The 38-year-old, from Waringstown, County Down, moves from the role of editor of the Portadown Times and deputy group editor of five other papers within Johnston Press’s Northern Ireland publishing unit.
He will take up his new role on 1 December. JP said his replacement on the Portadown Times will be announced in due course.
Said Alistair: “Rankin is a hard act to follow but I’m looking forward to getting started with the very hard-working team at the News Letter, and to developing a truly multi-platform publishing operation from our redesigned newsroom in Carn.
“It is an exciting time for the News Letter and for our range of weekly titles as we begin to work together more closely than ever before in the newsroom of the future project.”
Warren Butcher, MD of JP’s North West, Northern Ireland & Isle of Man Newspapers, added: “The standard of applications – both internal and external – was extremely high and it’s a credit to Alistair that he was successful.
“He’ll do a great job with this esteemed title.”
Rankin stepped down last month after 44 years in the industry, the last three of which were as News Letter editor.