Editor swaps Leeds for life in the Lakes

By Sarah Lagan

Yorkshire Evening Post editor Neil Hodgkinson says he is leaving one
of the “best jobs in journalism” to go to one of the “other best jobs
in journalism” as he prepares for his new role as editorial director of
Cumbrian Newspapers.

He replaces Keith Sutton who retires in January – although his start date is yet to be confirmed.

Hodgkinson, 45, has been editor of the Leeds-based Post for almost seven years and was deputy editor for four years before that.

Under
his editorship, the Post picked up numerous of awards, including Press
Gazette’s evening newspaper of the year in 2001 and Johnston Press’s
newspaper of the year for three consecutive years.

He will now
edit the News & Star in Carlisle, the Cumberland News (Press
Gazette’s newspaper of the year), the East Cumbrian Gazette and West
Cumbrian Gazette, and the Eskdale & Liddesdale Advertiser.

Hodgkinson
said: “It was a huge wrench to leave the Yorkshire Evening Post because
we are a close team and my style of management tends to make friends of
the people I work with, as well as me being their editor, but for my
career this directorship was too good an opportunity to turn down.”

The inner-city YEP shifts 67,180 copies while Cumbrian Newspapers’ flagship rural News & Star sells just 26,025.

Industry
insiders believe Hodgkinson may have been lured by the appeal of
working for a family-owned group, rather than the plc culture of
Johnston Press.

He said: “People ask if I will miss the big city,
but I wasn’t born in a big city, I spent the first years of my life in
Fleetwood, which prepares you for anything.

“I’m looking forward
to crossing the Pennines again. I have left a large group to join a
smaller group and all I would say is that it is to advance my career.”

Hodgkinson
is a Lancastrian by birth and familiar with the Carlisle patch. He
started his career on the Lancashire Evening Gazette in 1979 and moved
on to the Lancashire Evening Post where he became deputy. He left for
the Yorkshire Evening Post before returning to the LEP as editor in
1996.

He added: “My proudest moment at the Yorkshire Evening Post
was picking up the Press Gazette evening newspaper of the year award.

“Most
recently we spent a long time beating off the British National Party in
this area and not without bravery by some reporters who have come under
attack.”

This year the paper picked up the Commission for Racial Equality local newspaper of the year award.

Hodgkinson
is a founding member of the Leeds Initiative Board, which promotes the
city and his paper’s “Life in Leeds” campaign to win Government funding
for inner-city regeneration.

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