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Editorial director stands down from weekly newspapers group

Jan Henderson is leaving the Milton Keynes Citizen after 20 years in charge to pursue “fresh challenges”.

The award-winning editorial director of the Citizen group of titles, owned by Johnston Press, has made a “marvellous contribution”, according to company acting managing director John Bills.

He said: “It is always a sad day when someone as senior and successful as Jan decides it is time to move on to something different, but the business thanks him for his marvellous contribution to its success over the years and wishes him well for the future.”

Jan said: “It has been a great 20 years. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and I am very proud of the huge success the team has made of the Milton Keynes Citizen.”

The Milton Keynes Citizen was launched in 1981, and over the last 27 years it has won numerous awards, including the Newspaper Society and Press Gazette Free Newspaper of the Year awards on a number of occasions.

Among Jan’s triumphs over the years was the winning of the Free Newspaper of the Year prize at the Johnston Press company awards in 2003, where he was presented with the award by JP chief exec Tim Bowdler (below). The win repeated its triumph of 2002 in the same awards.

He also won silver for Free Weekly Newspaper of the Year in the South East at the Newspaper Society’s Weekly Newspaper Awards 2007. It won top prize nationally in the same awards in 2000, 1996, 1995, 1994 and 1993.

It was runner-up in 1997 and Best in South East England in 1998.

His newspaper was subject to strike action over pay by the National Union of Journalists at the start of this year, with journalists returning to work after six days as they settled for the original three per cent offer, with the promise of new negotiations for next year.

Staff had complained of acres of empty pages to fill, with the then four trainees, one part-time reporter, two full-time reporters, one news editor and nine subs sitting down to “churn, churn, churn”.

One of his journalists, Sally Murrer, was accused of three charges of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office after the newspaper’s offices were searched by police. She denies all the offences and the Crown Court case continues, with a trial scheduled for November.

The paper boasts a distribution of 103,119 with an average readership of 170,486.

It often has in excess of 350 pages and is a sister paper to Premier Newspapers’ other titles, the Biggleswade Chronicle, Luton News and Dunstable Gazette, Herald and Post and Town Crier series of newspapers.


jason hurst (13/08/2008 10:28:42)
good luck jan! and thanks for the stint.