Blow for newspaper as senior staff quit

THE Eastern Express newspaper was dealt a blow yesterday when three senior editorial staff resigned, apparently in protest at the sacking of a colleague.

It is understood several more staff were considering leaving in protest at what they claimed was a company plan to install a Chinese editorial management team.

Last night, Timothy Jim Sui-hing, former assistant chief executive officer at ATV, was appointed special assistant to Ma Ching-kwan, chairman of the Oriental Press Group, which runs the Eastern Express.

Political editor Chip Tsao has been appointed deputy chief editor.

The group said there had been constant conflict between the management and editorial staff.

Deputy chief editor Ewen Campbell was fired yesterday, and acting chief editor Jon Marsh, news editor Mark McSherry, and Weekend magazine editor Steve Proctor resigned with immediate effect. All four declined to comment.

It was the second shake-up in a month after the departure of former chief editor Stephen Vines, business editor Ivan Tong Kam-pui, and financial editor Lulu Yu.

'We are very, very unhappy about the way they treated us,' one staff member said.

Group personnel manager, Irene Chua, said Mr Campbell's dismissal was related to his promotion from production editor to deputy chief editor by Mr Marsh without consultation with the personnel department.

'We agree that they should have editorial independence, but we should be consulted over administration matters,' Ms Chua said.

Mr Jim, 42, said he and Mr Ma 'would jointly take charge of the paper'.

He rejected claims of a plan to set up a Chinese editorial management team.

People would be appointed based on their ability, he said.