Andrew Trench, editor in chief of News24, is leaving Media24 for Times Media Group. He has been appointed digital editor of TMG. This move follows the exit of Lisa MacLeod late last year, who was headhunted from Media24 where she was general manager of digital.
“Andrew is an editor we have had our eye on for some time and is the most respected digital content leader in the country. We are thrilled that he has decided to join our team, which is highly focused on a digital future for all our top brands,” said TMG CEO, Andrew Bonamour, in a statement.
Trench, who started his career at the Sunday Times in 1995, will be responsible for the digital content strategy across the Group’s titles such as TimesLive, SowetanLive and BDLive, among others. He was the Sunday Times’ London bureau chief before taking over as editor of the Eastern Cape title, Daily Dispatch, as well as DispatchOnline prior to joining Media24 in 2010.
In as statement from 24.com, Trench said his departure “wasn’t planned and it wasn’t solicited and my leaving is no reflection of my feelings about the 24-family. It’s been an amazing and exhilarating year with exciting plans unfolding for the year ahead”.
Andreij Horn, acting head at 24.com, thanked Trench for his contribution over the past year and wished him well. He said while 24.com would certainly ensure that a strong channel editor for News24 was appointed soon, the editor in chief position would not necessarily be filled again.
“I believe the concept of an editor in chief is by its nature a print legacy construct that originated in an environment of limited editorial space that necessitated curation and selection on behalf of readers. This can very easily lead to a ‘push’ model, much like broadcast TV, where the viewer – and in the publishing arena, the reader – has only one of two choices – consume what is offered at the time of it being available, or tune out.
“We now live in a world where users expect infinite choice and media companies to be intelligent enough to treat them like the individuals they are. This demands a different philosophy in newsrooms and Andrew’s departure, while unexpected, creates the opportunity for us to make these changes now,” he said.
Trench follows a number of high profile digital appointments at Times Media which include MacLeod as head of digital, Riaan Wolmarans as head of audience Development, Percy Goetsch as head of product, and Dan Calderwood as head of multimedia. Calderwood was recently included in the #Kellman20 list of 20 Influential Millennials to Watch.
Trench has won or led teams who have won the Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism, the Mondi Shanduka Award for Investigative Reporting, as well as numerous others. In 2009 Trench received the Vodacom Online Journalism Award while at the Daily Dispatch.
“We are very excited about the growing popularity of all our online platforms, and believe that Andrew [Trench] will boost the momentum of our success,” said MacLeod.
Times Media said the appointments, along with a number of new editors announced this week, “mark the start of an exciting year for Times Media which is in the process of reinvigorating all of its products to ensure that they are positioned for both a contemporary print and increasingly digital future”.
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