The British are coming

By Dominic Ponsford and Jeffrey Blyth

Around 22 British journalists are crossing the Atlantic to relaunch US weekly supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer .

Former associate editor (news) of The Sun Paul Field has been
announced as editor of the title which moves from Florida to New York
ahead of a full re-launch on 7 April.

Field left The Sun last
September and since then has been on a head-hunting spree in London
with few journalists approached apparently able to resist the terms
being offered by American Media.

As part of his severance deal from The Sun he was not allowed to poach any former colleagues.

But just about every other tabloid has lost staff to the new venture.

The new-look Enquirer has the slogan “bigger, bolder, better” and Field’s brief is to bring in big stories.

He
said: “I’m thrilled to have the chance of taking over such a great and
iconic American publication. We have a tremendous team in place and I’m
looking forward to the great challenges ahead.”

Former Mail on
Sunday investigations editor Paul Henderson will oversee news and
investigations and ex- Daily Mirror US editor Tanith Carey is in charge
of features. Senior Daily Mirror feature writer Jane Ridley is also on
the team as is award-winning Mirror writer Steve Dennis who will be a
contributing editor based in Los Angeles.

The art director Jo
Curran from the Mail on Sunday ‘s review section is assisted by
designer Ben Story from the Evening Standard .

Former chief
executive of the agency Big Pictures Joe Sene is to be picture editor,
assistant chief sub on the Mail on Sunday Mike O’Brien is production
editor and former features editor of chat magazine Anna Kingsley is to
be features editor.

Reporters include Nyra Mahmood, formerly with
the News of theWorld and Sunday Mirror ; Evening Standard crime
reporter Rebecca Mowling; former Sunday People chief reporter Alex
Hitchen; and Lee Hannon from the News of the World.

Claire Newbon
from Closer magazine is to cover the showbiz patch and it understood
that LA correspondent for the Daily Mail, David Gardner, will also have
a senior role.

The latest tactics from American Media follow a
similar brain-drain which took place in the 1970s when former Daily
Record and Sunday Mail journalist Ian Calder became Enquirer editor. In
its heyday, following Calder’s appointment, the Enquirer peaked at
around six million copies, its current sale is around 1.4 million with
100,000 in the UK.

Big Enquirer scoops in the past have included
news of an affair which scuppered former presidential candidate Gary
Hart’s chances, and the revelation that Jesse Jackson had had a love
child.

It’s expected at least 50 of the Enquirer ‘s present
staff, many of whom are expat Britons, will elect to stay in Florida.
Payoffs and relocation are expected to cost at least $3 million,
according to the New York Post.

The move to New York is expected
also to mean a change in the Enquirer ‘s style with an emphasis on more
investigative and celebrity stories.

But publisher David Pecker has said there will no return to the days when the paper was notorious for lurid crime stories.

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