After a career with the company spanning two decades, several owners and some of the most turbulent times faced by news publishers, it was inevitable that Frank O’Donnell’s tenure at JPI Media – The Scotsman Publications in old money – would end with more than a little style.
With the COVID-19 lockdown in full effect and many staff furloughed, there was none of the traditional merriment one might expect as he packed up his desk as Editor-In-Chief at The Scotsman before heading to join rivals DC Thomson Media in a similar role for its Aberdeen titles.
Instead, he became perhaps the first national newspaper in history to be ‘banged out’ – a tradition where colleagues create a cacophony of sound by literary banging their desks loudly – using the video platform Zoom.
And as the man who has helped steer the digital revolution for The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday among other titles, it was perhaps fitting.
It also lead to a series of fond farewell posts on social media.
O’Donnell began his career with the group as a General Reporter in March 2000, going on to become Edinburgh city correspondent, Consumer Affairs correspondent, Forward Planning Editor, Deputy News Editor, News Editor and Assistant Editor – Group Head of News.
In March 2012 he became Editor of the Edinburgh Evening News, winning a clutch of awards, before being named Managing Editor three years later.
In 2016 he was appointed Director of Digital Content for Johnston Press, including stints in London and Leeds, before being made Editor-in-Chief at The Scotsman.
He starts his new role as Editor in Chief next month with responsibility for the Press and Journal – the UK’s biggest selling regional daily – and the Evening Express, with staff based across Aberdeen, Inverness and the North-East.
On his appointment, DC Thomson Media’s Head of Newspapers Richard Neville said: “He will bring fresh energy to the print product as well as leading the development of our digital offering in new and exciting ways.”
- READ: Frank O’Donnell’s farewell note to colleagues at The Scotsman Publications: ‘If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living’
Main Image: DC Thomson media release