Mercury editor leaves as Fairfax announces restructure

Illawarra Mercury editor Alistair Langford-Wilson has resigned ahead of a restructure of the publisher’s Illawarra and south coast operations announced on Thursday.

Mr Langford-Wilson is the second Fairfax editor to leave over restructuring within Fairfax Media regional mastheads, following the departure of Di Thomas from The Border Mail last month.

A Fairfax spokesman confirmed Mr Langford-Wilson’s resignation on Thursday.

Deputy editor Jen White will act in Mr Langford-Wilson’s former position while the Mercury recruits a new editor.

Employees were briefed on Thursday afternoon on the new structure, which involves the Mercury, Wollongong Advertiser, Kiama Independent, Lake Times, South Coast Register, Shoalhaven & Nowra News, Milton Ulladulla Times, Bay Post, Moruya Examiner, Narooma News, Bega District News, Merimbula News, Eden Magnet and Bombala Times.

Fairfax will seek voluntary redundancies in 47 full-time equivalent roles across the area, close to the 50 they had proposed earlier in the year. Thirty-four of those will be in editorial functions. One new administrative role at the Mercury has been added to support editorial and sales staff.

The Wollongong Advertiser is set to combine with the Lake Times and the South Coast Register will cut publication down to two days from three.

The changes had originally been flagged last month.

The Illawarra newsroom will act as a base for shared services, although reporters and sales staff would remain in the areas they serve.

Fairfax also said all newspapers in the south coast group will be redesigned, and the NewsNow digital-first newsroom model would be rolled out to each masthead.

In Albury, The Border Mail editor Di Thomas stepped down after 23 full-time staff were lost there. Former Sunday Canberra Times editor Niall Boyle was named as her replacement last week.

“We are grateful to Alistair for all he has contributed to our business, and wish him well for the future,” a Fairfax spokesman said.

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