Local Ireland, the representative association for 46 weekly paid newspapers, has appointed Bob Hughes as its executive director. Mr Hughes succeeds Johnny O’Hanlon, who has retired after more than a decade in the role.
Mr Hughes began his career as a journalist in local and regional titles in England before moving to Fleet Street to become a sub-editor at the Press Association. He joined ITN where he was a producer on Channel 4 News, and later worked for Reuters and Sky. In the Irish media industry, he is best known for having been deputy director of news at TV3 from its launch in 1998 until 2014.
Mr Hughes, who said he was “delighted and honoured” to be appointed to the Local Ireland role, has also worked as a consultant for Virgin Media Television, the Thomson Foundation for Journalism, TVC Communications Nigeria and Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation, while most recently he was a special adviser to the government.
“Our local newspapers are the lifeblood of our communities and their vital role in bringing news, information, culture and sport to 1.5 million readers every week has been brought sharply into focus in the current pandemic,” he said.
“The industry has faced serious systemic challenges around revenue and circulation and those impacts have been exacerbated by the sharp decline in advertising as a result of Covid-19. Now, more than ever, it is essential that local newspapers are supported in a meaningful way by our Ministers, TDs and councillors to ensure the sustainability and survival of high quality journalism in our local communities.”