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Editor returns in Newsquest shake-up after year away from industry

Gavin ThompsonAn editor who left the regional press just over 12 months ago is returning to take charge of a daily newspaper.

Gavin Thompson, who left the Western Daily Press in a restructure last year, will take on a new role as Newsquest’s regional editor for Wales which include the editorship of the South Wales Argus.

Gavin, pictured, will replace Newsquest East Wales editor Nicole Garnon, who has been in charge at the Newport-based daily since 2016, and will also have wider oversight of the company’s editorial teams in East and West Wales.

Newsquest has also announced former Western Telegraph editor Fiona Phillips will be returning to the role after its incumbent Steve Adams also decided to leave the company.

Fiona will have responsibility for Newsquest’s West Wales titles, as Steve did, but will report to Gavin in his newly created post, while the company’s North Wales portfolio will continue to be treated separately.

Gavin, who has served as deputy editor of South West Business Insider since leaving the Bristol-based WDP, will take up his new post on 25 May.

He said: “There has, perhaps, never been a more important time for the regional press. I am both excited to be joining Newsquest to lead its editorial teams in Wales, and also acutely aware of the responsibility the position carries to serve those communities and safeguard the future of the local titles within them.

“Despite the challenges this pandemic poses for the industry, if we are producing quality journalism — whether that’s holding those in power to account, sharing our readers’ heartbreak and joys, or providing light relief — I believe local journalism has a strong future.

“It will be unusual meeting everyone who works on the Wales titles through a screen at first, but I’ve seen the good work the journalists have produced in recent times and I’m looking forward to getting to know them and the rest of the team.”

Fiona, 59, began her career on the Haverfordwest-based Telegraph and first edited it from 2002 to 2010.

She then moved to run the Hereford Times before moving into a group editorial management role with Newsquest, and has more recently working in public relations roles for the Royal College of Nursing, Coleg Gwent and the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

Fiona, who will return to the Telegraph on 29 April, said: “I am absolutely delighted to return to my roots and to the Newsquest team working in Pembrokeshire.

“I have never wanted to do anything else other than be a journalist — my very first job in newspapers was as Pembroke School correspondent, when I was pupil there aged 15 — and while some things have changed massively since I first started, the role of editor of a regional weekly hasn’t altered much. It is still about providing a voice for the local community and telling the stories of its residents.”

Toby Granville, editorial director at Newsquest, said: “I am delighted Gavin is joining the business — and I’m very much looking forward to working with Fiona again too. Both are talented Editors who I’m sure will continue to build on the success of our titles in Wales thanks to the great work of their predecessors.

“I would also like to personally thank Nicole and Steve for their support and the huge contribution they’ve made to the business over many years with their outstanding newspapers and websites.”