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Assistant editor quits to become driving instructor

An assistant editor is gearing up for a new life as a driving instructor, bringing to a halt a 32-year career in regional newspapers.

Robert Ridley, left, is leaving the Manchester Evening News today just hours after the title was crowned the region’s newspaper of the year in the O2 Media Awards.

Robert, 51, says he took the decision to leave in May but was asked to stay on by editor Paul Horrocks to help see the MEN through recent changes including centralised subbing for all sister weeklies in Manchester.

Paul has since announced his own forthcoming departure from the paper after 12 years in the chair.

Said Robert: “I’ve had a great life in newspapers, particularly at the MEN but have decided the time is right to leave the industry and try something completely new.

“I’m planning to become a driving instructor, but you never know how things are going to work out and I suppose there’s always the chance I may end up returning to what I know.”

Robert has spent his entire journalism career in the North West, where he started with the Stockport Advertiser as a reporter in 1977.

He was appointed deputy editor of the newly-launched Ashton Advertiser aged just 21 and three years later became launch editor of the Oldham Advertiser.

In 1985 Robert was made editor-in-chief of the Advertiser Group, which by that stage encompassed five newspapers, and two years later took on the editorial director’s role.

The Manchester Metro News then beckoned with Robert becoming editor in 1990 of what was, at the time, Britain’s biggest free newspaper, circulating to around 302,000.

During his eight-year tenure the paper won 14 awards for editorial excellence.

From there he joined the MEN where was assistant news editor, picture editor and then assistant editor from 2002.

Robert was also a founder member of the Press Complaints Commission, serving on it between 1990 and 1992.

He added: “There are probably journalists scattered all round the country who have worked for me at one time or another. I would be delighted to hear from any of them.”

  • Robert can be contacted on robert@rridley5.wanadoo.co.uk.
  • Comments

    Joe King (02/10/2009 15:22:59)
    Memo to Robert: Don’t waste your money ‘training’ with the Instructor College. They demand large sums up front, give poor quality tuition and, even if you do qualify as an instructor, you’ll be fighting for business with thousands of other hopefuls tempted by misleading adverts promising a £30k salary which, by all accounts, is virtually impossible to achieve.

    head (05/10/2009 16:54:22)
    Joe – a bit like journalism training then!