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Exodus continues as Midlands daily editor departs

Sarah-Jane Smith became the third regional daily editor to quit her job in the space of four days after it was announced she was standing down as boss of the Shropshire Star.

After 32 years with the company and ten as editor, Sarah-Jane reportedly left the newsroom in tears on Friday afternoon after announcing the news to staff.

Her departure is the latest in a growing editorial exodus which has also seen the Newcastle Evening Chronicle’s Paul Robertson and the Hull Daily Mail’s John Meehan leave their posts this week.

Sarah-Jane has been swiftly replaced by Keith Harrison, deputy editor of the Star’s sister title the Express and Star. Jon Simcock continues as deputy editor.

A statement issued by Shropshire Star publisher the Midland News Association said Sarah-Jane had decided to stand down after ten years to pursue other interests.

Said Sarah-Jane: “It has been a privilege to work for the MNA in so many roles during my 32 years with the company. I will certainly miss my team, of whom I have always been immensely proud, but I am delighted to wish the company every deserved success¬†in the future.”

Douglas Graham, chairman of the MNA’s parent compnay Claverley Group, said that during her period as editor she had overseen many changes and made a considerable contribution to the newspaper’s success, and that the company wished her well for the future.

The statement added that Keith had been appointed editor of the Shropshire Star and Shropshire Weekly Newspapers with immediate effect.

Sarah-Jane joined the MNA in 1979 as a trainee, working firstly for Shropshire Weekly Newspapers, then at the Express & Star before becoming editor of the Shropshire Star.

The MNA is currently seeking to reduce its 900-strong workforce by up to 10pc, with compulsory redundancies likely.

14 comments

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  • July 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm
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    With Keith Harrison taking over, can I ask what Orville is going to do now?!

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  • July 29, 2011 at 2:51 pm
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    The Grahams will regret that. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of their lives! As for Steve Dyson’s blog, didn’t sound like the Shropshire Star I used to work for…….

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  • July 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm
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    Sarah-Jane was a great, hard-working, demanding and yet thoughtful editor. She will be missed. Let’s hope young Keith has learned a more understanding side since he was last here…

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  • July 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm
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    This is a very sad day for Shropshire Star. Sarah-Jane was an immense inspiration to many of us and will be sadly missed. I am sure that everyone who knows her will wish her well for the future. Don’t worry, we’ll all have a party and celebrate this immense professional who, in our era, was the first woman to make it to the MNA board. As this comment comes from the “dark side”, just advertising, I apologise in advance for any grammatical errors!

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  • July 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm
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    Best wishes to Sarah-Jane, someone I liked and respected. Good luck to Keith, a former colleague from Sunday Mercury ‘young Turk’ reporting days. I’ll have to return to review again next year, once the lad has settled in!

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  • July 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm
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    No grammatical howlers, ‘Guest of MNA’! I echo your comments – SJS was great as a colleague and a boss. She will most definitely be missed. As for the future, tin hats time?

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  • July 29, 2011 at 3:42 pm
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    Sarah-Jane was a true professional and will be much missed. The Shropshire Star is falling fast and somebody has to take the blame.
    How much more MNA journalistic talent will be sacrificed before someone comes up with a proper plan to increase sales.

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  • July 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm
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    Yes, tin hats. And gloves… watch out for Em-rules!

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  • July 29, 2011 at 4:35 pm
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    WIth all these editors quitting left, right and centre at the rate they are, then by my calculations there will be no editors left come the end of August

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  • August 1, 2011 at 10:47 am
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    Keith Harrison as editor?! He was ferocious as a news editor at the E&S.

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  • August 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm
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    Do you know what – you are best out of it!!!

    Go and have a nice break , enjoy the sun and chill.

    You will be snapped up in no time – that is if you want to be.

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  • August 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm
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    @Former E&S reporter

    They were all ferocious, matey. Fifty hours’ work a week for 37.5 hours’ (below average) pay, 10 mins for lunch and serious frowning if you didn’t cough up 20 stories a day. That was life on MNA daily titles. I remember working one New Year’s Day and the editor at the time couldn’t even bring himself to say hello, let alone thank us for coming in when the rest of the world was partying. Probably the most miserable work experience of my life.

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  • August 3, 2011 at 11:42 am
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    How sad ! Sarah-Jane gave her whole working life to “the Grahams”. Rising from trainee to Editor she managed to be always professional yet remained popular,and produced a very readable newspaper in difficult times.

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