Thwaites joined Reach, then Trinity Mirror, in 2003 as editorial development manager. He edited the Teesside Gazette from 2005 to 2011, during which time he launched Gazette Live, the first website under Reach’s now ubiquitous “Live” branding for its online regional output.
From 2011 until 2018 Thwaites served as editor-in-chief for the Newcastle Chronicle and Reach in the North East of England, before moving to the editorship of the MEN in April 2018.
Reach said that under Thwaites’ leadership the paper’s “digital audience accelerated rapidly, reaching one in three Brits a month and generating well over one billion page views a year”.
He was succeeded by Sarah Lester in July last year when he moved to work on UK-wide strategic projects in the marketplace publisher role. Thwaites has not yet announced his next role, nor has Reach has not named his successor.
Reach chief digital publisher David Higgerson said: “Darren has been a leading figure not just within Reach, but within regional journalism, as it has reinvented itself for online platforms over the last decade.
“His passion for making sure newsrooms in Newcastle, Teesside and latterly Manchester embraced new digital storytelling tools to make sure great journalism was read by as many people as possible helped shape the way many newsrooms beyond his own now connect with readers online. On a personal level, it’s been a privilege to work with someone as committed, curious and determined as Darren for over a decade.”
Thwaites said: “Over the years, I’ve had the great privilege of working with brilliant editorial and commercial teams across several regions in an industry packed with pace, energy and creativity. I’ve learned from the best in the business in gaining the leadership experience needed to become editor-in-chief of Britain’s biggest regional news brand.
“Those experiences have given me a few ideas about what I’d like to do next and I’m very excited about taking on some new opportunities and achieving new goals.
“I’m thankful to Reach and all my colleagues for the success we’ve shared together.”
Email email@example.com to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog