The 36-year-old former Highlands and Islands Young Journalist of the Year was previously editor of two weekly newspapers in Scotland, the Border Telegraph and Peeblesshire News, where he began his career as a trainee reporter in 2001.
During his three-year stint at the Newsquest-owned titles, based in his hometown of Galashiels, he was the only editor of a paid-for weekly in Britain to record circulation growth two years in a row.
Ally has also written for The Sun, Scotsman and the Daily Mail during his 15-year career.
He took up his new position at the News’s Cromer office last week.
Said Ally: “In a fast-moving news environment where readers expect to be kept updated on the news 24 hours a day, seven days a week, online and in print, I am very excited to take the helm at the North Norfolk News.
“To do the job I love in one of the most beautiful parts of the country is a dream come true.”
“I am very much a hands-on editor and hope to do almost as much writing as I will be editing.
“I am looking forward to getting out and about to meet as many people as possible and hear of all the good work going on in our area, as well as any issues they may have, in the weeks and months ahead.”
At the Archant-owned News, he will be responsible for the paper’s two editions.
Its northern edition covers Cromer, Sheringham and Holt, while its southern edition covers North Walsham, Aylsham, Stalham and the northern end of the Norfolk Broads.
Ally, a keen ultra marathon runner, joins reporters Alex Hurrell, Hayley Johnston, Miles Jermy and Tracey Gray at the News office, with Karen Bethell covering community stories.
Richard left the paper after four decades with Archant and its forerunner Eastern Counties Newspapers before leaving for a new PR role.
Ally added: “The North Norfolk News has a very proud history and has served the local community well under the editorship of Richard Batson.
“While I appreciate I have big shoes to fill, I am looking forward to continuing to stand up for our readers and give a voice to those who might not otherwise be heard.”