A seasoned Johnston Press editor takes over the troubled Hartlepool Mail this month in the wake of the very public sacking of Harry Blackwood.
Paul Napier, currently editor of the Scarborough Evening News, has worked for Johnston’s for almost all of his career and has been editor of the company’s Banbury Guardian and editor-in-chief of the Bucks Herald.
Now 36, Napier is prepared for his new posting to be less than smooth after an unhappy period for staff at the Mail. “There are some challenges involved, I would have thought, but it is very exciting nonetheless. There is quite a job to do in Hartlepool,” he told Press Gazette. “Like all jobs, any editor going into any newspaper has a number of tasks to do and a number of challenges. Hartlepool will be no different.
“I have not been given any special brief. My brief will be to go in and make the very best of the staff and the market we have there. I think it’s a very exciting place to be. I can’t wait to get stuck in at Hartlepool.”
He starts on 21 May and Johnston must now find a replacement for him in Scarborough.
The Evening News’s sales stand at around 15,000, while the Mail sells about 6,000 more. There are fewer staff in Hartlepool because at Scarborough the company also produces a number of weekly papers.
Napier has been at the Evening News for just over 18 months and started his career in evening papers at the Kettering Evening Telegraph in 1990. He stayed seven years, rising from trainee reporter to assistant editor.
Blackwood left the Mail after an investigation by the company, which he alleged was instigated by Hartlepool MP Peter Mandelson, unhappy with the coverage he was getting in the newspaper.
By Jean Morgan