Irvine to step down as Manchester Evening News editor-in-chief after six years

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

Rob Irvine is to step down as editor-in-chief of the Manchester Evening News after six years.

He will be replaced by Darren Thwaites, currently editor-in-chief of Trinity Mirror North East, who will take over Irvine's remit - which also includes the Huddersfield Examiner - at the end of March.

MEN owner Trinity Mirror is giving no further information at this stage for Irvine's decision to step down.

Trinity Mirror Regionals editorial director Alan Edmunds said: "Rob has been an outstanding editor of the MEN and the skill and sensitivity with which he steered the coverage of last year’s Arena atrocity, championing the incredible spirit of Manchester, was testament to that.

"He leaves with our huge thanks and very best wishes."

In common with all other regional newspapers, Irvine has overseen a dramatic fall in print circulation but the MEN's website is now the largest regional news site in the UK, with over 650,000 uniques as of February 2017, ahead of even the London Evening Standard.

His tenure will be best remembered for its coverage of the Manchester Arena attack of May 22nd 2017. 

Irvine said: "It has been a privilege to be editor of the Manchester Evening News and to have led such a talented team of journalists.

"We have tackled the ever-changing landscape of multi-media journalism to build a local, national and global audience. What matters to our readers matters to us.

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"We offered a place for the people of Greater Manchester to come together when our city suffered a murderous act of terror which claimed 22 innocent lives in May last year. We raised millions of pounds for the bereaved and those most affected, and through our We Stand Together campaign we are helping to heal our city's wounds.

"Now it's time for me to hand over the reins."

Thwaites's position in the North East will be covered by Neil Hodgkinson, editor-in-chief of Humber and Lincolnshire, whose brief will be widened.

Helen Dalby and Sarah Lester, heads of digital in the North East and Manchester respectively, will also step up to become the senior editor in their centres.

"Darren is one of our leading editors-in-chief and will be terrific in his new role", said Edmunds.

"He knows the region very well, having started his career on the Huddersfield Examiner, and is relishing such a fantastic opportunity. Darren pioneered our hyperlocal strategy when editor in Teesside and led the implementation of our digital-first newsroom model in Newcastle ahead of it being rolled out across our regional centres.

"Neil's vast experience and skill also equip him brilliantly to make the most of the new opportunities created by leading a wider region.

"I'm also delighted for Helen and Sarah. They have both been key to much of our digital success and will do a superb job of helping to lead us through more change.”