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Senior Archant editor to leave publisher

A senior editor with Archant Norfolk is set to leave company.

Paul Durrant, senior content editor with the Norwich Evening News and Eastern Daily Press, is understood to be moving on as part of the publisher’s on-going editorial restructure involving merger of certain editorial functions.

Archant Norfolk publishes the two dailies, a series of weeklies including the North Norfolk Times and Lowestoft Journal, magazines and companion websites. Paul used to be assistant editor of the Eastern Daily Press.

A spokesman for Archant said the company could not comment on individual cases but any redundancy process offered people the chance to appeal.

Archant Norfolk was seeking voluntary redundancies earlier this year as part of the restructure, which included implementation of a new £2m editorial system.

Initially it was suggested that the company was seeking 54 redundancies but the number was later reduced to 34.


Scoop (04/08/2009 20:27:46)
This will seriously damage the EDP.
Paul could be a difficult boss at times, but even those who fell on the wrong side of him respect his news judgement and ability; better than the rest of the newsdesk put together.
Peter Franzen was the public face of the EDP but Paul was its brain.
No new editorial system will make up for this labotomy.

Balou (04/08/2009 23:54:36)
Paul’s departure is symptomatic of what’s happening at the EDP, and at regional papers generally; good, experienced journos are being lost and being replaced by younger, cheaper staff with barely half the talent. Paul was liked by some and disliked by others but his news judgement, legal knowledge and general newsdesk nous was second to none. This will affect the EDP and its (already declining) quality will inevitably suffer. But will anyone among the Archant heirarchy care or notice. I doubt it.

Reporter (05/08/2009 07:58:28)
Staff are shocked and angry at what has happened. There is nobody who cares more for the EDP than Paul or who knows news better than him. The company has made some bad decisions in recent months, but this is by far the worst.

Jeffers (05/08/2009 10:23:00)
It’s a sign of the times that staff read about the departure of a long-serving, well-respected colleague here long before any announcement from the company. Disgusting but hardly surprising any more.
Leaving as part of the on-going redundancy programme? I don’t think so. Paul was only appointed to the new position of senior content editor a few weeks ago. There is clearly another agenda here.
This is an appalling and very short-sighted decision. As Scoop says, for years Paul has been the brain of the EDP and much of its continued success can be directly attributed to him. Nobody cared more about the paper than he did. His judgement was razor sharp and his legal knowledge would put many barristers to shame. He loved the EDP and was extremely loyal to it.
Paul is a hugely respected figure in the industry among people who actually know and care about it and can see past the latest spurious marketing report or Powerpoint presentation.
Paul was not without his faults, some of which he would no doubt readily admit, but his sheer talent and love of journalism shone through. If there were issues they could and should have been resolved without this.
As it is Archant have now thrown away getting on for 40 years of experience, invaluable contacts and local knowledge and a whole lot more.
Staff are sad and angry about this. Paul commanded more respect than many of those above him are ever likely to.
Well done, Archant management. You have just banged another nail into the company’s coffin.

JP (05/08/2009 11:02:29)
I learned more by working with Paul for 18 months than in any other five years of my career, including in Fleet Street.
He could be difficult and perhaps a bit too fierce with reporters who continually turned in sub-standard work (particularly in the afternoons) but he accepted the odd cock-up from people who really tried better than some editors I have worked with. And, as others have said, no-one worked harder or cared more than he did.
Is this another sign that the EDP is going the way of the rest of the regional press – where journalism and writing is a “cost” to be ruthlessly squeezed out of the system?
What is the future of an industry that accepts losing – or actually wants to lose – its best people once they are qualified so it can replace them with cheap trainees who don’t know the job but work for peanuts?

Nigel Jarrett (05/08/2009 11:29:28)
Previous comments encapsulate pretty well everything I would like to say about Duzza. A highly talented and inspirational journalist for whom I continue to have the greatest respect. It was a privilege to work with him and invariably he brought out the best in his people. The EDP will rue the day it lost him.

Sam Robbins (05/08/2009 12:39:20)
As a former staff photographer for a decade on the EDP, I’m stunned by this news.
Duzza could be a little testy occasionally, but only because he refused to accept second best from any of us.
As a sad and sentimental ex-snapper, I’ll treasure the memory of those terrifying silences on the other end of the phone, followed by further instructions to “Get f*&!ing vigorous !”

Fazerlady (05/08/2009 14:50:22)
after leaving Archant just 6 weeks ago myself through their ‘restructuring’I am really shocked that Paul is leaving. Archant need to hold onto people with skills, I expect they will only realise this far too late…

Cornelius Atweasle (05/08/2009 16:10:59)
Disgraceful. Paul Durrant is a first class journalist, and all-round good bloke. Why are the bean counters so determined to destroy our newspapers? And why aren’t Editors standing up to save their staff?

Weeklyman (06/08/2009 10:57:03)
Like many others, both current and ex-staffers, I am stunned by the way that Paul has been erased from Archant’s memory. His experience, judgement, and love for the EDP simply cannot be replaced. It’s significant that this has happened after Peter Franzen’s departure. Peter (like his illustrious predecessors in the editor’s chair) would never have stood for it. A sad day indeed.

FAST WOMAN (06/08/2009 11:41:26)
Atweasle, you ask ‘why aren’t editors standing up to save their staff?’ I think you’ll find that those who do so make up a significant number of the senior journalists who suddenly find themselves clearing their own desks.

ex Archant (06/08/2009 13:29:52)
I was amazed to hear this news and Archant have proved yet again what a dreadful company they are and the way they treat their staff is disgusting. I worked with Paul for many years and he was one of the most talented journalists I have known. I hope the company live to regret this decision and the way it was carried out if what I have heard is true. It appears that the quality of their products is of no interest to them now.

Marmaduke Ripgussett (07/08/2009 11:18:58)
I can’t add much to what’s already been said above; To sack Paul is a preposterous decision – clearly taken by management buffoons without any journalistic knowledsge or talent. His contribution to the EDp has been – and still is – immense. His departure can only harm an ailing newspaper.

Bendy Bus (07/08/2009 12:49:27)
I don’t know all the facts but from what is publicly known, this does seem an odd decision. It is fair to say on a personal basis, Paul was like Marmite – you either loved him or hated him and it is probably fair to say that he took the same approach with his colleagues. I was never on his Christmas card list while at Archant and was on the receiving end of several of his foul-mouthed rants during my career there. Putting that to one side, his personal flaws were his only fault in my opinion. His news judgement, legal knowledge and all-round journalistic ability are first-class.

Canary (12/08/2009 15:08:36)
In my opinion he was lucky to han
g on to a cushy desk job on a local paper for all that time… Wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in a proper newsroom…

back biter (13/08/2009 15:20:57)
I’d echo most of the comments above. While there would be many who worked with Paul as I did for several years, who he perhaps unfairly in some cases took a dislike to, even they would have to admit that Paul was the heart and soul of the EDP for years. His knowledge and love of the job is pretty much unsurpassed in journalists I have worked with.

bizman (28/08/2009 12:52:55)
Deep respect Paul. Simply the best news editor in the business.

Vic Birtles (01/09/2009 10:17:10)
It’s a serious indictment of Archant’s management when they are prepared to lose arguably the most experienced and respected member of it’s senior editorial team. He was the heart and brains of the newsroom and a mentor and inspiration to juniors.

James Birtles (01/09/2009 11:02:10)
There are plenty of us out there who were turned from spotty young trainees into decent journalists by Paul Durrant. He’s one of the best in the business.