The Cambridge Evening News editor who left the paper abruptly last Friday has said he exited because the job no longer presented a challenge for him.
Murray Morse told Press Gazette that the decision to leave after three and a half years was mutual between him and Evening News owner Iliffe News and Media, but would not be drawn on staff fears that an editorial executive was to be brought in above him.
‘I just felt I had done everything I could at the paper. I won lots of awards and I felt the challenge of the paper had gone out of it. I wanted to move on,’Morse said.
‘They are a very good team – one of the best I’ve ever worked with – and I did have a very good working rapport with them. It was a bit of a bombshell for everybody that I was going, but things move on.”
He said the swift decision was taken ‘to have a clean break rather than drag things out”.
Around 70 Evening News staff attended a meeting on Monday to discuss the departure of the editor. They passed a vote of no confidence in the paper’s management. The motion states that staff were ‘shocked, unsettled and uncertain about the future”.
It praised Morse as ‘an excellent editor’and called on the paper’s management to make its position clear.
‘Why does the company feel it necessary to introduce a further tier of editorial management in this way?’the motion said. ‘Surely the extra cost of the additional post will put unwarranted pressure on the budget, which we are repeatedly told is already stretched?’
Morse has enjoyed a long career in the regional press and TV, having worked at the Southern Daily Echo, Daily Record and The Sun. He said he had no current career plans but hoped to return to newspapers.
He is credited with launching the Evening News’s Sunrise morning editions and winning a string of national and regional awards for the title.
The paper hasn’t had a deputy editor since James Foster left to edit the Norwich Evening News last August.
A CEN insider said: ‘It’s been left rudderless – they’re happy for it to plod along without anyone in charge.
‘If you were an editor and someone said ‘we’re going to bring someone in above you’, I don’t think anyone would be happy with that. His position was untenable.”