AFTER almost two decades as editor of the Southern Daily Echo, Ian Murray is leaving the paper.

Ian, who took over the helm of the newsroom in 1998, is one of the paper’s longest-serving editors, and in recent years has held the title of editor in chief for Newsquest’s publications in Hampshire, including the Hampshire Chronicle, Romsey Advertiser, New Forest Post, Basingstoke Gazette and Andover Advertiser.

Other titles under his remit have included the Southampton, Eastleigh and Winchester News Extra series as well as Hampshire Society magazine. Ian has also recently overseen Newsquest’s titles in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire including the Reading Chronicle and the Bucks Free Press.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am leaving what is undoubtedly one of the best regional daily newspapers in the country, but the time has come for adventures in pastures new,” commented Ian.

“During my time here I have worked with some fantastic journalists and colleagues in other departments. Together we have chronicled the changing face of Southampton and the city region and witnessed as it has grown in confidence and stature.

“The current team at the paper are wonderful to work with and I have every confidence that they, and my successor, will take the Daily Echo and its website to even greater success.

“I have had the privilege to work with some tremendous people in the region and hope to continue playing my part in helping to make the city such a vibrant place.”

During Ian’s editorship the Daily Echo has won several awards, including regional newspaper of the year, and helped to raise millions of pounds supporting local charities.

Campaigns have also led to changes in the law on social issues such as health care and drugs and the Echo’s petition in its successful campaign to save Southampton’s child cardiac unit was the largest ever raised by a newspaper in the UK.

The paper’s website – – now has over a million unique users a month with over 300,000 regular followers on social media.

A past president of the Society of Editors, Ian remains a board member of the organisation. He is a freeman of the Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, past president of the Newspaper Society’s Young Newspaper Managers’ Association and is a member of the Editors’ Code Committee to the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

Ian has campaigned on matters of editorial freedom, appearing on local and national media to defend the freedom of the press and has and continues to lobby Parliament on such issues.

In 2014 Ian was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Media Studies by Southampton Solent University.

Last year the Echo launched its ‘Classroom in the Newsroom’ initiative providing media students with first hand tutoring in a newsroom setting.

“I’m particularly proud of the way during my time the paper has worked closely with students from schools, colleges and universities, providing work placements and opportunities to enter the media workplace,” said Ian.

Ian’s successor is due to be announced in the immediate future.