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York editor departs as union seeks new owner

A regional daily already under new editorship could be under new ownership too before long if union members get their way.

HoldtheFrontPage revealed last November that three senior executives at Newsquest York were having to compete against eachother for a single role of “managing editor.”

Although no formal announcement has yet been made, it is understood that editor Kevin Booth has since left his role along with Chris Buxton, editor of the weekly Gazette and Herald.

Steve Hughes, a former Bolton News editor who was managing director of Newsquest York, has been appointed as acting managing editor with the role expected to be confirmed in the near future.

However members of the National Union of Journalists’ chapel at the paper want it brought under new management altogether.

They are calling on the NUJ’s national executive to help them find new owners for the title among the local business community.

It wants the union to obtain a market valuation of Newsquest (York) Ltd to “explore ways of ending Newsquest’s ownership of The Press.”

The chapel also wants the union to contact figures in the local business and economic community, to ascertain interest in a buy-out.

The chapel at The Press and associated weeklies unanimously agreed a motion which was put forward for discussion at the NEC meeting on Friday.

It read: “This chapel believes in the importance of local journalism and believes that Newsquest’s continued ownership of The Press and the Gazette and Herald is detrimental to the newspaper, to the quality of journalism in York and North Yorkshire, and therefore to the local community.

“This chapel laments and opposes the repeated cutbacks made by Newsquest, and believes its profit targets to be excessive and damaging to The Press’s quality and reputation.

Newsquest North East managing director David Coates was approached for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.