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Editor quits weeklies after two years to take on ‘new adventure’

Katie FrenchAn editor has left two sister weeklies for a “new adventure” after almost two years in charge.

Katie French has announced her departure from Newsquest titles the Basingstoke Gazette and Andover Advertiser, which she had run since November 2019.

The first female editor in the Gazette’s 140-year history, Katie, pictured, joined Newsquest after previously freelancing for national titles and working as a reporter at MailOnline.

During her tenure, the Gazette successfully campaigned to keep Basingstoke Town Community Football Club in Basingstoke.

In a farewell editorial,  Katie praised her “first-class reporting team” for their work over the past two years.

She wrote: “One of my proudest achievements at The Gazette has been transforming the newsroom culture, building a diverse and vibrant team, and overseeing record-breaking growth online.

“I introduced a digital-first strategy in 2019 with an ambition to make The Gazette the number-one website for residents to get their local news.

“Our figures grew immediately from 430,000 page views a month to 1.9million. Web traffic continued to soar throughout 2020 with the Gazette seeing the highest year-on-year growth out of our newspaper group’s fleet of 168 titles.

“The success has been down to the team of passionate reporters who work around the clock to bring residents live, factual information about what is going on in their area. They never shy away from asking the questions that matter or getting to the crux of the matter.

“At a time of crisis, the people of Basingstoke turned to the Gazette in unprecedented numbers for news they could trust.

“It has been an honour to serve as the first female editor in the Gazette’s history. I would like to say thank you to my wonderful colleagues for their support.

“I will remain a Basingstoke resident and a Basingstoke reader. Please join me in continuing to support this excellent newspaper into its new era.”

Katie added she was now set to “embark on a new adventure”, and HTFP has approached her for further comment on what she will be doing next.

Digital reporter Megan Hinton, Katie’s Newsquest colleague in Hampshire, has also announced she is leaving to become digital news editor at radio station LBC.

Posting on Twitter, Megan said: “I can’t wait to get stuck in, tackling national stories alongside a team of incredibly talented journalists.”