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Review of 2013: Industry heavyweights move on

The past 12 months have again seen a number of senior figures leaving the industry with some of the biggest regional dailies coming under new management.

Two of the industry’s great survivors – Peter Charlton of the Yorkshire Post and Adrian Faber of the Express & Star – both bowed out in 2013 after distinguished careers.

As had long been on the cards, Adrian was replaced at Wolverhampton by Shropshire Star editor Keith Harrison with his role going to Martin Wright of NWN Media.

Peter’s departure triggered a wide-ranging internal reshuffle within Johnston Press, with Sheffield Star editor Jeremy Clifford taking over in Leeds and Derbyshire Times boss James Mitchinson taking on his role.

Perhaps the saddest editorial change of the year came at the Nottingham Post, with Mel Cook’s death from cancer in April.

Mike Sassi moved from Stoke daily The Sentinel to take charge in Nottingham, leaving his long-time deputy Richard Bowyer to step up to the top job in the Potteries.

The year saw a meteoric rise for Paul Burton, appointed editor of the daily-turned-weekly Express &  Echo in June and then being named as news chief at Plymouth daily The Herald.

He replaced Ian Wood, who was editor of the daily for just 20 months, having taken the helm when Bill Martin moved to the Western Morning News in May last year.

Other daily titles which saw a change of editorship included the South Wales Evening Post, which saw Jonathan Roberts move from the Carmarthen Journal to replace Spencer Feeney at the helm following his retirement last year.

Deputy editor Cathy Duncan, who had run the paper during the interregnum, was axed from the title after 28 years in July.

Jenny Eastwood stepped up to become editor at The Citizen in Gloucester in April, succeeding Ian Mean who moved to a new role as content director for Local World titles in Gloucestershire, Bristol and Somerset.

And John Szymanski moved from the Shields Gazette to take charge of the Sunderland Echo, with Joy Yates combining his old role with the editorship of the Hartlepool Mail.

Two Newsquest dailies also gained new editors with Colin Channon moving from the Chichester Observer to the Basildon-based Echo and the Daily Gazette in Colchester.

He will replace Martin McNeill in the role of editor-in-chief of Newsquest Essex, who has been a regional daily editor in Essex for 23 years.

At The Herald in Glasgow, deputy editor Magnus Llewellin was announced as the new editor following the departure of Jonathan Russell in October 2012.

And the year also saw a comeback for Jonathan, who became publishing director at Trinity Mirror’s Media Scotland.

There were also some big changes at senior management level, with Steve Auckland stepping down as chief executive of Local World and his role taken by chairman David Montgomery.

After a holiday in Tuscany, Steve swiftly bounced back with a return to his old job as managing director at Metro.

There will also be a change at the top at Newsquest after the announcement in May that Paul Davidson would leave his role as chief executive after 10 years.

He is set to move to the role of non-executive chairman on 1 April next year with Johnston Press digital director Henry Faure Walker taking over as CEO.

One of the year’s most controversial job moves was the axing of Jon Stokoe as editor of the Whitby Gazette after the title posted a sales rise of 2.1pc, when the role was combined with that of Scarborough News editor Ed Asquith.

A Twitter campaign was launched to save his job but he officially left his role in April. However he has since bounced back as a columnist for new magazine Whitby Mag and also took on a temporary subbing role with the Lincolnshire Echo.

Nick Proctor also left his role as editor of the Bridlington Free Press and three other weeklies to begin a new role in PR with the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, with Ed also taking on overall responsibility for these titles.

And at NWN Media, Jeremy Smith stood down as editor of the Oswestry and Border Counties Advertizer after just weeks in the role, saying he found it impossible to return to the “box ticking” corporate world.