Jane Manning has taken over as editor-in-chief of Kent Regional News and Media following the departure of publishing director and editor-in-chief Lesley Finlay.
Jane was in post at Canterbury today and earlier this month helped draw up a plan for developing the 19 titles bought by Northcliffe from Trinity Mirror last year.
The proposals will develop digital activities and review the company’s newspaper portfolio across east Kent.
She was due to meet many staff today to share the details and ask for more ideas and fine-tuning before their implementation.
She said: “We’ll be getting back to basics and getting to the heart of local communities – and driving the local agenda both in print and online.”
Jane has been editor of the Scunthorpe Telegraph since 2005.
She studied journalism at Harlow College before securing her first job as a trainee reporter on the weekly Wisbech Standard and has held senior positions at the Hull Daily Mail before, in 1995, crossing back across the Humber to Scunthorpe as deputy news editor.
She recently led her Scunthorpe team through a redesign to create in a fresher, crisper, more appealing product and under her leadership the paper has changed from an evening to a morning publication and become more digitally integrated.
Managing director Richard Karn said: “This experience will be invaluable in leading the editorial team on the next stage of our journey.
“We need to integrate digital publishing, refresh our portfolio and above all ensure that we are producing websites and titles that delight our readers, beat the competition and that we are all proud to be associated with.”
He told staff that Jane was “very much looking forward to the challenge” and was looking forward to helping them achieve the company’s objectives as quickly as possible.
Lesley Finlay had been publishing director since 2006 but decided that, after changes to the company and with new plans for the future, it was right to move on.
Richard said in a memo to staff: “This is a brave decision and one that has not been taken lightly. Lesley joined the company as editor of the Folkestone, Dover and Ashford portfolio in 2000, before being promoted to editor-in-chief in 2002.
“Lesley has asked me to put on record her thanks for your support over the years and to wish you all well for the future.
“For my own part I want to place on record my sincere thanks to Lesley for significant contribution through what has been an incredibly challenging period.
“I am sure that you will all want to join me in wishing Lesley well for the future.”
No replacement of the publishing director role will be made and KRNM commercial director Steve Lowe will take full commercial responsibility for the development of the business.
Scunthorpe’s deputy editor Dave Atkin will become acting editor at the Telegraph pending the appointment of a new editor.
Northcliffe Media bought 26 weekly newspapers from Trinity Mirror Southern in south-east England for £64.15m in July last year. One of the three businesses was Canterbury-based Kent Regional Newspapers.