DC Thomson Media is creating up to 20 new journalism jobs as it attempts to “future proof” the business past the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Scottish publisher said it is looking to secure a “new and dynamic way forward” at its newspapers The Press and Journal, The Courier, Evening Telegraph and Evening Express by putting “significant” investment into its newsroom transformation programme.
The Apollo programme, which has been in the making for 18 months, will see content for each of several main subject areas created by specialist teams with a focus on giving audiences “the content they want, when and how they want it”.
This will entail more use of video, live broadcasting, programme making, audio producing, animation, interactive graphics and live events alongside the print papers, with the ultimate aim of driving digital subscriptions.
Leaders for the live news, business, entertainment, sport and transport environment teams are among the roles available while existing staff are currently being transitioned to new positions.
Ten journalists will make up the live news team, described as the “beating heart” of DC Thomson’s Aberdeen and Dundee newsrooms, and will create digital-first breaking news and trending stories.
Find out more about some of the job roles available on Press Gazette:
- Job advert: Head of Business, Press and Journal
- Job advert: Live News Team Leader
- Job advert: Data Content Specialist
- Job advert: Group Picture Editor
These teams of journalists will be supported by teams in areas including content development, audience, and data and insight.
An engagement executive and multiple social media managers and SEO analysts are among the roles available in these areas and senior audience staff have already been poached from News UK and Hearst.
Richard Neville (pictured), who is leading the newsroom transformation as head of news brands, said: “We are hoping the fortunes of society in general take an upturn in 2021, but we also believe changes in our news brands team will result in a new and dynamic way forward for our publishing business.
“We want to hear from anyone who wants to join a progressive, ambitious and innovative publisher. People who are interested in creating content that reflects their audiences and the values of their communities and are delivered through brands that have received investment in the people and resources needed to deliver genuinely high quality and meaningful content across all platforms.”
The publisher claimed its recruitment drive was one of the biggest in the industry for some time and that the newsroom restructuring would create a “level and quality of content not seen before in the UK regional news market”.
The plans have already seen former Daily Record political editor David Clegg take over as Courier editor in Dundee and ex-Scotsman editor Frank O’Donnell join as editor-in-chief of the Aberdeen-based titles.
O’Donnell said: “This is a top-to-bottom revolution in how we approach content. This isn’t about writing the same content and putting it online, this is identifying innovative, compelling ideas that fulfil a need for new audiences.
“We have to be ambitious, take risks and be comfortable with not getting everything right. This is an exciting time to be part of a forward-thinking company which wants to invest in journalism.”
Clegg added: “We are searching for talented newsroom leaders who can complement the existing team and help us develop a deeper relationship with our readers.
“We have a strong connection with our communities through print, now we must develop that further online.”
Other roles available include several sports reporters, an audio producer, crime and courts reporters for a new digital-first team at The Courier and Evening Telegraph, and an impact reporter to work on investigations and multimedia content going beyond day-to-day reporting.
DC Thomson is also hiring a head of comment to develop a fresh range of commentary for the Press & Journal and Evening Express that engages an online audience, and a head of business for the former title.
Multiple photographers/videographers, a picture editor and a Dundee group picture editor are also wanted to help lead the new drive for audiovisual content.
The publisher revealed last week it had swung from a pre-tax profit of £21m in 2019 to a loss of £180m in the year ending March 2020 after the initial Covid-19 lockdown caused a temporary slump in the value of company investments.
The company said its investments more than recovered their March drop in value later in the year.
Chairman Christopher Thomson said the company had taken a “cautious accounting view” but that it continues to hold the view “that our titles and brands have a long-term future and value to our stakeholders.
“We still have strong belief in all of our established brands and are engaged in both strengthening the underlying brands by continued cost efficiencies and in working on building new valuable revenue streams in all businesses.”
Thomson added that the transformation programme would “ensure our colleagues are better supported than ever to use their talents, insights and experiences to enable them and our brands to thrive in the ‘new normal’”.
Picture: DC Thomson Media