25 January 2015

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Two more editors depart in North-West shake-up

Two more weekly editors have left their jobs as Johnston Press completes its shake-up of senior editorial staff in the North-West.

A restructuring plan announced by the regional publisher last month involved reducing eight daily and weekly editor roles to four.

Last week we reported the departures of Steve Brauner, the former North West Evening Mail editor who joined JP in 2010 as editor of the Lancaster Guardian, and Richard Machin, who left the Garstang Courier to news edit the Evening Mail.

Now two more editors, Steve Singleton of the Lytham St Annes Express and Fleetwood Weekly News and Roy Prenton of the Nelson Leader and Clitheroe Advertiser, have also left the business.

It means JP’s new-look senior team in the region is now in place, with Nicola Adam moving to the combined role of editor of the Lancaster Guardian and Garstang Courier, and Burnley Express editor Chris Daggett adding Nelson and Clitheroe to his responsibilities.

Nicola’s old paper, the Chorley Guardian, now comes under Lancashire Evening Post editor Gillian Gray, while new Blackpool Gazette editor Jon Rhodes will take responsibility for the Lytham St Annes and Fleetwood titles.

Steve, pictured above, began his 37-year career at the Lytham St Annes Express as an 18-year-old junior reporter having been born, bred and educated on the Fylde coast.

He then transferred to the Blackpool Gazette as assistant news editor before becoming news editor and then supplements editor.

He retained this role but took on additional responsibility for the two weekly titles in 2009 following an earlier JP editorial cull which saw Express and Weekly News editor Garry Miller leave the company.

In the past three years Steve has taken the Weekly News from being a 36-page mono and colour publication to a 48-page full colour while launching Express campaigns to Save Lytham Hall and rebuild an arson-hit scout HQ.


  1. John Lynott, West Yorkshire

    I wish Steve well for the future. He was news editor when I started my career with the West Lancashire Evening Gazette/Lytham St Annes Express in 1980.
    Along with my first editor, the late Barry Stocks, he guided me through my trainee days, checking my copy thoroughly to ensure that the story – however big or small – had the who, what, why, where, when and how and hit the deadline. He prodded me, prompted me to do better, be sharper, know what was going on. And we had the staff in numbers for seniors to provide this vital role.
    Barry always said a good journalist could write the story of the Bible in 14 pars and that a journalist who couldn’t sub was like a fish without fins. For his part Steve ensured that all his reporters covered everything that moved, from the council committee running Fylde’s “loss-making/money-making” blue buses to the donkeys on the beach.
    Solid gold local newsmen like Steve are what we should treasure.
    At least the donkeys are still around, it’s just that they don’t all work on the beach these days.

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  2. View from Stonebridge

    Any news on what’s happening to the Longridge News? Is it to be edited from 30 miles away now? Or is it just another title destined for the dumper?

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  3. Stuart Laundy, Galashiels

    Steve was on the Gazette news desk when I was a trainee based at Lytham St Annes in the late 80s – with the late Barry Stocks as editor of the Express. The pair of them knocked me into shape and I couldn’t have wished for a better pair of mentors.
    Sadly, Barry is no longer with us and I wish Steve all the best for whatever the future brings.

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  4. redundant hack, lancashire

    Ahh….Barry Stocks. What a legend. The Fylde coast employed and produced some great journalists – many of whom have gone on to top jobs. Good memories. Good luck Steve.

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  5. David Birtill, Withnell Fold

    How many more “proper journalists” such as Steve Singleton can this declining industry afford to lose? Our weekly newspapers are supposed to represent the community but the deplorable number of inaccuracies, sub-standard writing and sloppy editing has turned some of them into Comic Cuts. Where will it all end? Sadly, the waste bin.

    David Birtill
    54 years in the profession and still going strong

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  6. Justin Allitt, Lytham St.Annes

    Interview with Ashley Highfield, November 2011 “The trick is to help move those brands (local newspapers) into the digital age and get the right balance between print and digital.”
    Ashley, it isn’t a trick, you need great Editors like Steve Singleton for success.
    Cost cutting and short term gains may help your career, but won’t help local communities.
    Opinion from a local estate agent who has advertised with Johnstone Press for 22 years.

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  7. Glen Cooper

    “It means JP’s new-look senior team in the region is now in place, with Nicola Adam moving to the combined role of editor of the Lancaster Guardian and Garstang Courier”

    I’m hoping the omission of The Visitor, Morecambe, is an oversight on your part…. or do you know something we don’t??

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  8. Jon Brown

    I’m another one who worked with Steve as a nipper. 15 years later, as deputy editor on the liverpool echo, I’d find myself repeating advice, verbatim, which Steve & then news editor Chas Stewart had given me. The industry diminishes this rich repository of expertise at its peril. Good luck Steve.

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