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North west weekly gets first female editor in 159-year history

The editor of a weekly newspaper in the north west has stepped down after 24 years, making way for the title’s first female editor.

Colin Maughan’s final edition of the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald hit newsstands on Saturday, the day before his 63rd birthday.

Maughan took over as editor in 1995 having joined the Herald as a reporter in the mid-1970s with spells as sports editor, news editor and deputy editor.

In a front page story marking the changes, Maughan said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to edit the paper and to follow in the footsteps of some illustrious predecessors.

“I have been lucky to be able to count on a dedicated team at the Herald.”

Maughan is succeeded by Herald news editor Emily Atherton, who has become its eighth and first female editor in its 159-year history.

Atherton, who was appointed news editor in 2015, said: “I feel immensely privileged to be the Herald’s first female editor.

“The paper has a long history in reflecting all aspects of life right across its patch and I intend to make sure that continues into the future.

“These are challenging times for print journalism, but I believe a local paper has a vital and irreplaceble part to play as a voice and a watchdog for the community it serves.”

During Maughan’s editorship the Herald printed its first full colour edition in 1999, welcomed the arrival of digital photography.

He said: “The appearance of the paper and the methods of production have changed greatly over the years, but one constant has been the desire to provide readers with a comprehensive and reliable source of local news…

“In view of the advance of social media, the paper’s relationship with its readers has changed, but they can be assured that the Herald will stay at the heart of the community.”

Maughan will remain connected to the paper in a part-time editorial consultancy role and as a director on the company board, which he joined in 2001.

Atherton will be replaced as news editor by reporter Emma Thompson, who has worked on the paper for 20 years.

Managing director Simon Veitch said: “Newspapers have changed considerably over the past few years and the Herald is no different from the rest of the industry.

“I am confident that our new editor, Emily, and her team are up to the challenges we face in a digital age.”

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