SMH editor Lisa Davies steps down after 5 years, reveals temporary replacement

Lisa Davies the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald is stepping down after almost five years in the role, with the deputy editor and former The Sun Herald editor, Cosima Marriner, filling the role effective immediately until a replacement is found.

Lisa Davies the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, (pictured) steps down after almost five years in the role

Davies wrote to SMH staff: “After almost five years in the best job in journalism, I have decided it’s time to move on. It has been an immense privilege to lead this newsroom, which is full of talented and passionate individuals wholly committed to delivering news our readers can trust – day in, day out. The last two years in particular have tested us all in ways we couldn’t have imagined so as things return to a more even keel, the time feels right for me to look towards what’s next. I’m going spend the next month finishing up a few projects.”

SMH’s executive editor, Tory Maguire thanked Davies in a response: “Over her five years as editor she led her team through the major disruption of the restructure, held the newsroom together during the biggest challenges of the pandemic, and was a crucial part of the huge team effort to ensure the long term success of The Sydney Morning Herald.  I’m sure whatever Lisa does next will see her continue to make a big contribution to the fabric of Sydney life. The plan is to conduct a recruitment process for a new editor that includes internal and external candidates.”

Davies has led The Sydney Morning Herald since 2017, helping the masthead grow its audience to more than eight million readers.

Earlier in the year, Davies spoke with Mumbrella for the Mumbrellacast, and admitted that the future of print for the Herald, and in Australia more widely, was up in the air a few years ago, but insisted that print is, and will remain, one of the Herald’s greatest strengths.

“Five years ago there were conversations about whether the print products would still be around in five years. They are, and they are still huge revenue drivers. I think it’s a really encouraging sign,” she said.

“I can’t see a time when there won’t be a print product.

“The weekend papers are still incredibly well-value and well-read – and we just keep churning our great journalism. However people consume it, there’ll still be a love for a printed product for many years to come.”

In July Nine’s chief digital and publishing officer Chris Janz stepped down after four years at the helm of the metro publishing business, initially part of Fairfax.

In his place, Nine CEO Mike Sneesby has announced that James Chessell will be promoted to the role of managing director – publishing, while Alex Parsons will take on the role of a chief digital officer.

Chessell, who was the executive editor for the SMH and The Age, assumed management responsibility for all mastheads including the AFR.


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