Berwick Advertiser appoints new editor

The Berwick Advertiser has marked its 200th anniversary with the appointment of a new editor.

Stuart Laundy, 40, is joining from the Teesdale Mercury in Barnard Castle where he was deputy editor.

He replaces Janet Wakenshaw who retired this month after 37 years with the company, the last 13 as editor. Wakenshaw experienced some of the most dramatic shifts in the Advertiser’s history.

Until the 1980s the paid-for weekly was still printed on hot metal and the 8,000 copies were run off at a press in the basement of the offices in the town centre. The newspaper was still family-run until the Smails sold it to Johnston Press in 2000 and not fully online until a couple of years ago.

The Advertiser has hung on to its broadsheet roots and is still made up at the Marygate editorial office but the pages are emailed to the Johnston Press IT centre at the Scotsman in Edinburgh and printed in Sunderland.

Acting editor Keith Hamblin says that while the circulation is not massive, the newspaper dominates its area.

‘We represent a large proportion of the population. The town only has 12,000 people and we’re the only paper in the area,’he said.

The newspaper is marking the bicentenary with 12 special supplements charting the changes over the past 200 years. It has also set up a community awards programme whereby locals nominate people in six categories – business, the community, the arts, caring, young people and sport.

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