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Weeklies based in same office to get separate editors

Phil Johnson

Two weekly newspapers based in the same office now have separate editors under a restructure as part of the “newsroom of the future” initiative introduced by Johnston Press.

The Berwickshire News, which circulates in Scotland, and the Berwick Advertiser, which covers the English side of the border, share an office in the town along with many of the same staff and until now, the same editor in Phil Johnson, left.

However Phil is now relinquishing control of the Advertiser and taking on additional responsibility for two other JP weeklies as part of the publisher’s newsroom shake-up, which is now being rolled out in both Scotland and the North-East.

Phil, who has has been editor of the Berwickshire News and the Berwick Advertiser for the last four-and-a-half years, adds the Southern Reporter and the Selkirk Weekend Advertiser  to his portfolio, replacing Susan Windram, who left the regional publisher in March to join Scottish Field magazine.

Meanwhile the Advertiser, which is now part of a separate business unit, will be edited by Paul Larkin in addition to his existing roles as editor of the Northumberland Gazette and Morpeth Herald.

He will also take on responsibility for the News Post Leader and News Guardian next week under the restructure, replacing Ian Arkle who will become the new communities editor for the 10 titles in the North East unit, which include the Hartlepool Mail, Shields Gazette, Sunderland Echo and two free weeklies.

Phil began his career as a sports editor at The Southern Reporter in 1998 before moving on to work at The Scotsman, where he spent 10 years as a sub-editor and then three years as sports production editor at Scotland on Sunday.

Said Phil: “I started my career as at The Southern Reporter 17 years ago, so in many ways it feels like I am coming home. It is a privilege to be taking over as editor of such a prestigious and well-respected title in the Scottish Borders.”

The Berwickshire News, previously part of JP’s North East unit, will now become part of the Scottish weeklies publishing unit along with the Southern Reporter, Selkirk Weekend Advertiser, Hawick News, Carrick Gazette and Galloway Gazette.

The newsroom of the future initiative sees journalists across multiple titles grouped together and separate units set up for community news and sport.

It has already been brought in at JP’s North Midlands and South Yorkshire, East Midlands and East Anglia, and South Midlands divisions and is now being rolled out across the country.