A long-serving daily editor in the North-West has abruptly left his job today amid plans for a wide-ranging editorial restructure in the region.
Simon Reynolds, boss of the Lancashire Evening Post for the past 11 years, left the offices of the Preston-based title at lunchtime.
His role is being merged with that of the Chorley Guardian in a restructure which also affects a number of other daily and weekly titles.
The deputy editor’s roles at the Evening Post, the Gazette and the Wigan Evening Post are also being axed as part of the changes.
Overall responsibility for JP titles in the North-West is now in the hands of regional managing director Gary Fearon, who was previously boss of the company’s southern division.
He said in a statement issued this afternoon: “As part of the overall objective of creating a more efficient managerial structure we are proposing to make a number of changes to the editorial department.
“Simon Reynolds, editor of the Lancashire Evening Post, has been placed on leave and is in consultation with the company.
“Further announcements on the editorship of the Lancashire Evening Post will be made in due course.
“Additionally, the following editorial roles will be combined to create a single role with responsibility for all relevant titles: editor Burnley with editor Nelson and Clitheroe; editor Blackpool Gazette with editor Lytham St Annes/Fleetwood; editor Lancaster & Morecambe with editor Garstang; and editor Lancashire Evening Post with editor Chorley.
“The deputy editor roles at the Lancashire Evening Post, Blackpool and Wigan will also cease to exist. We are currently in consultation with the affected staff and further announcements will be made in due course.”
Lawrence Shaw, Northern England assistant organiser of the National Union of Journalists said union members at the titles had been left “upset and alarmed” by the news.
He said: “NUJ members are alarmed at the speed of this and are now guarding against any other changes this may bring in.”
Simon was appointed editor of the LEP in June 2001 in succession to Roger Borrrell, now the editor of Archant’s Lancashire Life series.
Beginning his career at the Cheshire Observer, he had a spell at the Daily Mail in his mid-20s before returning to the North-West at the Liverpool Daily Post in the late 1980s.
His next move took him to Edinburgh, where he was news editor of the Evening News at the time of the Dunblane shootings in 1995.
He had risen to the role of deputy editor at the Evening News when he landed the top job at the LEP.
The editorship of the Gazette recently changed hands with Gillian Gray moving from the Wigan Evening Post to take over from David Helliwell.
Gillian’s old job as group editor in Wigan was then advertised but it is understood that no appointment has yet been made to this role and that it too may be subject to a review.