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Regional editors not out of touch says Dyson

Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson has hit out at claims by a national newspaper commentator that regional editors are out of touch with their local communities.

Veteran Guardian writer and historian David McKie wrote a piece last week lamenting the so-called demise of provincial papers whose editors were powerful figures in their localities.

“Today the direction of local papers is increasingly in the hands of non-local editors with little instinctive feeling for the culture and traditions of the communities where they practise,” he said.

But it brought a typically forthright report from Steve, who was born and brought up West Heath, Birmingham.

Writing in MediaGuardian, he listed half a dozen other regional pressmen who edit papers either in or near the towns and cities where they grew up.

They are:

  • Alan Edmunds, editor of the Western Mail, born and raised in Cardiff.

  • Marc Reeves, editor of the Birmingham Post, born and educated in the Handsworth Wood, Birmingham.

  • Paul Robertson, editor of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, “as true a Geordie as anyone has ever met.”

  • Paul Horrocks, editor of the Manchester Evening News, schooled in Bolton.

  • Peter Barron, once editor of the Hartlepool Mail and now The Northern Echo, born in nearby Saltburn and raised in Middlesbrough.

  • Adrian Faber, editor of the Wolverhampton Express & Star, born and bred in neighbouring Birmingham.

    Writes Steve: “I would urge McKie and other London-centric commentators to realise that regional newspapers….are still largely edited by local men (and a few women);

    “Those editors still have great pride in their towns and cities; and they are still fearless in their criticism of local and national government.

    “We all know the landscape of journalism is changing beyond recognition. There are many of us in both the regional and national media grappling with declining print circulations and working out how to commercialise online content.

    “But while we can endlessly pontificate and argue about the rights and wrongs of the multimedia profession, please do not insult those of us who happen to edit in areas north of the Watford Gap by stating that we have no local heart.”

  • Do you know of any more regional and local newspaper editors who were born and bred on their patch? Send us your examples to editor.htfp@and.co.uk