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Editorial boss bows out after two decades running regional titles

Bill Martin 1An editorial boss who ran regional daily titles for more than two decades has announced his departure from the industry.

Bill Martin, left, has said farewell to Reach plc after 35 years “in the news game”.

Bill edited the Western Morning News between 2012 and 2020 and ran its sister daily the Plymouth Herald for just under 15 years prior to that.

Since July 2020, he has held the role of marketplace publisher for Reach in the South of England.

Bill, who worked his last day at the Plymouth-based WMN on Friday, said: “After more than 32 years in this game I’m leaving with a tinge of sadness and a lot of excitement for the future.

“I have loved my time in the regional press, particularly being part of and leading teams in the South-West, and even in some very tough times the spirit and resilience of those teams has been remarkable.

“Editing the Plymouth Herald and the Western Morning News was an absolute privilege, very exciting and most of all fun.

“Subsequently being part of the transformation of the business and our newsrooms, and watching so many new and talented people grow, has been hugely rewarding.

“I shall miss all of the people I have been lucky enough to work with, but work has been pretty much my entire life for more than 30 years, and I have always known there are other things that I want to do. Now I want to have a go at some of those before I get too old.

“I leave with the regional press at last in a period of renaissance and I look forward to watching that continue from the top of mountains, the middle of cricket pitches and the odd bar.”

Following Bill’s departure, Reach’s Midlands & Wales marketplace publisher Marc Reeves will take on interim responsibility for the group’s South-West brands.

Colleagues and MPs have been among those to pay tribute to Bill following his announcement.

Reach chief operating officer Alan Edmunds said: “Working with Bill since he came on board as part of the Local World integration has been a real pleasure.

“Bill and the team transformed the South West editorial operation very quickly, particularly in terms of growing the digital audience. The desire to innovate and the success with which new approaches were implemented was notable.

“He has continued to drive the business forward in excellent fashion in his latest role and has our huge thanks for all that he has achieved, plus our best wishes for the future.”

Reach Regionals audience and content director Ed Walker posted on Twitter: “Thanks for all the help over the years. We even managed to have some fun too. Always enjoyed my trips to Plymouth, physical or virtual.”

Scott Harrison, editor of Reach’s weeklies in Cornwall and Devon, added: “It’s been both a privilege and a pleasure working with you.  Sad to see you depart but time to write some new headlines. Go steady.”

And Luke Pollard, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, wrote: “Thank you for all your work promoting the South-West. Good luck with your next move Bill.”