News Letter editor to retire after decades in journalism

News Letter editor Rankin Armstrong
News Letter editor Rankin Armstrong

News Letter editor Rankin Armstrong is to take early retirement.

He has headed the editorial team for almost four years, and will step down in the autumn after 44 years in the industry.

He said: “I’ve enjoyed my time editing the News Letter but I feel it is the right time to move on to a new chapter in my life.

“I am leaving a paper that’s in good health, with a loyal print readership and a growing digital presence.

“These are exciting times for the business and there is a bright future ahead in the capable hands of a highly dedicated and skilled team of journalists.

“I am proud to have been editor of such a distinguished title with a rich and enduring history and I wish all my colleagues every success in the future.”

Rankin started out as a reporter with the Armagh Guardian in 1971.

His career included a year at the Portadown News/Craigavon Times, 17 years with the Belfast Telegraph and three years as chief sub-editor with the Irish News.

He also taught newspaper practice to students at the University of Ulster in 1997-1998.

He was appointed assistant editor of the News Letter in January 1999, deputy editor in March 2007, acting editor in November 2011, then editor in September 2012.

Warren Butcher, managing director of Johnston Press, NI, said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank Rankin for his service and commitment to the News Letter and to acknowledge and give praise for the tremendous contribution that he has given to journalism in Northern Ireland over the last 40-plus years.

“Rankin is a highly regarded and respected editor and has steered the newspaper through some turbulent political times which is testament to his skill and understanding of the issues.

“He has certainly earned the opportunity to spend more time with his family and he will be missed by all of his colleagues. On behalf of everyone at the News Letter and across JP NI, I wish him a long and happy retirement.”

A recruitment process is currently under way to appoint a successor.