Damon Johnston promoted to Herald Sun editor

By By Alexandra Roach | 6 July 2012

News Limited has promoted Sunday Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston to the role of editor of The Herald Sun following Simon Pristel's departure, amid a mass company restructure.

Pristel resigned this week after four years in his role, during which time he launched the Herald's paywall, making it the first Australian tabloid to do so.

Johnston will work closely with recently-appointed managing director editorial for Victoria, Peter Blunden.

“Damon’s new role will see him bring his considerable journalistic strengths, experience and energy to Australia’s biggest selling daily masthead as it continues to develop and build its digital future,” News Limited chief executive Kim Williams said in a statement. “Peter and Damon have a long and close working relationship and I look forward to their editorial drive taking our publications to a new level.”

The role of editor-in-chief of The Herald Sun, Phil Gardner, has also been somewhat altered, with Williams requesting Gardner lead the newsroom's “transformation” into a multi-platform, seven-day operation.

“Additionally, Phil will concentrate on overseeing the vitally important editions of the Herald Sun on Saturday, the Sunday Herald Sun and their related digital products,” Williams said.

News Limited stated: “The changes reflect the company’s commitment to seven-day, consumer-first publishing.”

Johnston was appointed as the Sunday Herald Sun editor in 2008 after working previously as assistant editor (news) and chief of staff at the Herald Sun.

Pristel's departure this week follows that of other executives at the media company, including News Australia Sales' chief commerical officer Tony Prentice and marketing director, paid content Anthony Hearne, both revealed by AdNews.

News Limited has not yet revealed how many jobs will be lost as it restructures its 19 current divisions into only five, but some reports place numbers as high as 1,500.

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