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February 17, 2017updated 20 Feb 2017 9:55am

Grimsby and Scunthorpe Telegraphs left without editors – Michelle Laylor says exit ‘sad end to wonderful career’

By Freddy Mayhew

After two decades at the helm, the editor of the Grimsby Telegraph has been forced to step down as part of a massive restructure under publishers Trinity Mirror that has made 78 staff redundant.

In an email to staff today, seen by Press Gazette, Michelle Lalor, who has also edited the Scunthrope Telegraph since May last year, said her departure was a “truly sad end to a wonderful career”.

She confirmed the Grimsby Telegraph and Scunthorpe Telegraph would “now move forward with no editor” under the restructure.

Lincolnshire Echo editor Charles Walker is also understood to be stepping down next week.

Press Gazette understands the three titles will be overseen by Hull Daily Mail editor Neil Hodgkinson, who also holds the role of editor-in-chief for Humber and Lincolnshire region.

All three titles were formerly owned by regional publisher Local World, which was bought out by Trinity Mirror in October 2015 in a deal worth £220m.

Last month Press Gazette reported Trinity Mirror’s decision to make 78 staff redundant across its network of regional newspapers under plans to create a dozen new subbing hubs nationwide in an extensive restructure of its operations.

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In her email, Lalor told staff: “Today I say goodbye to an industry that I have lived and loved for almost 30 years – many of those spent in the newsrooms of Grimsby and Scunthorpe, which I have led for almost two decades.

“Sadly the Telegraphs in both towns now move forward with no editor, a person who has been so vital over the years in setting the tone for the towns, which are still true communities.”

“In a world where many pretend to care, I genuinely did – for the stories, the people around me and the communities.

“Over the years it has been our passion to deliver the news to the latter, but also to campaign and strive to effect change, which we certainly did. From raising a staggering £1-million for Scunthorpe’s hospice, to ensuring a lasting memorial to the fishermen of Grimsby – we were there.

“There was the serious too, the day when the Grimsby newsroom fell silent for just a split second as we realised one of Britain’s most notorious killers, Ian Huntley, was from our town.”

She added: “As times changed, we changed with them – from different leadership, to the onset of digital.

“I am proud to say that as I leave today, the Grimsby Telegraph remains one of the top performing daily regional titles in the country and has led the change when it comes to digital production, with innovative news and business websites.

“In both towns, the teams are hard-working and dedicated – I have led change and they have accepted it and supported me and I am ever grateful for that.

“So many young journalists have also passed through the doors and one of my greatest pleasures has been to see that person who was once me, arrive and grow – the person with the desire to break a good story, who would work tirelessly to get there before the rest and who had a real hunger and fight for the job itself, which remained until the end.

“While we must all embrace change, we must never lose that fight! Thank you for the good times…a truly sad end to a wonderful career.”

A former colleague of Lalor’s told Press Gazette: “She was passionate about the local community and cared a lot about the paper. It’s a shame she’s leaving, but she’s not the first and she probably won’t be the last.”

A spokesperson for Trinity Mirror said the publisher would not be commenting at this stage.

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