Award-winning crime reporter Phil Mills, who was contentiously made redundant from The Argus in Brighton after 26 years of service, has joined Southern News and Pictures as news editor.
Mills was approached by former Argus photographer Stephen Lawrence, who set up the business. Another former Argus photographer, Darren Cool, has also joined the agency.
Mills is the first full-time reporter dedicated to the agency.
He said: “There’s a lot for me to learn now after 37 years in journalism. It’s not just a question of reporting, but also selling, which is new to me. The Argus is in my blood, I’m Brighton born and bred. I was very proud to work for it and wish it the best for the future.
“It’s sad to see circulation declining in all regional newspapers under the current climate, but I’m optimistic.
Journalism is being kicked around at the moment and the bean counters are having their day, but ultimately I think journalism and journalists will fight back and it will swing back like a pendulum.”
Staff at The Argus protested when Mills was made redundant from the paper in June, as he was seen as one of the most respected journalists there.
Lawrence said: “To have a man on our team of Phil’s experience and someone with so many contacts across the city is brilliant for us. I’m sure he will keep our photographers busy in the Brighton and Sussex area.” Mills formerly worked on the Eastbourne Gazette and Herald, and has done shifts on national tabloids.