25 January 2015

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Regional daily editor in shock departure

The editor of Sheffield daily The Star has resigned after just seven months in the role.

John Furbisher, left, took the helm of the paper in June last year when Alan Powell announced he was stepping down seven months after suffering a heart attack.

The former Sunday Times journalist had been the acting editor of The Star since November 2009 and was previously editor of the Halifax Courier for six years.

But he has now decided to leave the role to look for a new challenge after 25 years working for Johnston Press titles.

The surprise move was announced to journalists in an internal memo from John Bills, managing director of Sheffield Newspapers Ltd.

It said: “It is with regret that I have to tell you after 25 successful years with Johnston Press titles John Furbisher has decided that the time is right for him to look for fresh and different challenges.

“In his time with the company he has edited both the Halifax Evening Courier and of course most recently the Sheffield Star where he has led committed and professional teams of journalists who I am sure will be sorry to learn of John’s decision.

“I’m sure you will join me in wishing John every success with whatever he chooses to do next.”

Before becoming editor of the Courier, John had been deputy editor of the Yorkshire Post under Tony Watson and also spent several years as the northern correspondent of the Sunday Times.

He began his career in journalism with the Wakefield Express in 1980.

John’s departure comes less than six weeks after that of Mark Rodgers, who until mid-December was managing director of Sheffield Newspapers.

He was replaced by Mr Bills in a management shake-up that saw Sheffield Newspapers, South Yorkshire Newspapers, North Notts Newspapers and Derbyshire-based Wilfred Edmunds combined into a single business unit.

Earlier this month, journalists at the centralised subbing unit in Sheffield were told about plans by Johnston Press to cut jobs there, leading to the NUJ balloting members over industrial action – although the company insisted there would be no reduction in headcount.


  1. Quality controller

    What an absolute tragedy. John is definitely one of the good guys and this is an enormous loss for The Star. These are big shoes to fill. John is a top class editor – probably the best JP has – and a pleasure to work with. JP has messed up big time. I wish him all the very best for the future, and worry even more for the people in Sheffield. If ever there was a call to arms for the union – now is the time. He would have walked for a very good reason.

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  2. Donny Boy

    Totally unconnected with any disagreement over the current sub hub shambles then?

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  3. Old hack

    An absolute professional. I had the pleasure of working with him on the YP. A great loss to the industry.

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  4. dave malone

    He must have got fed up of having to turn down freelance submissions on the “no budget” soundbite, eventually it gets to you having to do with out essential freelance content that would make your paper in to a quality local instead of a PA cut and paste rag.

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  5. byter

    Talent and energy of all ages and in all departments is bleeding away from JP even though other jobs are hard to find. What a waste of “human resources”.

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  6. Subb Yer Own Wrk Frm Now Oon

    Can I recommend one of the jumped-up little ad reps-turned-managing-directors for the post. The long hours, and working during the Christmas and Easter holiday periods, may come as a shock but I’m sure their excellent knowledge of all things journalism would be fantastic for the editor’s post.

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  7. Martin Edmunds

    A brave decision by a dedicated and much respected man. As another former JP editor, I can assure him that there IS life outside the company and it IS possible to smile again. The very best of luck for the future.

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  8. Scoop

    That would be one of the jumped up ad reps trying to sell ads to keep you in a job then – wonderful stuff team spirit. I expect you think people fall over themselves to read what you write. Well they dont any more.

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  9. Subb Yer Own Wrk Frm Now Oon

    Scoop – I was referring to the knowledgable managing directors making these fantastic decisions and not the hard working ad reps trying their best in testing times. Remind me, please, how many people with journalism (not sales) experience are involved in the decision-making process?

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  10. rt

    I may be wrong but isn’t the divisional managing director in Scotland a journalist? I think he worked for a number of newspaper companies as well as radio and network television before he joined JP.

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