Northern Ireland’s Sunday Life newspaper has appointed the youngest editor in its history.
Former News of the World reporter Martin Breen takes the chair at the age of 32, after being acting editor of the largest selling paper in the province since Jim Flanagan in February.
Breen is Sunday Life’s fourth editor in 21 years. He joined Sunday Life’s sister daily the Belfast Telegraph as a graduate trainee in 1998 and then worked on Sunday Life as a reporter in 2001.
He was named young journalist of the year in 2001and joined the Irish News of the World in 2001 as its bureau chief in Belfast.
Breen won the Coca Cola and Chartered Institute of Public Relations Northern Ireland scoop of the year in 2008 for his story on Ulster police chief SIr Hugh Orde’s secret lovechild and then rejoined Sunday Life the same year as executive editor.
Among his first ideas was to introduce the Spirit of Northern Ireland awards, which focus on “ordinary people doing extraordinary things”. Due to the popularity of the competition Sunday Life now plans to make it an annual award ceremony.
Among Breen’s first appointments is to make former Irish News of the World colleague David O’Dornan the new associate editor of Sunday Life.
He has also overseen the complete redesign of Sunday Life from front to back page.
Breen said: “We have had a tremendous response from our readership and it has all been positive.
“I want to put Sunday Life into every community in Northern Ireland and make it a talking point in all the towns and villages as well as the major cities.
“We have also increased our sports coverage to take in more Irish league soccer matches, as well as the Gaelic Athletic Association’s football and hurling and we have increased coverage of the English Premier League.”
According to official figures from ABC, Sunday Life recorded an average weekly circulation of 63,528 in the second half of 2008, down six per cent year on year.