Morris, who begins her role in March, joins Newsquest from the Press Association’s RADAR (Reporters and Data and Robots) automated news service, which she joined last year, having previously been a reporter at The Northern Echo and running Newsquest’s data unit.
Holbrook said: “Since the days of the great Harold Evans, The Northern Echo has a proud tradition of investigative reporting.
“We are proud to keep this tradition alive today and I’m so excited to be able to get this new position over the line during my tenure. It’s been a long-held ambition to create a dedicated role like this and I couldn’t be happier that we are partnering with our fantastic titles in Cumbria to make it happen.
He added: “Proper investigations are the lifeblood of a quality news operation - but they are too often the first thing to go when things get tough.
“Joanna is an excellent journalist who knows how to crunch data like a scientist, and crucially, how to bring that information to life with real, human interest and a social conscience.”
Sims said: “Investigative reporting is in the DNA of our Cumbria journalists and newspapers. We are proud to be joining forces with The Northern Echo and to deliver another level of analysis on the issues that matter most to our readers.
“We are very much looking forward to welcoming Joanna to the team and developing unique and exciting content readers will be unable to put down.”
Morris said: “It’s a dream job to be taking on the role of investigations editor across such historic and well-regarded titles.
“As a reporter, I’ve always been inspired by the campaigning and investigative spirit of my old paper The Northern Echo.
“It’s an honour to be given the opportunity to build upon that history by working with excellent reporters to tell in-depth stories about the issues that matter and make a difference to communities across the North-East and Cumbria.”
Keep up-to-date with publishing news: sign up here for InPubWeekly, our free weekly e-newsletter.