‘Witness’ editor to step down next year

2009-11-24 00:00

AFTER 15 years as head of The Witness editorial department, editor John Conyngham has announced his intention to step down. Once a new editor is appointed, he will assume the role of Group Editorial Director, and take up a position on the Natal Witness board.

Speaking to editorial staff yesterday, chairman Stuart Craib expressed his gratitude to Conyngham for his total commitment to The Witness for many years, and for ensuring that the paper, in spite of the limited size of the local market, was held in high esteem throughout the country.

“After open discussion with the board, which did not want to lose John’s in-depth feel for journalism and The Witness, but understood his desire after so many years to step down from the stressful routine of editing a daily newspaper, and to have more time to write and to pursue his own interests, we believe that we have come to a win-win situation.

“John will retire from the editorship of The Witness but will continue to offer his services, on a half-day basis, as a consultant to all the newspapers in the group as the group editorial director. In particular, we believe that the new editor will be able to draw on John’s institutional memory,” said Craib.

At the same meeting, Conyng­ham said 15 years is a long tenure for an editor and that it is time for him to move on.

“Not only is it time for me to make a change, but it is also time for the newspaper to have someone new at the controls. I hope to play a positive supportive role, but not to prescribe to the various editors in the group as to how they should edit their respective titles. I also hope, with a shorter work day, to be able to get back to writing novels, which I was able to do before becoming editor in 1994.

“It has been a great privilege to edit a newspaper like The Witness. Its values of generosity, tolerance, freedom and the rule of law, and its opposition to authoritarianism of any sort, are as relevant today as they have ever been, and I hope to continue to play a part in keeping these values alive.”

The position of editor will be advertised, and Conyngham will continue as editor until a new editor is appointed.

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