By Jean Morgan
Former News of the World and Hello! editor Phil Hall will return to newspapers next month after two years in magazines.
He will be editorial development director at all five of Trinity Mirror's national titles and will head the managing editor's department.
Hall, who has been with the Press Association's contract department for only six months after leaving Hello!, starts his new job developing the Daily and Sunday Mirror, The People and Scotland's Daily Record and Sunday Mail on 3 February, the day Trinity Mirror's new chief executive, Sly Bailey, begins work.
Bailey will have been aware that Hall's appointment was in the pipeline because talks between him and Trinity Mirror have been going on for months"I'm hugely looking forward to going back into newspapers. I love it," Hall told Press Gazette. "I have found it hard sometimes because I read every newspaper every day, and find myself thinking 'What should we be doing with this, this or this?' And when you see something like Piers Morgan's front page last week on oil [the Daily Mirror's take on oil being at the basis of the US's potential war with Iraq], you just think: 'That's so fantastic. He is a newspaper genius'."
When Morgan was editor of the News of the World, Hall was his deputy.
Hall said his new editorial development role "could mean virtually anything; helping Piers, Tina [Weaver], Neil [Wallis], Peter [Cox] and Alan [Rennie] with any new initiatives that they want to get involved in, from the smallest tasks to the biggest tasks, and we have quite a few in mind. It can mean anything from recruitment to bringing new products or revenue streams on board."
There will be a definite commercial aspect to the job. At PA, Hall has been increasingly involved in the commercial side of contracts.
"There are lots of ways newspapers can make money apart from the traditional ones," he said. "Newspapers have been making money through telephones lines for many years, but there are thousands of other ways of levering the brand to make good revenue for the company. It's a very open brief to augment the titles wherever I can.
"But the proof will be in the pudding. I have got to do something to make an impact. With a new chief executive, you have to make a difference very quickly and that's what I intend to do."
Hall was approached by Trinity Mirror's managing director for national newspapers, Mark Haysom, to join the company.
Haysom said: "Phil is a highly skilled operator whose credentials are second to none. His experience will be invaluable in developing new initiatives to improve even further the quality and effectiveness of our award-winning
In his six months at PA, Hall garnered contracts to produce five magazines and said that figure would be doubled in the next six months.
He moved from London to Yorkshire to be near PA's northern base at Howden and intends to keep his house and family there.
He said PA chief executive Paul Potts had been "brilliant" about his leaving and had offered him an office within the Howden building when he was in the area. Hall will remain a consultant to the agency.
He left the NoW in 2000 to be replaced by Rebekah Wade, and later joined Hello!.