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Daily editor quits for new breaking news role with rival publisher

Victoria BirchA regional daily’s editor is set to join a rival publisher in a new management role.

Reach plc has announced the appointment of Victoria Birch as its new breaking news and trends editor for the South-East of England.

Victoria, pictured, is currently North London and South Essex editor for Newsquest, where she looks after titles including Basildon-based daily The Echo.

In her role, Victoria will oversee a new team which Reach says will “turbocharge the region’s breaking news capabilities”.

Her appointment comes amid a management restructure by Reach in the South-East which will see the company’s Surrey and Hampshire editor Deanne Blaylock oversee the northern and eastern areas of the region, with Kent and Sussex editor Luke Jacobs overseeing the south coast and western areas.

Lucy Thorne, currently editor in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Buckinghamshire, will add Surrey to her portfolio, while Sussex content editor Ben Ashton is promoted to South Coast editor, overseeing Hampshire, Kent and Sussex.

David Bartlett, audience and content director for the South East, said: “We look forward to 2022 with a strengthened management team and ready to deliver the best local journalism for our readers.

“These promotions and appointments are part of a wider set of changes as we continue to invest in the South-East.

“Dee and Luke have been key members of the senior management team of the South East, and I’m really pleased they are taking on more responsibility as we continue to expand.

“I’m delighted to welcome Victoria to Reach – she brings a wealth of management and journalism experience and we look forward to working together.

“Lucy has successfully overseen two launches this year, and will bring those lessons to the Surrey newsroom as we continue to learn and adapt to changing reader interests and demands.”

Reach previously announced Norfolk and Suffolk editor Abigail Rabbett would add Cambridgeshire to her portfolio, while Lauren MacDougall was recently promoted to senior editor (customer).

David added: “Ben and Abi are fantastic talents and will take forward their brands with verve and energy as we continue to grow in the various marketplaces they will oversee.

“Our post-publication activities have never been more important and Lauren has made an immediate impact in the few months she has been in post.

“So in summary, we end 2021 with a huge sense of optimism and determination to really deliver the details for our readers and continue growing across all marketplaces, with a brilliant management team in place.”

David Higgerson, deputy group editor-in-chief at Reach, said: “With a number of new launches over the past two year, our editors in the South-East have led the way in creating a positive future for local journalism in the region.

“Our journalism in the South-East reaches more people than ever before, but we know we have to earn the attention of readers every single day, and the structure David is assembling in the region will allow our journalists to do that.”