News Corp’s longest serving editor Col Allan will retire at the end of April, stepping down after 15 years as editor-in-chief of the New York Post and 42 years with News.
Mr Allan previously served at The Daily Telegraph and was editor-in-chief of The Daily and Sunday Telegraph when he was appointed to the Post, prior to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001.
Under Mr Allan’s editorship, The Post expanded its digital audience more than tenfold to 31.5 million unique users in March, and expanded its national reach in the US.
Born in Dubbo, in central NSW, Mr Allan joined the News Limited-owned The Daily Mirror as a general reporter during the afternoon newspaper war in Sydney with Fairfax media tabloid The Sun.
He went on to become a New York correspondent for News and returned to Sydney to take up a position as an assistant editor on The Australian before being appointed deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph.
As editor, Mr Allan created attention-grabbing front pages, such as “A Nation of Bastards” after the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed a large increase in the number of illegitimate births in Australia.
Significantly, he brought about change to the NSW education system after the Telegraph published a photo of a Year 12 class at Mt Druitt High School under the head “A class we failed”.
The students sued successfully for defamation but the system was changed to provide greater opportunity across the state education system.
In New York, Mr Allan turned the Post into a bulletin board for people seeking lost relatives and friends in the wake of the September 11 attacks, pushing the paper’s circulation to new heights.
“Col Allan is one of the most outstanding editors of his generation” – Rupert Murdoch
News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch described Mr Allan as “one of the most outstanding editors of his generation”.
“Col’s intelligence, insight, humor and unrelenting energy has created the New York Post that today stands as a newspaper of great influence, in print and online,” Mr Murdoch said.
“He has been a great friend and colleague since he joined in 1974 and I want to thank him on behalf of my family and the company for his service.
“As editor of the Post, he has driven a news agenda that has been essential reading for New York’s leadership, as well as serving all who live in this great city. Col has sought, without ego or envy, to hold the powerful accountable, to assail corruption and to have a positive impact in New York and beyond.”
Mr Allan said it has been an enormous privilege to edit the New York Post.
“Journalism and journalists have a crucial role, particularly in this digital age, and I want to express my deep gratitude to Rupert and the Murdoch family for all they have done to further the cause of journalism around the world,” he said.
“Of course, I am also personally grateful for the extraordinary opportunities they have generously given me over the past four decades.”
Mr Allan will be replaced by Stephen Lynch who joined the New York Post in 2003 and is currently the paper’s Sunday editor. Mr Lynch will report to Jesse Angelo, publisher and chief executive of the Post.
Mr Lynch said Mr Allan was an incredible mentor and said the “once-in-a-lifetime colleague” will be dearly missed by staff.
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