The editor of a regional daily is set to leave his role to pursue “other ambitions” amid a fresh management shake-up at Johnston Press.
Jon Rhodes, pictured left, is leaving The Gazette, Blackpool, after just under three years in the chair.
Former Gazette editor Gillian Parkinson, currently Johnston Press North West editorial director and editor of the Lancashire Evening Post, will assume additional responsibility for the newspaper following Jon’s departure.
The move comes amid a series of ongoing management shake-ups across the company which has seen six editor roles placed at risk in the South Midlands and and admission by the chief executive, Ashley Highfield, that it would employ fewer journalists in future.
Jon, 43, has worked for JP-owned titles since 1992, including spells at the Lancashire Evening Post and Yorkshire Evening Post, after starting his career at the Chester Evening Leader straight from school.
He took up the editorship of The Gazette in May 2012 having spent the previous eight years as its head of news, and is also responsible for weekly titles the Lytham St Annes Express and Fleetwood Weekly News.
Said Jon: “It has been an incredible honour and privilege to have been editor of The Gazette.
“In the last two years we have seen our total audience grow to more than 300,000 readers a week, won several awards, launched many hard hitting campaigns and investigations and raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for local charities – none more so than the £268,000 Gazette readers gave in 2014 to transform two Blackpool-based hospices.
“But above all, I want to say a massive thank you to the dedicated editorial team. They have proved time and again what truly talented journalists they are and the reason why the Gazette is so widely regarded as a quality newspaper which shouts up for and celebrates the Fylde coast while always giving its readers a voice.”
Johnston Press North West managing director Warren Butcher added: “I want to thank Jon for the commitment and energy he has brought to the business and wish him every success in his future endeavours.”
The announcement comes after Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield admitted this week the company would be left with “fewer full-time journalists” in the future.
As also reported on HTFP this week Susan Windram, group editor of 11 weekly titles at JP subsidiary North East Press, has also decided to leave the company.
JP is currently in the process of introducing its “newsroom of the future” initiative in three of its UK regions – North Midlands and South Yorkshire, South Midlands and Scottish weeklies, with fewer editor roles likely to result.
The project will also see journalists working on multiple titles after being split into different geographical hubs.