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Senior Reach journalist named as editor of award-winning daily

ChrisA senior journalist with Reach plc has been appointed to one of the UK’s most prestigious editorial posts.

Chris Sherrard, left, is to become the new editor of the Irish News following in the footsteps of renowned predecessor Noel Doran.

Noel, voted the best editor of the 21st century by HTFP readers, announced earlier this year that he was stepping down after 24 years as editor, although he will continue his long association with the paper.

Chris, 42, joins after 15 years at Reach, most recently audience and content director for Belfast and Republic of Ireland titles, which included the role of editor of Belfast Live.

He said: “As a long-time admirer and reader of the Irish News, it is my great honour to now edit this renowned newspaper.

The Irish News is an institution, and it is an enormous privilege to be asked to lead a team of journalists known for their independent thinking, incisive analysis, and depth of quality coverage.

“I have the utmost respect for Noel Doran and following him as editor is not only a great honour but also brings with it a responsibility I am keenly aware of.

“These are exciting times for the organisation and, building on Noel’s editorship, I intend to lead a team and brand that is bold, confident, and designed to embrace an ambitious digital transformation journey as we write the next chapters in the Irish News’ storied history.”

Chief executive of publisher IntoMedia Dominic Fitzpatrick added: “Chris brings strong experience in international and digital journalism and an impressive track record in leading talented teams of journalists across a range of print titles and news sites.

“The search for our new editor has been a lengthy and thorough process looking at candidates from across the UK and Ireland. We have left no stone unturned in appointing the best person to lead a critical part of our media organisation.

“Chris stood out in what was a tremendously strong line-up of candidates. In his 15 years at Reach, and earlier experience at Sky and Johnston Press, he has worked in almost every editorial job in a newsroom and has shown himself to be an inspiring and courageous leader.

“He has fronted and embraced huge changes in the industry with creativity and conviction, and we are confident he is the right editor to lead our organisation into the future.”

Chris has held a number of senior roles over the course of his 15-year career with Reach including launch editor of Yorkshire Live and audience and content director for the North West and Wales.

His departure from Reach, though not his new role, was announced to staff there on Monday in an internal memo that has been seen by HTFP.

He told colleagues:  “I am in my fifteenth year with the company and I am very proud of everything that has been achieved in that time.

“Serving as editor of Belfast Live, leading a fantastic team of journalists and people, was an honour and pleasure. I thank everyone who has supported me in my time with the company and wish everyone the best for the future.”

Reach chief digital publisher David Higgerson added: “I know Chris is very well-known and respected across our business and that he will be missed throughout our operations.

“On a personal level, I will sorely miss Chris’s support and wise counsel when he leaves and wish him all the best for the future.”