Michael Gove, assistant editor and columnist at The Times, is to be promoted to Saturday editor, ahead of a September relaunch of the Saturday edition of the paper.
Editor Robert Thomson is to have a “significant” increase in market spend to put into the sixth day of the week to boost The Times’s performance against its rivals.
“To be honest, we have under-invested in Saturday and don’t get the lift our competitors do, which drags you down during the week as well,” he told Press Gazette. “The Saturday market is so competitive. Unless you keep reinvigorating what you are already doing or come up with new and clever ideas for extra content, then you are going to lose ground.”
The amount of marketing money put into Saturday papers is “truly extraordinary”, he said, adding: “The demand is such, you have to pump a lot into a high profile.”
Thomson said he was “more than itching to get at the project” and “hopefully, once we have done it, we will make our competitors itch”.
Gill Morgan, editor of The Times Magazine, is promoted to Gove’s deputy while keeping her other role.
Deputy editor Ben Preston has been keeping an eye on the Saturday paper in tandem with his other duties since Nick Wapshott, the last holder of the Saturday editor title, went to the US in 2001. A lot of Preston’s ideas have gone into improving the edition already.
But Thomson and Preston want Gove in place in time to plan secret new supplements and sections with their new heads for the relaunch.
“We want someone to ‘own’ Saturday,” said Thomson. “It will be different from Nick’s role. He set up a kind of separate news operation which we are certainly not going to replicate this time. Michael’s purlieu will include all the Saturday sections and just generally lifting the profile.”
Gove will continue to write columns but will relinquish writing leaders and other features.
By Jean Morgan