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December 20, 2023

The Independent poaches Mail Online US editor to ‘accelerate’ growth across Atlantic

Louise Thomas will lead The Independent's fastest-growing market.

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Independent has poached Mail Online’s US editor to lead its expansion across the Atlantic.

Louise Thomas has edited dailymail.com in the US since 2019, developing newsroom strategy and setting up its features department.

As US editor at The Independent, she will lead an editorial team of about 45 people, which has grown by 50% in the past year, in New York, Washington DC and LA.

The newsbrand moved former chief executive Zach Leonard to a new role of global chief operating officer and president, North America to grow The Independent in the US this summer.

Leonard said: “Louise brings significant editorial perspective and expertise to The Independent’s US strategic goals. Her leadership will accelerate audience growth and enhance journalistic quality in our fastest growing market – through the US election and beyond.”

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The Independent is currently the 41st biggest news website in the US according to Press Gazette’s monthly ranking, and has recently seen consistent year-on-year growth.

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Thomas described The Independent as “one of the great brands in journalism” and said she is “especially excited to take on a new challenge by taking the helm of the already successful US operation and take it to “the next level”.

And editor-in-chief Geordie Greig described Thomas as “an exceptionally talented journalist and leader in the digital world who will bring enormous experience and creativity to our American team.

“Her appointment is part of our growth and expansion in the US and we are looking forward to her leading us to even greater heights.”

Thomas began her career in local news at the Western Morning News before joining the Daily Mail in 2008 and Mail Online as news editor in 2012. While in that role, she led a restructuring of the newsroom and launched its first dedicated politics team.

She then moved to New York as deputy editor in 2016 before taking on the editorship of the US-based site in 2019.

Christian Broughton, The Independent’s former editor and managing director who was appointed as chief executive to succeed Leonard this summer, told Press Gazette in September that expanding in the US presented one of five main revenue-driving potentials for the brand alongside e-commerce, Independent TV, reader revenue and AI.

Broughton said the 2024 US presidential election will be a “really big moment for us” and that the DC bureau in particular was “landing world exclusives”.

“I think that the US media market needs a new voice in that area, we saw what happened to some of the really big established brands after the last election where things didn’t go smoothly for them. And right now is a great time to offer the US public another take, a really truly independent take on the news agenda,” he said.

Press Gazette reported last week that the editor of Daily Mail Australia, Barclay Crawford, is moving to become the new executive editor for dailymail.com in the US.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
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  • Retired
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