The editor of the Argus in Brighton has resigned after nine years in the job for a PR role.
Michael Beard told readers in an article yesterday that he was “ready for a new challenge” as his plans to work in a communications role for Public Health England were announced.
“It has been an honour to have had the opportunity to edit the Sussex titles and when I leave later this month I will take with me memories that I am sure will stay for the rest of my life,” he said.
“I have been privileged to have worked with some extremely talented people, many of whom are still employed at The Argus today.
“Because of them I am absolutely certain that Newsquest Sussex and The Argus in particular will prosper.”
Before taking charge of the Argus, Beard was group editor of the Hastings Observer series for four years.
Previously, he was assistant editor at the Evening Herald in Plymouth and the Bristol-based Western Daily Press.
Beard said he believes the Argus is “ideally placed to take advantage” of the “incredibly digital future” of the journalism industry.
He revealed that while the paper has 39,000 readers a day (in the first half of 2014 the daily recorded an average circulation of 14,370, according to ABC), there are more than 40,000 unique visitors to the website every day. Beard also said the Argus has recently recorded a monthly online audience of 1m people.
He said: “We have achieved that through some outstanding work by all the teams who work for us. A significant contribution has also been made by the hundreds of partners we are lucky to work with.
“Editors come and go but one constant is the business they work for. The Argus survives us all. I am proud to have played a very small part in the history of that institution.”
Managing director of Newsquest Sussex Dawn Sweeney, who has begun the process of recruiting a successor, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Michael for his considerable contribution to The Argus over the last nine years and thank him for his direction and management of the editorial department. I would also like to express my personal thanks to Michael for his commitment and support over the last 15 months and wish him every success for the future.”