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Editor takes on more titles amid expansion at daily

Hannah ChapmanAn editor has added more weekly newspapers to her portfolio in a restructure which has seen their sister daily recruit new journalists.

Hannah Chapman, pictured, has been given the full-time position as Newsquest’s weeklies editor overseeing the Darlington & Stockton Times, Northern Farmer and Durham Advertiser series.

Hannah, previously editor of the Northern Echo, took on a part-time role as Times editor last year, with Karl Holbrook taking over as group editor at the Darlington-based daily.

The Echo has now announced the appointment of Mike Hughes, who will become its first business and commercial editor ahead of Treasury and Department for International Trade being moved from London to the area – a move for which the newspaper campaigned.

Mike, who joins the Echo on 21 June, has more than 40 years of experience at all levels of regional journalism and is currently Reach’s commercial audience editor for the North-East and Yorkshire.

From early May, BBC Radio Tees journalist Matthew Jones is also joining the paper from the BBC in a new digital sports journalist role.

The paper is also recruiting a senior print content editor and its first engagement and subscriptions editor, while Karl says more roles will be advertised in the coming days as the Echo aims to be the “premier news brand of the North”.

He said: “It’s a really exciting time for the Echo and the North-East generally – and I’m delighted to announce these key appointments today.

“Both Mike and Matthew bring with them incredible skill and passion, which I have no doubt will help us cement our position as the premier news brand of the North.

“We’ve been a vocal mouthpiece for businesses in Darlington and across the Tees Valley for more than 150 years. To keep working with them and giving them the sort of support, coverage and insight they deserve we need to bring in people with the level of experience, management skills and delivery that Mike has been known for wherever he has worked.

“There aren’t many journalists around with his understanding of the business and commercial aspects of media so we’re really looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the Echo as we lead the conversations around the Levelling Up agenda.

“Likewise, our sport coverage must change with the times and Matthew’s appointment from the BBC will bring with it a new impetus and the sort of audio and visual skills that will open up exciting new opportunities for us. I can’t wait to see what he will bring to the role.

“They will both be joining at an exciting time for us as we lift the lid on our ambitious growth plans.”

Karl went on to praise Hannah.

He said: “Hannah has done some fabulous work editing the D&S Times, which now has some of the best circulation figures in Newsquest and is beginning to show strong digital growth too. I can’t wait to see her influence on the Durham Advertiser series.

“In the past few months, our whole operation has undergone a significant transformation and the sky is the limit for what we can achieve next.”

Hannah said she was “thrilled” to be expanding her role.

She said: “Keeping communities informed of what is happening on their doorstep has never been more important, and along with our reporting team, we’ll be working hard to tell as many important stories from Durham, Consett, Stanley and Chester-le-Street as we can.”

Mike and Matthew have also shared their hopes for their new roles.

Mike said: “I’m hugely looking forward to working with Karl and Sales Director Ryan Fenwick and his team at such an amazing time.

“Innovation and ingenuity have always been at the heart of this town and the next few years will redefine it again as a powerhouse of investment, skills and jobs.

“I live a short walk from the town centre, so knowing I can help build something very special here was a unique opportunity I just couldn’t turn down.”

Matthew added: “Through working at BBC Radio Tees, I always watched the Echo’s sport journalists from afar. I was always blown away by the standard of reporting. To be offered this role is a wonderful opportunity but I know I’ve got big shoes to fill!

“Swapping a microphone for a dictaphone will bring some new challenges but I can’t wait to get started working alongside a brilliant sport journalist in Scott Wilson and be a small part of such a historic and prestigious newspaper.”