Comet editor Darren Isted stands down after 25 years

Darren Isted, the editor of Stevenage and North Hertfordshire newspaper the Comet, has moved on after 25 years at the title.

Isted joined the Comet in April 1989, with stints on both the news and sports desks before taking on the editorship in September 2002.

The weekly Comet series title, published by Archant Herts & Cambs, recorded an average circulation of 66,228 in the second half of 2013, according to ABC.

On his departure last week, Isted, who is leaving the paper to start up his own PR business, was praised by MPs, councillors and his publishing director, Jonathan Cropley.

Cropley said: “Archant and our teams in North Herts are incredibly grateful to Darren for his passion, commitment and sheer hard work over the last 25 years. He will be sorely missed and we wish him well for the future.

“Although he will be an extremely hard act to follow, we expect to be able to announce his successor as editor for the Comet very soon.”

North East Hertfordshire MP Oliver Heald said: “Darren has always been very approachable to elected representatives. He wants to report local concerns and issues and has been totally committed to local community activities and promoting our area through the Comet.”

He added: “He has given a voice to good causes and community events. He is also a nice bloke and I wish him well for the future.”

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said: “Darren will be missed as he is very well-known in the local community and has made the Comet a community-based newspaper. I have worked with him on a range of campaigns and developed a variety of front page stories and exclusives for the Comet, because Darren could be trusted to focus on what was right for the community.

“On a personal level, I always valued his commitment to Stevenage, local charities we supported together and his passion for Stevenage FC. I will be working with him in his future role and look forward to continuing to develop the massive talent we have here in Stevenage.”

And Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor said: “As a journalist he has always struck a great balance between fairness and appropriate challenge and I have appreciated his professionalism and conscientiousness.

“We will miss Darren at the Comet but hope that his new venture will keep him in touch with our Stevenage community and I wish him every success in the future.”

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