Neil Pickford, left, who was editor of the Northants Telegraph along with the Harborough Mail, is to become communities content editor for JP’s South Midlands division as part of the company’s “newsroom of the future” initiative.
As previously reported on HTFP, the reorganisation will see JP’s titles in the region split into four geographic divisions, each headed up by an editor reporting to overall group editor in David Summers, who will now edit both the Telegraph and the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.
Two centralised ‘hubs’ are also to be created – one for managing community news and UGC, the other for sport – with Neil now heading up the community news hub.
The move comes as JP confirmed that newsroom of the future – initially piloted in its North Midlands and South Yorkshire centres – is now being rolled out across the whole company.
It is not clear at this stage which other editor roles, if any, will be under threat as a result of the initiative.
A JP spokeswoman said: “Over the coming days, weeks and months our news teams will start to work in different ways – many roles will change as our business continues to adapt to the changing environment.
“Our new approach will help to enable teams across the business deliver what our readers and advertisers want and our focus will be on ensuring we’re delivering quality products – both online and in print.
“Getting the detail of a substantial project like this correct has, inevitably, taken time and has not been without its challenges but getting the structures right has been paramount so we’re grateful to our teams for their patience throughout the process.
“There are still a few ongoing discussions to be had but we are very close to fully rolling-out this key transformation initiative.”
In the South Midlands, Chris Lillington, editor of four JP titles in Warwickshire including the Rugby Advertiser, Leamington Courier and Kenilworth Weekly News, will now add the Harborough Mail to his portfolio.
JP has not yet revealed what roles, if any, will be given to its four other current editors in the 80-mile long region – Jason Gibbins, of the Banbury Guardian, Roger Hawes, of the Bucks Herald, Bucks Advertiser and Hemel Hempstead Gazette, Lynn Hughes, of the Luton News and Biggleswade Chronicle, and Olga Norford, of the Milton Keynes Citizen and Bedford Times & Citizen.
Neil initially took up the editorship of the Telegraph in 2011 following Jeremy Clifford’s move to Sheffield daily The Star.
He oversaw its transition from a daily to weekly title in 2012, having also taken up the editorship of the Mail that year when Brian Dodds was made redundant.
Neil has yet to respond to HTFP’s request for a comment on the move, but posted on Twitter: “The final page of my final (Telegraph) as editor is with the press team. I’m as proud of this week’s edition as I was my first.
“Thank you to all (the Telegraph) team, past and present. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with you over the past four years and for anyone who wants to know, (the Telegraph) plays a big part in my new role. Looking forward to working with new team.”