Archant Herts & Cambs has announced a new editor for its flagship Comet series and Royston Crow weekly newspapers.

John Francis (pictured), who is already a Comet reader and knows the area well having lived in North Herts for more than 30 years, will take over from long-standing editor Darren Isted from July 7.

John brings a wealth of experience in regional publishing both in print and online to the role and until recently he was the group editor for Johnson Press titles in Beds and Bucks and editor of their titles in Hemel Hempstead.

Archant Herts & Cambs publishing director, Jonathan Cropley, said: “We’re extremely pleased to have attracted someone of John’s undoubted calibre and experience to this important editor role for Archant in Hertfordshire. I’m confident he will help us to continue improving our already award-winning print and digital offerings for customers across North Hertfordshire.”

John Francis said: “I’m delighted to have been given the chance to edit my local papers and I’m looking forward to joining an award-winning team. I can’t wait to get started, and I plan to put all my experience, skills and local knowledge to work to help make a very popular and respected series even more of a ‘must read’ every week.

“My only concern is that I’ll have to smarten up a bit when I go down to the market on a Saturday morning. My wife’s a local teacher and she’s used to being greeted in the street and getting involved in lengthy chats about children or education. I look forward to her having to wait around for me for a change, as readers let me know what they think or pass on tips.”

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