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Editor's departure brings dynasty to an end

Nearly a century and a half of family involvement in local newspapers has come to an end after a weekly editor was made redundant.

Martin Edmunds, left, who has been an editor since 1988, is leaving as a result of a shake-up within Johnston Press-owned parent company South Yorkshire Newspapers.

He is the great-grandson of Wilfred Edmunds, who became joint proprietor of the Derbyshire Times in 1866 and was followed into the newspaper industry by successive generations of family members.

Wilfred’s name lives on in the title of the JP division which now publishes the Times and other Derbyshire weeklies, but Martin is the last family member to leave the industry.

He is one of six journalists who accepted voluntary redundancy in a recent restructuring of the South Yorkshire division.

The others included the award-winning Doncaster Free Press reporter Deborah Wain, who won the Paul Foot Award last year for exposing corruption within an education project in the town.

Martin began his career in 1971 on the Mansfield Chad and worked on the Worksop Guardian and Rotherham Advertiser before becoming deputy editor of the Doncaster Free Press in 1987 and editor the following year.

In June 2000 he took over as editor of the Doncaster Advertiser Series. He has also served as regional president of the Society of Editors.

Wilfred Edmunds became joint proprietor of the Derbyshire Times in 1866 and sole proprietor in 1877 on the death of co-owner Edward Palmer.

His grandson John Edmunds, who was Martin’s father, was managing director at the DT until his death at the age of 56 in 1973.

Wilfred Edmunds Ltd was bought by FW Johnston Co Ltd, now Johnston Press, in 1978 in what was their first acquisition south of the border.

Martin’s brother David worked in the production department of the business in Chesterfield but left the industry some years ago.

Said Martin: “It has been an honour and a privilege to have edited and worked on so many titles – I will miss the cut and thrust – and banter – badly.

“I would like to say thank you for all the help, support and encouragement I have been shown by colleagues and readers over the years – without you many things would not have been possible.

“It is still the greatest profession – have fun and lots of it – you will never have the same day twice!

“And if you feel you have written your best story, it is time to leave.”

Danny Cammiade, chief operating officer of Johnston Press, said: “Martin was one of a number of volunteers who have accepted redundancy and leaves with our gratitude for his long years of service.

“We’re obviously aware of his family’s long association with Johnston Press given that Wilfred Edmunds was the first company that Johnston Press bought in England in 1978.”


Peter (21/01/2009 09:12:52)
Martin is a real good-hearted pro. He opened the door for many reporters (including my wife) and his eye for detail and keen interest in training and development has been the springboard for many careers. In an industry which is currently devouring its young, he was a nice man to have around.

All Subbed Out (21/01/2009 16:41:25)
Whilst I fully appreciate that Mr Edmunds’ redundancy has been taken voluntarily, it is nevertheless very sad that such experienced, dedicated, quality journalists are once again being squeezed out of the system by a shoddy, cheapskate company like Johnston Press.

Dick Shepley (30/01/2009 10:01:06)
Is there any room left in the industry for Bernstein and Woodward??????