Leo, pictured left, wrote that the Gazette was using its “vast” social media following to find news and promote stories, rather than share “naked pics of celebs with no local link” with its readership.
The comment was a thinly-veiled reference to a rival Kent title which last year covered a national news story about the online leaking of nude pictures of celebrities.
In his piece, Leo argued that the Gazette had “stood out from the crowd” in the digital age by continuing to produce “trusted” content.
He wrote: “We are not afraid of running the odd quirky story while not falling into the clickbait trap loved by many news organisations desperate for someone to read their content.
“We avoid lists of the best places to go dogging or running stories about popular TV shows or naked pictures of celebs with no local link.
“We are using our vast social media following to find news, promote our stories and be part of our audience’s lives. They talk to us and we talk to them like never before.”
In October last year, Simon Finlay, editor of the Local World-owned Maidstone and Medway News, defended a decision to cover a national news story about the online leaking of nude pictures of celebrities.
It was illustrated by a picture of an American fashion model, Erin Heatherton and another celebrity with no known link to the paper’s patch.
At the time, Simon had argued “teaser” stories had got the News’s website thousands of hits.
In June, Richard Bowyer, former editor of The Sentinel, Stoke, claimed “soulless web analysts” were destroying trust in newspapers in a blog post in which he said he had been asked to make decisions on placing stories based on how well they had performed online.
Since then Trinity Mirror has published plans to introduce individual web audience targets for journalists, although the company has denied this will encourage “clickbait.”