The Western Mail’s Martin Shipton will step down from his chief reporter role to take up a new position as the newspaper’s political editor-at-large.
Martin, whose career in Welsh journalism started with Wales on Sunday in 1995 and has served as the Mail’s chief reporter since 2002, will start his new position in September.
His new roving brief will see him contributing several times a week to the newspaper, and will focus particularly on political investigation and analysis, the newspaper said.
Martin Shipton, who is Father of the Media Wales NUJ Chapel (office branch chair) in Cardiff, had been a vocal critic of Reach’s Plc plans to cut the number of journalists at the company.
In July Reach, which owns the Western Mail, told more than 90 of its journalists in Wales that they were at risk of losing their jobs because of lost revenues during the lockdown.
“Throughout Reach’s current redundancy consultation exercise, which is coming to an end, I have argued strongly that the company needs to protect its newspapers,” Martin Shipton said.
“I am extremely grateful to Paul Rowland, who heads Media Wales, and to Catrin Pascoe, the editor of the Western Mail, for offering me the opportunity to contribute to the Western Mail in a new way.
“Although I shall be leaving the staff of Media Wales, I look forward with enthusiasm to undertaking my new role as Political Editor at Large at an extremely interesting time for Welsh politics.”
Paul Rowland, audience and content director for Media Wales, said he was “delighted” that Martin will be continuing to contribute to the Western Mail in his new role.
“His political journalism has been a cornerstone of the Welsh media for many years, and will be more valuable than ever with next year’s hugely significant Senedd elections on the horizon,” he said.
“From a personal perspective, I’m very pleased to have worked closely with Martin on these exciting new plans. We’ve enjoyed a close relationship since I sat next to him on my first day at the Western Mail 15 years ago, and I look forward to that continuing into the future.”
Reach is the largest publisher of newspapers in Wales, with titles that include the Western Mail, the Daily Post, the South Wales Echo, the South Wales Post and news websites including WalesOnline and North Wales Live.
Earlier this month Helen Mary Jones MS, Chair of the Senedd’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, wrote to Reach PLC asking the company to reconsider plans to merge Media Wales with an English division of Reach and instead create an “all Wales” division.
The National Union of Journalists had written to every Member of the Senedd and every Welsh MP asking for their support in a campaign against the redundancy proposals announced by Reach and also voiced “serious concerns” about the group’s commitment to Wales following a decision to effectively merge Media Wales – the Cardiff and Swansea operation – with a division of Reach covering the Midlands, Cheshire and Lincolnshire.
The editor of the Daily Post, Andrew Campbell, was also removed from his post at short notice and the business is being run by a Marketplace Publisher based in the north-west of England.
Reach plc has subsequently announced Dion Jones will take charge of the Daily Post and its North Wales Live sister website.
Dion Jones was promoted from his current role of executive editor for North Wales Live, and will officially hold the title of audience and content editor for both titles.
Dion, from Caernarfon, said: “I feel extremely honoured and privileged.
“I am proud to call North Wales my home and know how important our brands are to the people, culture and identity of the region.
“I look forward to leading North Wales Live and North Wales Daily Post into the next stage and tackling the issues that are most important to the people of the area. Being from the heart of this community I aim to ensure North Wales and the North Wales Daily Post remains there.”
Dion, a Welsh speaker, studied History and Journalism at Bangor University before starting his career with the Cambrian News in 2008.