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Editor takes redundancy after 34 years with regional daily

Phillip BowernA regional daily’s editor who served the newspaper for 34 years has taken voluntary redundancy as part of a round of cuts at its publisher.

Philip Bowern has left Reach plc daily the Western Morning News, which he has edited since 2020.

WMN production editor Charlie Elder has succeeded Philip at the Plymouth-based daily.

Philip, pictured, becomes the latest in a series of high-profile departures to be announced since Reach revealed plans last month to make 192 editorial roles redundant across the country.

Philip started his journalism career in 1979 at the Wiltshire Times in Trowbridge, also working as a district reporter for the Swindon Advertiser and Wiltshire Gazette & Herald before moving to the Bristol-based Western Daily Press.

He joined the WMN in 1988 as chief reporter in Plymouth and held a variety of roles including news editor, rural affairs editor and deputy editor.

Philip said: “It will be a wrench to leave the WMN after such a long career, but it seems like the right time and I have other projects to pursue.

“I have seen enormous changes in newspapers through the last 40-odd years and feel privileged to have been able to work in print for such a long time.

“I will miss my colleagues and wish them all the very best for the future.

“Despite declines in newspaper sales and the rise of digital, I believe print titles that really know their readership still have a future.”

Charlie Elder 2023Charlie, left,  has worked on local, regional and national papers throughout a 35-year career as a journalist – including the East Anglian Daily Times, Hampstead & Highgate Express, Exeter Express & Echo and Crawley Observer.

He has also worked abroad at the Waikato Times in New Zealand and the Times of Tonga.

Charlie said: “I am delighted and honoured to take over as Editor of a daily newspaper which has played such a vital role in Westcountry life throughout its long history.

“The Western Morning News has served readers since 1860 – and I understand I am only the 15th editor of the title in all that time.

“Despite upheaval in the print media industry and reduced resources, we continue to provide quality local journalism, delivering trusted news, cheering on our local sports teams and championing this special part of Britain.”

As well as Philip, high-profile departures since Reach’s cuts plan was announced include Hull Daily Mail and Grimsby Telegraph editor Jamie Macaskill, Teesside Gazette editor Ian McNeal, Cheshire Live editor Frances Barrett, Adam Moss, who edits the Leicester Mercury, Coventry Telegraph and Northants Live, Burton Mail editor Julie Crouch and Nottingham Post content editor Michael Broomhead.

Alison Gow, the company’s interim audience and content director for video and audio, also announced she was leaving the day before the proposals were revealed.