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Two editors announce departures hours after publisher’s cuts plan revealed

Ian McNealTwo editors have announced they are leaving their roles just hours after their publisher revealed fresh cuts plans.

Ian McNeal, who edits the Teesside Gazette and its Teesside Live sister website, has revealed he has stood down from the post after an association with his hometown newspaper that dates back 20 years.

Meanwhile, Cheshire Live editor Frances Barrett, who has run the title since its launch in 2018, has also confirmed her departure.

Frances and Ian’s announcements came just hours after Gazette publisher Reach plc revealed plans to cut 192 journalism jobs across the country and a day after Alison Gow, the company’s interim audience and content director for video and audio, announced she was leaving the business.

HTFP has sought clarification on whether Ian, Frances and Alison’s roles have been made redundant.

Ian, pictured, wrote on Twitter yesterday: “I am today standing down as editor of Teesside Live after more than 13 years working at the Gazette – and 20 years since my first stint.

“It has been an honour and privilege to edit my hometown paper and thank my colleagues over the years for their support.

“Local journalism faces huge challenges but I have been proud to lead a team of hard-working journalists who are dedicated to their readers and our area and will continue to cheer the team on.”

Frances said: “Today marks my last day with Reach plc, after nearly 10 years.

“I started out as a timid, shy print reporter covering a really small rural area and worked my way up to become Cheshire Live editor.

“I have learned so much and it’s been hard and challenging but wow, have I enjoyed it.

“I’ve been mentored by some of the best – looking at you [Chester Chronicle editor] Michael Green – and worked with such talented journalists.”

Ian began his career in 2003 and worked as a financial journalist at the Middlesbrough-based Gazette before moving to PA in 2005.

He also specialised in finance reporting there before returning to the Gazette in 2009.

Ian previously held senior roles including head of content and digital editor before taking up the titles’ editorship.

Helen Dalby, audience and content director for Reach plc in the North East and Yorkshire, said in a message to staff: “I am very sad to share with you the news today that Ian McNeal has decided to step down from his position as editor of Teesside Live.

“Ian has led the team brilliantly as editor with integrity, dedication, compassion and poise.

“He is a proud and passionate ambassador for Teesside and we will miss him a great deal.”

Frances joined the Chester Chronicle as a reporter in 2013 and later became content editor, before taking on Cheshire Live in 2018.