Malcolm Warne

For the first time in its 168 year history, it seems the Darlington and Stockton Times will be without a dedicated editor. Instead the weekly newspaper, brainchild of Liberal philanthropist and barrister, George Brown, who sought to challenge the Torymonopoly of the press in the region, will be edited by senior staff at its sister daily newspaper.

Last night it was announced that, after 23 years as the editor of the newspaper, known locally as The D&S, Malcolm Warne has decided to leave his post.

Warne has edited the weekly as part of his 35-year career based in Darlington with Newsquest.

He has also edited the Durham Times and the Advertiser series of free newspapers. Previous posts have included news editor of The Northern Echo.

It’s a move which reflects the changing fortunes of the local newspaper sector as former editor of The Northern Echo Peter Sands explained in a post on his blog last night:

“It comes as no surprise to me that Malcolm Warne, the editor of the Darlington & Stockton Times, is on his way. There aren’t many weekly newspapers operating out of daily houses that still have their own editors these days. Indeed it is great credit to Malcolm that he has lasted as long as he did.

“It was inevitable that his job would eventually be surplus to requirements but that does not make it any less sad. With his contacts, talent and appetite for hard work, he will no doubt find a good life after the editor’s chair. He is one of the good guys, I wish him well.”

Following Warne’s departure at the end of May, Peter Barron, who has edited The Northern Echo for 16 years, will assume responsibility for the company’s entire editorial operations as Group Editor (Newsquest North-East).

Both Barron and Warne declined to comment further when contacted by Prolific North but in the official announcement, Barron added.”It has been a privilege to have worked with Malcolm over three decades of momentous change in our industry. Throughout, he has been a source of great support, not only as a colleague but as a trusted friend. I will miss his wisdom, vast experience and great integrity.”

Newsquest has been re-structuring its editorial departments in many areas in recent times. In December the company announced that it is to merge the editorial operations of two of its Yorkshire titles: The Press in York and the Telegraph & Argus in Bradford.
Previously it has seen strike action from staff in both the North West and the North East over its moves to take production to a centralised subbing hub in South Wales.