Hiring Richardson as editor was an “easy choice” according to Postmedia senior VP Gerry Nott.

By H.G. Watson, Associate Editor

Michelle Richardson is the new editor of the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun.

Currently the managing editor at the Montreal Gazette, Richardson will take over the editor post on Mar. 28.

“I really like Ottawa,” said Richardson. “I think it’s really vibrant, engaging—not just a city, but a community.”

Richardson succeeds Andrew Potter, who announced on Jan. 12 he was leaving the Citizen to become director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada in Montreal.

Gerry Nott, senior vice-president of content at Postmedia, told J-Source the promotion was a “easy choice.” “She’s one of the brightest up-and-coming editorial leaders in the Postmedia group.”

Richardson joined the Gazette in 2004 as an intern, going on to take a number of positions during in 12-year stint at the paper. She has been the managing editor for 18 months, after being the city editor for five years. As managing editor she, with editor-in-chief Lucinda Chodan, oversaw the Gazette’s redesign in 2014.

Richardson will take the helm of a newly merged Citizen and Sun newsroom, less a number staff, 12 of whom were confirmed to have taken buyouts in February. Before she officially becomes editor at the end of March, she’ll visit the newsroom to get up to speed with all of the details.

“First thing she has got to do is just sort of stabilize it,” said Nott. “And continue the great work that Andrew did and add some more digital chops to it, because that’s where her strengths are.” Nott said he anticipated there could be some restaffing at the Ottawa newsroom after Richardson makes her assessment of what the needs are there.

“There’s been a huge amount of change in that newsroom and in the industry,” Richardson said. “I think it’s a really big opportunity to rebuild in the newsroom.

“I don't think any changes would alter the fundamental commitment to civic-minded journalism and those connections to the community; the kind of journalism that serves the community of both publications.”

For now, Richardson is preparing herself to make a big move. “It’s a very strong newsroom,” she said. “I’m sad to be leaving my colleagues in Montreal but I’m really excited about the chance to work with that really great team in Ottawa.”

H.G. Watson can be reached at hgwatson@j-source.ca or on Twitter.

H.G. Watson was J-Source's managing editor from 2015 to 2018. She is a journalist based in Toronto. You can learn more about her at hgwatson.com.