GAZETTE editor John Szymanski has been appointed chairman of a body dedicated to the freedom of the Press.
Mr Szymanski was elected by members at the annual general meeting to chair the Northern region of the Society of Editors.
Accepting the post – and a ceremonial miners' lamp – Mr Szymanski said: "I am honoured to accept this position in what is a challenging time for the media.
"A free Press is essential to any democracy and I will strive to ensure the Society does its utmost to protect the freedom of all sectors of the media to report on behalf of the public."
The branch, part of a national body, represents editors and other media professionals, from Whitby to Berwick.
The Society recognises the universal right to freedom of expression, the importance of the vitality of the news media in a democratic society, and the promotion of Press and broadcasting freedom and the public's right to know.