Chris Blackhurst to integrate work of 300 journalists across Independent, Evening Standard and London Live

Chris Blackhurst’s new group content director role will see him pool together the work of around 300 journalists across The Independent titles, London Evening Standard and soon to be launched television station, London Live.

Blackhurst, who was appointed editor of The Independent in January 2011, will lead the project alongside Doug Wills, managing editor across the titles.

The move will see all journalists across the titles located on one editorial floor in Northcliffe House.

In April last year Blackhurst was promoted to group editorial director of the Evening Standard and Independent newspapers. Today's reshuffle means that Blackhurst will step back from day-to-day editing.

He told Press Gazette: “My role is to make sure first of all that we integrate –  that’s not going to be easy. And then once we have integrated, to make sure the best journalism is going to each platform and when it’s going there."

Stressing the relatively small scale of the paper, he said: “We are not massive, we are not News International, we do not have 600 journalists like The Guardian”. Blackhurst said it would be “pointless” to send more than one reporter across the group to the same press conference, football match or other event.

But he said there would be different content for different platforms, pointing out that there will be different deadlines for The Independent titles, Evening Standard and the London Live TV station.

He said: “We are not going to do anything silly to affect the independence of each brand – that would be commercial suicide."

The announcement comes as Amol Rajan and Oliver Duff were unveiled as the new editors of The Independent and i newspapers respectively.

The group has also appointed Evening Standard deputy editor Ian Walker as group head of news reporting to Blackhurst.

All editors, an announcement said, will now report to owner Evgeny Lebedev on “editorial matters”.

The moves, staff were told, come as the group addresses two “urgent imperatives” – launching London Live and switching titles from print-centric to digital and print “businesses”.

Managing director Andrew Mullins told staff the moves are “the start of a considerable period of change and reorgansation”.

By the end of September all editorial staff across the group will occupy the second floor of Northcliffe House, which will also house a newly-built television news studio ahead of London Live's spring 2014 launch.

Mullins said: “To thrive, we have to behave and operate differently to the way we did in the past, and we have to innovate, test and take risks. Evgeny’s newly-selected team is perfectly suited to take on this challenge.”

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