Wade makes first raid on NoW editorial team

By Jean Morgan

Webster: reunited with Wade

Rebekah Wade has poached the first member of her old staff at the News of the World to join her at The Sun.

Geoff Webster will be the paper’s associate editor.

It will be a return to The Sun for Webster, 43, who was picture editor there before Wade persuaded him to switch papers after she became editor of the NoW in 2000. At that time, Sun journalists signed a petition to try to keep him, so it will be a happy return for Webster next week.

He is currently associate editor of the NoW.

“I can’t wait to get back,” he told Press Gazette, “to do all the things we need to do – all the things I, particularly, would be keen on seeing improved and brightened up. I think the paper has already shown that in the very short time Rebekah has been in charge.”

Webster has a 19-year track record in national newspapers. He has been picture editor of the Daily Mirror in Manchester and London, and of the Sunday People, Today and Daily Mail.

With Wade working six days a week, Sun joint associate editors Graham Dudman and Steve Wareing, leave the daily’s editing rota to resume their posts of assistant editor (news) and assistant editor (sport). They will continue on the Sunday editing rota.

Meanwhile, Wade has changed plans for The Sun’s coverage of Los Angeles after the resignation of Eva Simpson, who returns to the Daily Mirror. Wade is sending Antonella Lazzeri on a trial period to replace her and has cancelled the appointment of Clodagh Hartley, reported only last month to be returning to LA for The Sun to co-ordinate news coverage on the West Coast. Hartley has instead moved to the newsdesk.

Lazzeri has been on The Sun for nearly 11 years, as a feature writer, deputy editor and news reporter. Before that she worked twice during 10 years for the People and had a brief stint at the Daily Star.

The Star was about to send her to LA but the deal fell apart. This time, as Lazzeri waits for her visa, she is very excited but wary. “It’s one of those jobs that’s always been in the background of my career,” she said. She believes it will be a harder job than most people credit and was pleased to receive a helpful call from Simpson.

Wade is still said to covet Ally Ross, whom she also took to the NoW from The Sun, but getting him back on the daily paper will be a matter of negotiation with new NoW editor Andy Coulson, along with any swaps of staff the two might consider.

Jean Morgan

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