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Deputy promoted as daily editor steps down after two years

Hannah ChapmanA regional daily editor is to leave the newspaper at the end of the month to be replaced by his deputy, it has been announced.

Andy Richardson is stepping down at the end of the month after two years in charge of the Northern Echo.

Hannah Chapman, left, currently deputy editor at the Darlington-based Echo, will take Andy’s place, becoming the first female editor in the Echo’s history.

She will also take responsibility for Newsquest sister weekly the Darlington & Stockton Times.

Hannah, who lives on her family’s North Yorkshire dairy farm, joined the Echo as a trainee reporter in October 2003 and has since worked in various newsroom roles.

She said: “The Northern Echo has always been my local paper. I only applied to study journalism after seeing an advert in its pages for courses at Darlington College.

“When I got a job as a trainee reporter on the Echo covering North Yorkshire I never imagined that one day I would become editor. Luckily when my car’s brakes failed on the way to the interview, it was not to be a bad omen.

“I’ve worked alongside so many brilliant people in my time here, and I’m thrilled to be leading such a dedicated team in providing top quality journalism to our loyal readers, both in print and online.”

Newsquest North managing director David Coates said: “Hannah is a rising star of our editorial operation and we are delighted to give her this opportunity. I am confident that she will make a great success of the role.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Andy for the significant contribution he has made to the business and we wish him every success in the future.”

Newsquest editorial director Toby Granville said: “I’m delighted that Hannah will make history as the first female editor of one of the most prestigious titles in our group.

“She is enthusiastic, talented and totally switched on about the challenging and exciting times our industry is in. I know Hannah will bring a new dimension to the Northern Echo and make this great title even greater.”

Andy was business editor of the Echo before taking over as joint acting editor when long-serving predecessor Peter Barron left in April 2016.

He was named sole editor two months later with his fellow acting editor, Nigel Burton, as deputy.  Nigel subsequently became group editor for Newsqust Yorkshire which includes the Telegrapgh & Argus, Bradford, and The Press, York.

A Newsquest spokesman said: “Andy’s departure is completely amicable and he is simply leaving the Northern Echo to pursue other career opportunities.

“We are pleased that he has agreed to stay until the end of July to ensure a smooth handover with new editor Hannah Chapman and we wish him all the best for the future.”


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  • July 12, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    It would be interesting to know why Andy has left the business at very short notice and it’s rather telling that NQ are not commenting on the matter, they did the same when the commercial chief left in similar circumstances a few months back.
    With yet another very experienced editor (presumably )leaving the industry, it does make you wonder whether the role is becoming defunct in a modern newsroom where the traditional skills of an editor including ownership of a title,it’s content and appearance appear to no be of value in an age of UGC, social media watching and templated pages.
    Good wishes to Andy and good luck to Ms Chapman

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  • July 12, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    It is good to see promotions from within the team. So often publishers bring in people from outside, with no affinity whatsoever.

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  • July 13, 2018 at 11:56 am

    It would be interesting to know why Andy left so quickly. He had only been a journalist for nine years when he was promoted to editor. That is fast in normal circumstances. Perhaps he has got out as the he fears the Echo is going down fast. Shame the Echo didn’t bring someone with experience in to shake the place up.

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  • July 13, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    You’re right, nine years is a long time in most businesses and is about par for the course for a traditional editorship however length of time served and experience are no longer key factors when choosing an editor any longer as we all know.
    I too am surprised at the swiftness of his departure and lack of the usual good wishes PR piece from his bosses but, like you,I suspect he had seen enough and decided he was somewhere he no longer wanted to be so decided to jump ship apparently with no position to go to, whoch in itself tells us much

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  • July 13, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Dave – who’s to say Ms Chapman will not shake the place up?

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  • July 20, 2018 at 12:29 am

    I am sure everyone in the industry will wish Ms Chapman well. It would be interesting to know what proportion of editors who were in post at Newsquest five years ago remain in their roles. The answer is not many. The reason? One suspects, as ever, the bottom line is the main motivating factor as, generally speaking and not necessarily in this specific case, editorships have either been done away with, or their replacements paid substantially lower salaries. Times that by 30 or 40 and you have substantial annual cost savings. Meanwhile the Newsquest exectuvies who have seen circulations and revenues go down faster than the Titanic, remain in charge.

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