The Iliffe family’s Yattendon Trust, like Northcliffe Newspapers, has recently recruited an editor from Fleet Street to edit one of its regional dailies. It has chosen Paul Hazeldine, a chief sub-editor of The Sun, to succeed Brian Vertigen as editor-in-chief at the Burton Mail.
But managing director of the Burton Daily Mail, Jim Black, told Press Gazette he was not helping develop a major trend. "The position was advertised and I was looking for ability, experience and knowledge and it was irrelevant to me where the candidate came from," he said. "I did not set out to get someone with national newspaper experience.
"In Paul Hazeldine, we believe we have found an editor with both the ability and experience to build on the current success of our titles."
Hazeldine starts on 2 October, the day after Vertigen – 16 years in the editor’s chair and 40 years with the company – retires.
Hazeldine has been a chief sub at The Sun since 1993. In that role, he recently helped launch the paper’s Saturday television magazine.
He has edited newspapers in Staffordshire before, when he was editor-in-chief of Lenden titles in the West Midlands, now part of Trinity Mirror, and he also edited the Salford Advertiser. He started his career in agencies with the Warrington Press Service and the Mercury Press Agency in Liverpool.
Hazeldine left the provinces in 1986 to join The Sun as a sub-editor. After four years, however, he went to the Daily Express for a year before working on his own projects, after which he rejoined The Sun.
Hazeldine, relishing the idea of his new role, said: "The Burton Mail is a paper for the community and I want to continue that and, at the same time, I want to pass on the experience I have gained over the years to continue its growth.
"My intention is to take stock of all the priorities and developments that will be needed to ensure that the papers continue to grow in stature."
In his editor-in-chief role, he will also be responsible for five editions of the weekly Staffordshire Newsletter as well as a county magazine.
Vertigen regards his time in the chair as a privilege and pleasure. "Although an outsider, I was soon made to feel very much at home here and have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure but, after 40 years in journalism, I think the time has come for a change. I am sure the area will continue to give Paul the support I enjoyed," he said.
Of Vertigen, Black said: "Brian has an exceptional instinct for news and all the titles under his control have developed and improved during his editorship. In recent time, against industry trends, the Burton Mail has been steadily adding sales and new readers."
By Jean Morgan