Mort Zuckerman changes editors, again: Kevin Convey is out, former Murdoch guy Colin Myler is in

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Colin Myler testifying before a British parliamentary commission this summer. ()
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In the Daily News newsroom this afternoon, a memo announcing that editor-in-chief Kevin Convey was being replaced was met with "shock" and "amazement," according to newsroom sources.

His replacement, Colin Myler, is a tabloid veteran who most recently worked for Rupert Murdoch, which is interesting in light of News owner Mort Zuckerman's tabloid battle against Murdoch's local paper, the New York Post, helmed by the editorially bellicose Col Allan. 

Myler might be a great general in that battle though, as he was the editor of The News of the World before Murdoch shut it down in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that rocked Britain and Murdoch's News Corp. last year.

("Prediction: Colin Myler will soon be back at NYPost as No. 2 to Col Allen and Rebekah Brooks will take role at corporate in NY soon," tweeted Peter Lauria, a former media reporter for Murdoch's New York Post when the paper was shut down back in July and Myler was out of a job.)

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Myler has, since his exit, not always played ball with the Murdochs in testimony before Parliament that sought to locate the source of responsibility for illegal practices in the News of the World newsroom. And now he's playing against his old boss.

Anyway he'd only been at News of the World since 2007, after a stint as managing editor and executive editor of ... The New York Post. He went there from another Murdoch competitor, England's Daily Mirror, a Labor-left "red-top" newspaper, after a dust-up with a judge, in 2001.

The Mirror conducted an interview with the father of a man who, police charged, had been beaten by two Leeds United footballers, and the interview caused a mistrial of the athletes. Myler resigned, and came to New York to work for Murdoch at the Post. (We wrote much more about Myler here.)

At least one former editor of the New York Post thinks Myler will make Murdoch a formidable opponent: Ken Chandler, who was editor of the Post from 1993 through 2001.

"I think its a great choice," Chandler told Capital, "and a great way for Mort Zuckerman to stick it to Rupert Murdoch. He's got an editor there who will give the New York Post a run for its money."

Convey's time at the News has been marked by significant shifts in management organization, with a recent shakeup putting more digitally-minded managing editors beneath Convey rather than the traditional lineup of section editors and the like. And then there were layoffs. (And in fact, in conversations with newsroom staffers, we've confirmed that there were three layoffs yesterday; we'll get to the details later.)

Staff contacted by Capital say Convey was never quite at home at the News.

"People felt he was definitely not ready for New York City" after editing the relatively small Boston Herald, one newsroom source said.

Said another newsroom source: "People could never really get over that this guy had never worked in New York, and he looked lost from the start; he even had to be led to the subway.

"He made a few rah-rah speeches about pushing the News' digital agenda and did a bunch of online reader chats," the source added, "but Convey wasn't much of a presence at the News. Plus, he dressed funny. What type of editor-in-chief wears Chuck Taylor All-Stars to work?"

And another source with knowledge of the company's management told Capital that Convey's contract with the paper was not set to expire until the summer, which makes today's announcement a little early.

Still, one person close to Convey told Capital, "I don't think this came as any big surprise" to the outgoing editor.

But Zuckerman's choice of an outsider, a choice he's made before, might have surprised some who saw this new crop of second-tier editors installed under Convey as horse-race contestants for the job.

Reached for comment, a Daily News spokeswoman said she had nothing to add to the internal memo below:

Colin Myler has been appointed editor-in-chief of The New York Daily News and NYDailyNews.com. The Daily News is New York’s largest-circulation daily newspaper and NYDailyNews.com is the 12th largest news site in the U.S. according to Comscore. It serves 2 million unique monthly visitors in the New York metropolitan region and 10 million nationally.

Myler’s appointment as top editor is effective January 10. "I am immensely proud and honored to be leading one of America's great newspapers into a new era," said Myler.

Over a 40-year career in journalism, Myler, 59, has held senior executive positions at leading British and American media companies, most recently as editor of the News of the World. He spent five years from December 2001 until January 2007 as managing editor and executive editor of the New York Post.

"Colin Myler will lead our print and digital platforms into the next generation of newspaper publishing," said Bill Holiber, President and CEO of the Daily News.

Said Daily News chairman and publisher Mort Zuckerman, "The New York Daily News is a great institution of American journalism which will only get better under the leadership of Colin."

Zuckerman also praised outgoing Daily News editor-in-chief Kevin Convey. "Along with everyone else at the Daily News, I want to thank Kevin for his editorial input over the past year-and-a-half."

Myler has edited four national newspapers in the UK. He returned to London from New York in 2007 after the hacking scandal resulted in the jailing of a News of the World Royal reporter and private investigator for accessing private voicemails.