A long-serving regional daily editor has been appointed as the interim head of the Society of Editors.
Ian Murray, who was editor-in-chief of the Southern Daily Echo for 19 years, will run the society while executive director Bob Satchwell recovers from an illness.
Murray has been a journalist for almost 40 years and is a past president of the society. He stepped down as Echo editor in March, having first taken on the role in 1998.
Murray told Press Gazette: “I had been at the helm for almost two decades and felt that the time had come to move on to do other things in my career before it was too late to do other things.
“It was very much my decision to move on. I decided at the beginning of the year that the time was right to move on and so I did.”
Despite Echo publishers Newsquest having carried out a number of job cuts to reduce costs, Murray said this was not behind his decision to leave the company.
“Newspaper companies are always making efficiencies but that wasn’t the case with regards to my decision to move on,” he said.
Murray joined the Society of Editors at its founding in 1999 and has been a member of its board since 2010. He also sits on the Editors’ Code Committee which oversees the industry’s Code of Practice.
On his new executive role, Murray said he was “deeply honoured” to be taking it on “although it is under sad circumstances”.
He added: “I’m very proud to be doing this but I’m very much disappointed to be doing it in unfortunate circumstances with regards to Bob. He has been such a driving force with the society that during this period while he is recovering it is vital we continue his really good work.”
Murray said of the British media that it was a “diamond in the rough and no matter how much you polish it you will be able to see its flaws – but boy does it sparkle on the world stage.”
The society represents 400 members from across national and regional newspapers, magazines, broadcast and digital media.
It will host the Regional Press Awards in May.
Picture: Society of Editors