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Two centuries of journalism comes to an end

Nearly two centuries of service to the local press is coming to an end today.

Five journalists from Johnston Press’ Sussex weekly titles are taking either early retirement or redundancy and bidding a fond farewell to colleagues and friends.

The decisions were taken by the south-coast quintet after JP’s recent decision to merge its Sussex Newspapers and TR Beckett divisions, meaning subbing operations will be centralised in Horsham.

Those saying goodbye are:

Ken McEwan is now in his 30th year as sports editor of the Eastbourne Gazette and Herald. The 64-year-old has was worked in local newspapers for 48 years, the lion’s share of which has been with the Johnston Press or the Sussex titles’ previous owners. He also spent around seven years working for newspapers in Kent.
John Dowling, 64, is the deputy editor of the Bexhill Observer and has worked for the same paper for just under 48 years. He started with the Observer as a junior reporter and worked his way up the ranks and is known to colleagues as ‘Mr Bexhill’.
Russ Perkins, 57, has been in the local press for 38 years, the majority of which he has spent with his current employers. Russ is a sub-editor based in Hastings working for the Bexhill Observer.
Andrew Bennett is the ‘baby’ of the group, who at 40, has been with TR Beckett for 14 years. He started with the Eastbourne Gazette and Herald and is now associate editor with the Rye and Battle Observer titles.
Making up the quintet is Philip Elms who has also worked for the same company for his entire career, spending over 44 years with Johnston Press and its predecessors in Sussex. The 60-year-old has been in East Sussex since joining the Observer Series at 15.

He spent 16 years as the Hastings Observer’s sports editor and is currently the title’s deputy editor as well as group production editor of the seven Observer Series titles.

Philip told HTFP: “We will be very sorry to leave the people we’ve worked with for so many years but we understand the demands of the business in the 21st century.

“It’s not an easy time for newspapers and we wish our colleagues well for the future. We have always enjoyed our job and our reward has been to do the job well.”


hilary (20/02/2009 09:21:46)
Two centuries of priceless local knowledge being shunted off into the sidings! Can anyone in the centralised subbing department in Horsham match that gold? Of course not. Another nail in the coffin of genuine local journalism, as opposed to ‘content gathering’ for the ‘product’.

Halima (20/02/2009 10:51:56)
Having followed the trail of all the recently announced redundancies across the industry, one thing is apparent. Those who are going, either compulsorily or ‘voluntarily’ seem to be the older, experienced people. I suppose it’s fine for them if that is what they want but do they? Getting another job is no easy task once you’re in your 50s and starting up a consultancy is risky. But perhaps the overriding question is – can the industry afford to lose all this experience? Is the regional press to be run by trainees and junior staff who are cheaper and more malleable?