The Age editor Alex Lavelle exits the title after 20 years

Alex Lavelle, editor of The Age, is stepping down, leaving the publication after 20 years.

Lavelle was appointed editor in 2016, but has been with the newsroom since 1999, taking on a variety of roles including news director and sports editor.

James Chessell, group executive editor of Nine’s Australian Metro Publishing division, said Lavelle had done a lot of work bringing The Age back ‘to a position of strength’.

“Over the past three-and-a-half years The Age has expanded its subscriber base, grown its audience and represented the interests of its readers without fear or favour. The Age newsroom can feel confident about its future at a time much of the media industry faces uncertainty. This is, in large part, down to Alex’s hard work,” said Chessell in an email to staff.

Michelle Griffin has been appointed acting editor while a search is conducted for a replacement for Lavelle. Both internal and external candidates will be considered in the hunt.

“I am seeking a strong leader who will fight hard for the masthead, our readers and the issues that affect all Victorians. It is imperative they maintain The Age’s independence and preserve its unparalleled track record of high-impact, public interest journalism,” said Chessell.

Lavelle said it was a privilege to have led the masthead.

“I am immensely proud of the extraordinary journalism we have produced and of the positive impact so much of our work has had. We have achieved great things together. To our passionate, talented and dedicated staff, I wish you all the best of luck and have no doubt that you will go from strength to strength. I also want to thank our growing band of readers and subscribers for their support, without which we couldn’t do what we do,” he said.

Lavelle’s departure coincides with a petition signed by close to 70 staff calling for improved racial diversity at the paper and demanding editorial choices for the paper be moved back to Melbourne, not Sydney. The petition was also sent to Chessell and chief publishing officer Chris Janz.

The trigger for the petition was a story “Activists ‘planning trouble’ at protest”, published in The Age on Friday 5 June which claimed activists had threatened police with physical abuse ahead of the match. That allegation was not backed up in the story and was later corrected and apologised for.


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