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New role for editor in shake-up at Yorkshire titles

An experienced weekly editor has taken on a new role as part of a shake-up at a series of Newsquest-owned titles in West Yorkshire.

Malcolm Hoddy, editor of the Keighley News since 1994, is to become editor of the Ilkley Gazette and sister title the Wharfedale and Airedale Observer in addition to his existing role.

A former deputy editor of Bradford’s Telegraph & Argus, 63-year-old Malcolm has been a journalist for 45 years.

He is pictured below (left) with his interpreter after becoming one of the first UK regional press journalists allowed into Iraq following elections there in 2005.

Said Malcolm: “I have worked at all levels in this industry but my greatest love is working with weekly titles because it involves true grass-roots journalism.

“No other form of journalism keeps people so in touch with what is happening on their doorsteps. My task is to do just that and build on the great work done by previous editors.”

The previous editor of the Gazette and the Observer, Sheena Stavert, has been given a new senior role as multimedia content manager responsible for the production of all paid-for weekly titles published by Newsquest (Bradford), including the Keighley News and the Craven Herald & Pioneer.

Alan Birkinshaw, the former deputy editor of the Ilkley and Otley titles, has taken on a new role as sports editor for all the weekly titles.

Newsquest (Bradford) group editor Perry Austin-Clarke said: “Malcolm has huge experience of editing local newspapers and I have no doubt that he is the right man to lead the Gazette and the Observer into a new era which will see some exciting changes and provide even better newspapers for the people of Ilkley, Otley, Wharfedale and Aireborough.

“At the same time I’m certain that, under Sheena’s leadership, the production of all our weekly titles will go from strength to strength.”

Meanwhile, two stalwarts of the Ilkley and Otley titles have retired: photographer Richard Leach and sports editor Rachel O’Connor.

Rachel was the first woman reporter to be appointed by Wharfedale Newspapers when she joined as a school-leaver in July 1966.

She became sports editor in 1975 and has held the post ever since.

A previous winner of the Sports Writer of the Year category in the Yorkshire Press Awards, she served under just three editors in her 44 years with the company – Ronnie Biss, Mel Vasey and Sheena Stavert.

Richard Leach bade farewell after 32 years with the Telegraph & Argus and eight years at Wharfedale Newspapers.

Said Perry: “Rachel and Richard have both made a huge contribution to our newspapers over many years and they go with our very best wishes for a healthy and happy future.”