AddThis SmartLayers

Belfast News Letter editor leaves

Two senior editors in Northern Ireland have stepped down from their high profile roles as changes get under way at Johnston Press’s businesses in the province.

Austin Hunter, editor of the News Letter in Belfast, and Pat McArt, group editor of Derry Journal Newspapers, are stepping down from their current positions.

At the same time, Tom Brennan is being appointed managing director of the Derry Journal Group.

Paying tributes to the outgoing editors, divisional MD Jean Long said: “I have worked with Austin for the past two years and with Pat for much longer. They are two of the most respected journalists in the business.

“Pat has spent 33 years in the industry and almost 25 of those years as editor of the Derry Journal. This makes him one of the longest serving editors in the country. During that time he has made an outstanding contribution to the development of the titles. Pat took up his post at the tender age of 28.”

Austin Hunter was appointed editor of the News Letter in April 2004. At the end of 2005 the News Letter celebrated its best circulation in eight years.

He said: “It is with sadness that I leave the company but feel the time is now right to take life easier.

“When I am asked in my retirement what I did during my career I will always proudly say I was editor of the News Letter.”

Jean Long added: ‘I am delighted that Tom is joining us at such an exciting time in the development of the business. He has spent the past 10 years working in the newspaper industry in Ireland and is currently chief executive of the Newry and Down Democrat.

“The Derry Journal titles are among the most respected in the country and I have no doubt Tom will make a major contribution to the growth of the papers in the months and years ahead. He will join us on Monday May 8.

  • Johnston Press acquired Morton Newspapers Ltd in August last year and Local Press Ltd in November.