York Press boss to leave as editing process merged with Bradford

30 Dec 2014 @ 1.11 pm
| Business, News
Two editors: incoming Yorkshire group editor Perry Austin-Clarke and outgoing Press editor Steve Hughes

More change in Walmgate as the York Press says goodbye to its editor Steve Hughes – and merges its editorial operations with the Bradford Telegraph and Argus.

Steve will leave on January 9, seven years after joining the paper as joint editor and managing director.

According to journalism website Hold The Front Page, Newsquest, the publisher of the Press, has decided to merge its editorial operations with Bradford paper the Telegraph & Argus.

The Bradford T&A editor Perry Austin-Clarke will take up the new role of group editor (Yorkshire) “overseeing both daily titles along with a number of sister weeklies”.

These changes were announced to staff before Christmas by David Coates, Newsquest Yorkshire & North East managing director.

Here is the announcement in full:

“The company plans to merge the management of its editorial operations in York & Bradford and after 13 successful years with Newsquest, Steve Hughes has decided to leave the company.

“Steve’s done a great job for us in York, helping to manage our operations through the worst of the credit crisis and he played an important role in our recent move into new offices in Walmgate.

“Our newspapers and associated websites have benefited from Steve’s stewardship and his influence will be missed by his friends and colleagues within the business.”

Sorry to see him go

Steve Hughes is a well-liked and respected editor both within the newspaper and the wider city.

Originally from Bristol, he began his career on the Hereford Times, spent five years at the Northern Echo in Darlington as deputy news editor, and joined the Press after six years as editor of The Bolton News.

During his time in Walmgate he has overseen the paper’s Stamp Out Poverty campaign and increased its digital presence.

Steve told us:

“I have immensely enjoyed my seven years at The Press and I will be very sad to leave the business and the wonderful team that I have been working with.

“It has been a period of huge economic and technological challenges and The Press has emerged in a strong position to carry on its good work as the main provider of news and information in the city and surrounding area in print, online and via social media.”

Journalists at the paper reacted with dismay at the news he was leaving and that the editorial operation in York would be overseen from Bradford – a very different city.

The news follows Newquest’s decision to axe 25 sub-editors, including five from the York Press, and ten each from the Northern Echo and the Telegraph & Argus, and sub these papers from Newport, Wales.

That decision led to a strike by journalists.

Unanswered questions

We asked Newsquest’s David Coates, the man who decided to merge York and Bradford’s editorial operations, these questions:

how can an editor based in Bradford gain the depth of understanding of a very different city like York required to edit its daily paper?
what assurances can you give readers that a paper edited in Bradford and subedited in Newport will reflect their lives and experiences?

David replied:

The York Press will, of course, continue to be edited in York.

We asked these follow-up questions:

will someone in due course be named editor of the York Press, as a successor to Steve Hughes?
If not, who will be editing the paper in York?

We await replies to these questions, and will update this post if we receive them.