There will Beano comics for you. 17.4
3rd St John the Baptist Primary School 4S Where’s the best place to take a dog for a walk? Leeds 11.1
4th Upton Meadows Primary 6YG Knock knock. Who’s there? Justin. Justin who? Justin time to read Beano. 9
5th Bradford Christian School Year 5 & 6 What did Minnie change her name to when Rubi’s ‘Growth Ray’ experiment went wrong?
Minnie the Shrinks!
8.9
6th Hampton Hill Junior School 5R Why did the mobile phone go for an eye test?
Because it lost its contacts!
7.4
7th Howardian Primary School 5HB What did the pen say to the rock?
Nothing, because pens can’t talk.
7.2
8th Uffculme Primary School Year 4 What does a scary panda say?
Bam boooooooo!
6.8
9th Finton House School 3N Q. What is the coldest Christmas food?
A. Pigs in blankets
5.3
10th Porthcawl Primary School Llynfi Why didn’t the robber steal Bea’s sweets?
Because no-one would stoop that low!
4.9

Beano’s Mike Sterling presented the class at Forthill Primary School with the official Beano ‘Britain’s Funniest Class’ trophy alongside a bundle of Beano goodies including comic subscriptions for the whole class and books courtesy of Studio Press.

Mike Stirling, Editorial Director at Beano Studios said, “Beano is always there for kids seeking a joke to share with their friends and these new gags will continue to bring laughs to friends and families this summer. We’ve learned our greatest gags have always come from kids themselves and Britain’s Funniest Class has schooled us yet again, raising some much-needed chuckles in classrooms. With the summer holidays Beano can’t guarantee sun, but we 100% promise fun!”

The annual competition in partnership with YoungMinds, the children and young people’s mental health charity, aims to lift classroom spirits and tickle funny-bones whilst providing teachers with free educational resources linked to the curriculum.

All finalist schools will have their jokes added to Beano’s joke generator (www.beano.com/jokes) and receive special Beano certificates marking their achievement.

The comic featuring Britain’s Funniest Class and the shortlisted jokes is on sale now.

Royal Mail Marks Dennis’ 70th Anniversary with set of 10 Special Stamps

On Thursday 1st July, Royal Mail announced the launch of a new set of stamps celebrating 70 years of the British comic character Dennis.

Six stamps look back at Dennis through the ages; from his first ever black-and-white comic strip in 1951, to important events in his life, including meeting his baby sister, Bea, adopting Gnasher, and even finding out that his dad is a grown-up version of Dennis from the 1980s. These stamps are based on original strips from Beano comics of the time.

A further four stamps, exclusively illustrated by the current Dennis artist, Nigel Parkinson, show the culmination of an exclusive comic strip. The strip, written especially for Royal Mail is featured in the Presentation Pack. The story focuses on Dennis’s birthday celebrations and includes a brief ‘history of Menaces’. The light-hearted episodes end with a birthday surprise, with the final comic strip frame revealing the four new stamps.

Natasha Ayivor, Royal Mail said: ”For seven decades Dennis has been entertaining children by getting into all manner of mischief and mayhem. Generations have experienced the excitement and anticipation of reading about Dennis’s latest prank. Royal Mail is delighted to be honouring Dennis and Gnasher with a set of stamps as the ultimate birthday present.”

Mike Stirling, Editorial Director of Beano Studios said: “Dennis has stamped his personality across first class laughs and mischief for generations of children. We believe everyone has a little bit of the Dennis spirit within them, so can’t wait for fans big and small to take delivery of this amazing piece of Dennis history. This incredible stamp collection really pushes the envelope of philately flattery for our hero.”

Royal Mail collaborated with Beano Studios on selecting all the stamps and associated imagery featured in the issue.

Dennis through the years:

Dennis – ‘the world’s wildest boy’ – was first brought to life in a pencil sketch on the back of a cigarette packet in January 1951. Seventy years later, his mischievous pranks and cheeky grin have not only earned him a place in the hearts of readers of all ages but also ensured that he remains one of Beano’s most famous creations.

Dennis made his first appeared in issue no. 452 of Beano, dated 17 March 1951. It would be another few weeks before he donned his legendary red and black striped jumper, but in this half-page strip, illustrated by artist David Law, readers were offered their first glimpse of the cheeky schoolboy in action as he ignored signs to ‘keep off the grass’ at a local park with hilarious results.

Prior to 1954, Dennis’s strip appeared either in black and white – as per his very first appearance – or supplemented with red, but in February of that year, ‘the world’s wildest boy’ went on his first full-colour adventure on Beanos back page. Of course, full colour only heightened the mischief, and as Dennis embarked on a day of trainspotting, he not only tricked the train station staff to get onto the platform but ultimately found himself driving the train.

In August 1968, Dennis’s life changed forever when he met a stray Abyssinian wire-haired tripe hound whom he decided to name Gnasher. In the first story featuring the now infamous duo, Gnasher proved that he was just as much of a prankster as his human pal when he swiped a bone from one of the ‘pampered pooches’ at a local dog show – and a fight ensued. Gnasher would go on to star in his own strip from 1977.

After 26 years on the cover of Beano, Biffo the Bear was finally ousted from the front page by Dennis in September 1974. It was a change that had been hinted at two years previously, when Dennis announced his desire to star on the front cover while featuring in a Biffo strip, and it is one that, over the years, has proved incredibly successful – Dennis has appeared on the front cover of almost every issue of the Beano since.

Dennis first met his porcine chum Rasher in May 1979, when he spotted the ‘fine porker’ jumping on his trough at Wurzle Farm. After Dennis agreed to take Rasher off the farmer’s hands, the pig further endeared himself to Dennis when they ran into Walter Brown and he pushed over Dennis’s arch-nemesis, breaking his piggy bank. In 1984, thanks to his popularity with readers, Rasher was given his own strip, which ran regularly in Beano until 1988.

Shortly after Beano celebrated its 60th anniversary in 1998, Dennis’s mum and dad had a big surprise in store for Dennis: his mum was pregnant! In the 19 September issue, Dennis’s little sister – Bea – arrived. Although Dennis was initially hesitant at the prospect of having a girl in the family, it turned out that Bea was not unlike her big brother when it came to causing mischief.

In May 2015, Dennis fans were left gobsmacked when Beano revealed that Dennis’s dad was in fact Dennis 30 years earlier. In the strip, footage was unearthed of Dennis Senior as a boy in which the youngster – dressed as Dennis from older editions of the comic – could be seen engaging in a variety of pranks that, in the present, suitably impressed his young son.

The stamps and range of collectible products are available from here.

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Beano Guinness World Record comic strip unveiled in V&A Dundee

The much-anticipated winning comic strip of the Beano Guinness World Record ’Finish the Comic Strip’ competition has been unveiled in the Thomson Learning Centre at V&A Dundee.

Prize winner ten-year-old Louise Taylor from Newport-on-Tay, across the water from V&A Dundee, watched the museum emerge at the waterfront from her bedroom window and was inspired to enter the competition.

Louise and her mum, Kathryn, visited Beano HQ at Meadowside, Dundee to work with the Beano team on the strip, which is based on her original competition entry.

 

Mike Stirling, Editorial Director of Beano Studios and Global Ambassador for Dundee said, “Louise visited us in Beano Studios and led an editorial conference where she quickly proved her winning entry was indicative of her amazing creative skills. We couldn’t believe it when Louise revealed she’d actually watched V&A Dundee grow from her own bedroom window.

“This grew into a brilliant Beano comic strip story, illustrated by Nigel Parkinson, our star artist. I hope everyone enjoys reading Louise’s story for years to come – it’s another awesome reason for folks to visit V&A Dundee.”

 

Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief at Guinness World Records, said: “As a records adjudicator and a Dundonian, I’m honoured to have worked alongside our friends at Beano to make Louise’s vision become a reality. It just goes to show the power of creative and inventive thinking, and how we should all indulge our inner artist. I can’t wait to get back to the V&A Dundee to see Louise’s mirror for myself. I’m sure it will be Officially Amazing!”

 

Visitors to V&A Dundee’s opening weekend 3D Festival in September 2018 were challenged to complete a bespoke eight-page V&A Dundee-inspired comic strip, starring beloved Beano characters including Dennis and Gnasher, Minnie the Minx and The Bash Street Kids.

The iconic British children’s entertainment brand received almost 800 entries in the competition, in a bid to achieve the Guinness World Record title for largest ‘Finish the Comic Strip’ competition.

In the comic strip, pupils of Bash Street School were invited to the opening of V&A Dundee, where they met the museum’s architect Kengo Kuma and Director Philip Long.

The final panel challenged entrants to draw something they think should be on display in V&A Dundee. Louise’s winning comic strip designed a mirror which made anyone look like V&A Dundee’s striking exterior, with its horizontal lines and leaning walls.

The winning entry was personally chosen by Philip Long, Director of Scotland’s first design museum, from the hundreds of entries received.

The completed strip also features a guest appearance from long-time Beano fan and fashion designer Eunice Olumide MBE, who is also one of the museum’s Design Champions, modelling a unique V&A Dundee-styled dress.

 

Eunice Olumide MBE said: “I am thrilled to be featured in a Beano comic strip inspired by Louise’s amazing young imagination and now on show in Scotland’s first design museum.

“It was brilliant to meet her and hear more about how Beano and V&A Dundee have both inspired her creativity.”

 

Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “The opening of V&A Dundee was an incredible moment and we were so proud to work with Beano and everyone at DC Thomson to achieve a new Guinness World Record.

“Louise’s idea for mirrors which turn people into the shape of V&A Dundee was the clear winner. It perfectly fits the humour and mischief of Beano, and it’s very fitting that a new Beano comic strip inspired by her design idea is now on display in our museum.”

 

The finished comic strip is now on display in The Thomson Learning Centre in V&A Dundee and can be seen at the museum’s next Young People’s Design Day on Saturday 8 February.