NWN Media chairman Russell Whitehair will officially take up the role of Newspaper Society president on Sunday.
He will succeed Paul Davidson, chairman and chief executive of Newsquest Media Group, having served as vice-president for the past year.
He has been chairman of NWN, formerly North Wales Newspapers, for 11 years. The group’s titles include the Evening Leader, North Wales Chronicle, Denbighshire Free Press, Wrexham Leader and Ellesmere Port Standard.
Speaking ahead of taking on his role at the NS, Russell said the industry was in the best possible position to grasp the opportunities of the digital age.
He said: “The sense of local community remains strong. The enduring quality of local press adapting, serving and meeting the needs of these communities online and in print will continue to be an essential part of the media mix.
“NWN itself is within the top 20 regional publishing companies, has websites for all its titles and has invested over £15m in a new state of the art press facility outside Chester due to open in the summer.
“The Newspaper Society has a key role and part to play to ensure the process of change continues effectively at industry level through its determined representations to government, continued marketing activity and broad assistance to members across a range of support areas.”
Russell has been involved in the regional newspaper industry for more than 30 years, starting his career as a trainee reporter on the Linlithgowshire Journal and Gazette in 1974.
He is also a solicitor, deputy chairman of Mediaforce and a member of the NS Independent Publishers Forum and its PERA Committee.
The Newspaper Society represents around 1,300 regional and local newspaper titles in the UK.
A new president is elected from Society membership every year, in July.
Others to have previously held the post include John Robertson of the Newbury Weekly News; Johnston Press chief executive Tim Bowdler and Sir Nicholas Hewitt of the Barnsley Chronicle. Do you have a story about the regional press?
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