Alastair Machray to leave as Reach restructures editorial

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

One of the region’s longest serving newspaper editors is to leave as part of Reach’s major restructure.

Alastair Machray, who’s edited Reach titles in Liverpool for 25 years and is also the publisher’s North West Editor-in-Chief, will leave the organisation this Autumn.

Reach is cutting 550 staff, or 12% of its entire workforce after reporting declining revenues across print and digital.

The group is planning to centralise its editorial and bring together national, regional and local news operations, to “simplify” its management structure.

This will include setting up an internal newswire service that all its publications can access. This will be headed up by Mirror Editor, Alison Phillips; Express Editor, Gary Jones; Star Editor, Jon Clark; David Higgerson, its Chief Audience Officer; and Caroline Waterson who’s Head of Magazines and Supplements.

The Shared Content Units, which were first introduced in 2013, to provide features content to regional papers, are now going to be merged with its national Advanced Features Team.

It is also making changes on a more regional level, splitting its operations into 4 distinct regions:

North East and Yorkshire, plus Scotland; North West and North Wales; Midlands, Cheshire and Lincolnshire; South of England.

Each of these local areas will be led by a Marketplace Publisher, who’ll be responsible for print and online.

Darren Thwaites will head up the North West and North Wales; Neil Hodgkinson will look after the North East and Yorkshire, plus Scotland; while Marc Reeves will oversee the Midlands, Wales, Cheshire and Lincolnshire.

Editors of local news outlets will now report to 6 regional Audience and Content Directors.

These include Alison Gow (North West, North Wales); Helen Dalby (North East and Yorkshire) and Anna Jeys (Midlands, Cheshire, Lincolnshire).

The editorial changes will first be visible to the public with the relaunch of its Live network of websites later this year. These will share editorial guidelines and style guides. Their roll-out will be led by newly appointed Audience and Content Director (Live Network), Ed Walker, who will also remain in charge of its Your Area operation.

Liverpool Echo

Alastair Machray joined Reach (then Trinity Mirror) in 1994, initially as Assistant Editor of the Liverpool Echo. During that time he helped redesign the newspaper so that it could be printed in colour.

A year later, he was named Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post and Welsh Daily Post. He remained there for 10 years, before becoming Editor of the Liverpool Echo.

He was in charge when the Hillsborough Inquest reached its verdict, which won the Echo Newspaper of the Year. He also launched a Sunday edition of the paper.

More recently he urged readers to “invest in trusted news” by contributing to the costs of quality journalism.

“I believe the time is right, personally and professionally, to allow others to drive the business forward and face up to the exciting challenges ahead,” stated Machray.

“I am extraordinarily proud to have edited the greatest brand in regional journalism and it’s now time for the Echo to enjoy fresh ideas and impetus.”

He will be succeeded by the Liverpool Echo’s Senior Editor, Maria Breslin, who will be its first female editor.

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