27 January 2015

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Weekly newspaper editor axed in restructure

A weekly newspaper editor who first made her name covering the 2002 Soham murders has lost her job in a company restructure.

Debbie Davies, left,  left her role as editor of the Ely Standard on Friday after more than ten years with the newspaper.

She joined the Archant-title as deputy editor in 2001 and was promoted to editor four years later.

John Elworthy, the editor of sister titles the Wisbech Standard and Cambs Times, has been appointed editor at the Ely Standard in addition to his existing roles and will now oversee all three titles.

Archant confirmed the move in a statement which read: “Following a restructure of the Ely group of newspapers, editor of The Ely Standard, Debbie Davies, will leave Archant on May 4.”

Amanda Davison-Young, commercial director of Archant Herts & Cambs said:  “We thank Debbie for her loyalty and commitment over the past ten years and wish her well for the future.

“John Elworthy will take editorial responsibility for the titles alongside his current role as editor of the Cambs Times.”

“With a combined circulation of around 42,000 and the opportunity to share resources we will have better synergy across our Fenland titles.”

During her time as deputy editor at the Standard, Debbie was a leading force behind the paper’s coverage of the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman who were killed by Ian Huntley in 2002 in the Cambridgeshire town of Soham.

Debbie and her then editor John Ison were interviewed about the case by media from around the world, while both Debbie and Standard photographer Helen South made statements that were used as part of the evidence in the case.


  1. old hack

    “With a combined circulation of around 42,000 and the opportunity to share resources we will have better synergy across our Fenland titles.”

    Why do local newspaper groups have to make such desperate efforts to put positive spin on what is clearly a cost-saving move which will weaken the paper?

    I can’t imagine readers will be impressed by the ‘better synergy’

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  2. groupie, middle earth

    group editors are all the rage. real local editors who know their readership and patch are as rare as honest politicians. somewhere in between are general dogsbodies known as content editors, usually based well away from the paper’s patch. what a dolly mixture .

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  3. obmiJ

    Another nail in the coffin of the hands-on community editor who actually knows their patch. Bit by bit, the role’s being reduced to that of a glorified regional manager. How many of this new breed of group editors would spot a glaring geographical error in an inexperienced reporter’s copy?

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  4. groupie, middle earth

    lunching, massaging the ego, and smoothing up to politicians is the new career path.

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  5. Oldhack

    Agree with most sentiments, although John Elworthy is a damned good journo. But even the best can be spread too thinly…

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  6. Cherrywonder

    What a strange world newspapers have become when it is the “commercial director” who is believed to be qualified to give the valedictory speech on behalf of a reluctantly departing editor.

    The glib insincerity given away by “and wish her well” makes you wish they hadn’t bothered.

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  7. Curious

    Debbie’s joined an ever-rising scrapheap of ex-editors who used all their skills and knowhow to fight the good fight for their readers and champion their edition – only to be tossed aside to save money.
    I think that’s what synergy must mean – fewer is more!
    I also feel sorry for the poor buggers left behind who are being asked to watch over extra titles when they already run ragged.

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  8. groupie, middle earth

    you need a special kind of thick skin to utter this trite “better synergy” rubbish and not cringe as you say it. It means nothing.
    reminds me of a thankfully departed HR staffer on one firm where my partner works who said with the utmost conviction that under the Atex-hub etc system (which as we know drastically reduces copy checking) it wasn’t necessary to check copy and people were expected to get it all right all of the time. Where do they find them?

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  9. Crowman

    Yet more proof that “loyalty and commitment” don’t mean jack when the axeman cometh.

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