Leading media group Johnston Press plc, owner of the Morpeth Herald, has appointed Jeff Moriarty as chief digital and product officer.
Jeff is currently vice-president of Digital Products for The Boston Globe and general manager for Boston.com in the United States and has been instrumental in driving significant success across the portfolio.
He will join Johnston Press in April with responsibility for the vision and development of the company’s digital strategy while building on recent successes, which have seen JP’s digital audiences grow by 45 per cent year on year and reach 13.7million unique users last month.
Jeff, whose appointment follows a global search, has spent much of his career at The New York Times Company and has held a number of vice-president and general manager roles in classified products, product and technology, new media and product management.
He designed and developed what is considered to be among the most successful regional subscription-based sites in the US – the award-winning BostonGlobe.com, known for its pioneering use of Responsive Web Design to embrace the shift to mobile devices.
Chief Executive Officer Ashley Highfield said: “Jeff is an outstanding candidate and the knowledge, experience, insight and innovation that he will bring to Johnston Press will help us forge ahead with our ambitious growth plans.
“Our digital revenues have grown by 60 per cent and in many parts of the UK they now account for 20 per cent of our overall advertising revenues (as recently as 2010 they made up only 5 per cent). Jeff’s exceptional track record will ensure our growth continues and I very much look forward to welcoming him aboard.”
Jeff’s innovative product development is underpinned by a journalistic background. He has had a broad career across regional newspapers and digital media. Beginning as a founding editor of a weekly newspaper and later a metro news editor, he launched the earliest regional websites in the Times, later building niche products Winetoday.com on California wines and later Golfdigest.com, for the sport’s top magazine.
At The New York Times, he built an industry-leading Manhattan real estate site and verticals in autos and jobs. Returning to the Times’ regional group, he helped grow the digital businesses across 14 newspaper markets across the US. In 2009 he joined About.com and brought that site new mobile, video and advertising offerings before joining The Boston Globe in 2010.
Jeff replaces former Johnston Press digital and business development director Henry Faure Walker, who has been appointed Newsquest’s Chief Executive Officer.