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Two new Editors appointed at Newsquest Wales titles

The new appointments were made following the decision of both Nicole Garnon, Editor of East Wales and Steve Adams, Editor of West Wales to leave the business in the coming months.

Two new Editors appointed at Newsquest Wales titles
Gavin Thompson and Fiona Phillips

Gavin Thompson — who is appointed to the role of Regional Editor for Wales — has been a journalist for more than 20 years, starting as a trainee reporter at the Somerset County Gazette in Taunton.

Following stints at Hull Daily Mail, Press & Journal, Gloucestershire Echo, Worcester News and Bristol Post he was appointed Editor of the Western Daily Press in 2016 at Reach.

Gavin left the WDP in 2019 and has spent the last 12 months as deputy editor of South West Business Insider magazine.

He said of his return to the newspaper industry: “There has, perhaps, never been a more important time for the regional press. I am both excited to be joining Newsquest to lead its editorial teams in Wales, and also acutely aware of the responsibility the position carries to serve those communities and safeguard the future of the local titles within them.

“Despite the challenges this pandemic poses for the industry, if we are producing quality journalism — whether that’s holding those in power to account, sharing our readers’ heartbreak and joys, or providing light relief — I believe local journalism has a strong future.

“It will be unusual meeting everyone who works on the Wales titles through a screen at first, but I’ve seen the good work the journalists have produced in recent times and I’m looking forward to getting to know them and the rest of the team.”

Gavin be joining the team with effect from May 25th 2020.

The newly appointed editor of Newsquest’s West Wales series of newspapers, including one of Wales’ best-selling weeklies, the Western Telegraph — will be a familiar face to many readers.

Fiona Phillips, 59, is taking over the editor’s chair for the second time in a long and varied career that began as a trainee reporter at the Western Telegraph, after completing an NCTJ pre-entry course in Cardiff.

Fiona, who was brought up in Pembrokeshire, passed her NCE — then known as the Proficiency Test — while working in the Haverfordwest newsroom and then spent two years working in the Pembroke Dock district office with legendary Welsh reporter Vernon Scott.

Following a stint working as a courts report for Caters News Agency, in Birmingham, Fiona then took up her first editor’s role at the now defunct Swansea Gazette before returning to Pembrokeshire and the Western Telegraph where she was chief sub before taking over as editor of the Western Telegraph and Milford Mercury in 2002.

After eight years in that role Fiona was appointed as editor of the Hereford Times and then moved into a group editorial management role with Newsquest, based in Newport, before moving into PR, working in communications roles with the Royal College of Nursing, Wales; Coleg Gwent and most recently Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

“I am absolutely delighted to return to my roots and to the Newsquest team working in Pembrokeshire. I have never wanted to do anything else other than be a journalist — my very first job in newspapers was as Pembroke School correspondent, when I was pupil there aged 15 — and while some things have changed massively since I first started, the role of editor of a regional weekly hasn’t altered much. It is still about providing a voice for the local community and telling the stories of its residents.

“When I began as a reporter we used big black typewriters to write our stories — now we’re as likely to use our mobile phones and Twitter or our websites to get the news out there — but the essence of what local journalists do remains the same and I can’t wait to get back to living and working in the heart of a community that has been my home for most of my life.”

Fiona “re-joined” the team on April 29th 2020.

Toby Granville, Editorial Director at Newsquest, said: “I am delighted Gavin is joining the business — and I’m very much looking forward to working with Fiona again too. Both are talented Editors who I’m sure will continue to build on the success of our titles in Wales thanks to the great work of their predecessors.

“I would also like to personally thank Nicole and Steve for their support and the huge contribution they’ve made to the business over many years with their outstanding newspapers and websites.”