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Editors and MD to compete for single job

Two regional newspaper editors and their managing director have been issued with redundancy notices and invited to apply for a new role combining their existing posts.

The shock move has been announced to staff at Newsquest’s York titles, the daily Press and weekly Gazette and Herald.

Kevin Booth, editor of The Press, and Chris Buxton, editor of the Gazette and Herald, have both been given notice of redundancy along with MD Steve Hughes, HoldtheFrontPage has learned.

All three will now compete for a single role of managing editor of both titles, reporting directly to Newsquest’s Darlington-based regional MD David Coates.

A formal 30-day consultation period affecting the three senior posts is now under way.

So far, no frontline journalist roles have been affected, but it is understood that the newsroom will be “restructured” once an appointment to the new managing editor role is made.

One MD has already left Newsquest as a result of a recent shake-up, namely Eric Henshaw who until last month was in charge of the Bolton News.

Neither Mr Coates nor anyone else from Newsquest management was available to make any formal comment on the York proposals.


Lister (26/11/2008 09:46:51)
Isn’t it about time you people at Holdthefrontpage got your act together and put Coates on the spot instead of taking the soft and unprofessional option every time and settling for “Mr Coates was unavailable for comment”? Newsquest North East is being brought to its knees by a man who has no interest in news or journalism, and you are letting him off the hook every time. Pull your bloody fingers out and do your bloody job.

Doug (26/11/2008 09:51:17)
What do you want them to do? If he won’t speak, he won’t speak.

London journo (26/11/2008 09:58:20)
Door-stepping is good.

Fox Mulder (26/11/2008 10:05:43)
Coates was renowned for his editorial cutbacks when I worked at Newsquest Bradford and plainly doesn’t understand or value the news side of things. To be fair to him, regional MDs these days have little real power – he’ll have been told by the folks in the States to cut costs.
Either way, this industry’s buggered.

Col. Kurtz (26/11/2008 10:19:23)
Terrible news – The Press is heading for ruin and it’s nothing to do with adverse trading conditions – it’s all down to mismanagement from those at the top.

Former feature writer (26/11/2008 11:38:36)
In my opinion Coates doesn’t have a newspaper background as such, doesn’t relate to journalists and has little idea how hard it is for the remaining few to get decent quality papers out. Is Newsquest North going to make a profit this year? It always has in the past. Let’s have some accountability from those swinging the axe

Charlotte Peters Rock (26/11/2008 13:27:31)
Big buy-ups have ruined the press throughout the country. ‘Freedom of the press’ has had a hollow ring for many years, as yet more and more titles are gobbled up. That’s rotten for anyone who thought they were going into journalism. But it’s even worse when corruption is not allowed to be exposed, because some distant bean counter stops exposure.

snout (26/11/2008 17:07:35)
Eleanor Underhill, the group MD for Newsquest Cheshire/Merseyside left the company yesterday.
Today, the “publishers” (MDs in all but name) of the Sale And Altrincham Messenger series Nuala O’Rourke, and Mike Glover at the Westmoreland Gazette, have met the same fate.
Ironically, only three weeks earlier, Eleanor Underhill had taken the Wirral Globe series under her portfolio after that title’s “publisher” Derek King was himself made redundant

Rabbit (26/11/2008 18:59:49)
Having worked under both Eleanor and Nuala in Newsquest Cheshire, it is clear that this level of management are ridiculously overpaid. Their salaries could finance a team of 12 revenue-generating front line staff which would support a lot more news pages. Shame about Eleanor though, she was great to work for.

SNITCH (26/11/2008 19:17:30)
Nobody is safe. There were announcements in Swindon and Oxford too about imminent senior departures. This is obviously a groupwide bout of serious bloodletting.
Perhaps Hold the Front Page would like to investigate further?

Scardy Cat (26/11/2008 19:23:24)
Why is everyone who comments hiding their identity, what are we afraid of, the Emperor has no clothes, we are supposed to be fighting for justice and truth and yet it is not us but Lister, Fox Mulder,Col Kurtz et all, hasnt any journalist got the guts to say exactly who they are and taking courage with both hands admit that they may well be a member of a trades union? Whats happened to us all, clinging onto our pathetic livelihoods working all hours under the sun and yet here we are as Snout, Rabbit and Snith, its a disgrace, I am going to write to the Times about this bunch of cowardly custards, so there

Dale Martin (26/11/2008 20:11:46)
I would be nice to have someone with a journalistic background in charge of a newspaper instead of a bean-counter for a change. Lets hope one of the editors gets it!

Grey Cardigan (26/11/2008 22:02:33)
Dale, I admire your optimism, but the truth of the matter is that they’ll go for whichever cipher is willing to do their bidding when it comes to further cuts. I don’t think editors fall into that category.

Mr_Osato (27/11/2008 05:56:24)
Mike Glover’s gone? Really? Wasn’t always popular with his staff but a real newspaper man who knows his stuff. Presumably Kendal is going to come under Jan Lever’s ever-growing empire. If so, word fail me…

HoldtheFrontPage (27/11/2008 10:54:57)
Dale, Grey Cardigan – on a point of information, Steve Hughes was formerly the editor at the Bolton News for a number of years so all three “candidates” have editorial experience.

Lister (27/11/2008 12:09:24)
There’s a big story here waiting to be written about a major news empire imploding and heads rolling everywhere. I can’t write it because – like, I suspect, several other contributors to this page – I am a Newsquest employee. But you people at HTFP, you’re in a unique position. You are one of the few groups of journalists in this country who can do this with impunity. Let’s see an in-depth analysis of just what is going on within the Newsquest organisation. Let’s have a bit of good old-fashioned investigative journalism where reporters actually dig stuff up and put it in the public domain. There’s a bloodbath taking place here, and it’s right across the workforce from top to bottom – but there is no overall view. This needs to be done.

HoldtheFrontPage (27/11/2008 15:53:03)
In our defence, we were the first to run this story about the York centre and we are obviously aware of stories circulating about other Newsquest centres. We are on the case, but what we won’t do is run stories based on uncorroborated rumours.
Some other posters have suggested that the fact that HTFP is part-owned by Newsquest has made us reluctant to investigate this story. Nice conspiracy theory chaps, but totally untrue.