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Weekly editor and journalism MBE made redundant

A newspaper editor who was awarded the MBE for services to journalism and charity has been made redundant.

John Butterworth, group editor of Shropshire Newspapers’ weekly series, was given the news yesterday as part of wider plans to reduce the payroll by around 135 staff at parent company the Midland News Association.

It is also expected that all sub-editing operations at Shropshire Newspapers weekly titles will be carried out from the company’s head office in Ketley from March.

John, 55, has been in journalism for 36 years and in his current role for the past 12.

He told HoldtheFrontPage: “The structure was not explained so I don’t know what will happen to my role.

“I will be leaving and not fighting my redundancy but negotiations are on-going over the package and my last day is to be decided.

“I did not want to leave newspapers. I’ve had 36 years and I love newspapers. If I’d wanted to leave I could have applied for voluntary redundancy.

“I don’t know if the company will change their minds and I suppose nothing’s finished until it’s finished.”

John’s principal role is as editor of the Shrewsbury and North Shropshire Chronicle and prior to this he was editor of the Bromsgrove Advertiser/Messenger and the Leek Post and Times Series.

Twelve months ago he was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for his services to journalism and various charities, for which he has helped to raise £4m through newspaper campaigns.

During his time in Bromsgrove he launched appeals to help the Flying Doctors motorway medical service, build an extension to a playgroup for handicapped children and upgrade a local disabled riding centre.

He also headed up a project in his home town of Stone, Staffordshire, to sponsor five eye care missions in Afghanistan, completed a seven-day trek in the Sahara Desert and brought the Orient Express to Shrewsbury for 250 readers to enjoy a trip on the famous train.

His papers and reporters have also been nominated for around 80 industry awards and last November the Shrewsbury Chronicle was named the UK’s third best paid-for weekly title in the Newspaper Society awards.

John added: “I am of the mind that I’m planning my future. I’m going to set up a consultancy firm and do any media consultancy work in any area.

“I’m going to have ten years of fun and flexibility and enjoying myself.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed it. When you’ve won an MBE for services to journalism and 12 months later you’re made redundant, it’s a fully old world.

“I have no regrets and would do the same thing all over again. I shall walk away with my head held high.”

Shropshire Newspapers MD Colin Spicer said the company was still in a consultation process so it would be inappropriate to comment any further.


Splash (30/01/2009 11:51:06)
It should also be mentioned that as well as John going, three of the seven reporters who work on the Shrewsbury and North Shropshire Chronicles, plus one of the two Telford Journal reporters will also be made redundant.
That’s four from a pool of nine reporters, of which seven are trainees the company has pledged to help through their senior reporter qualifications.
There will also be another weekly editor going, plus two sub editors. All of the changes are aimed at the weekly papers at this stage.

All Subbed Out (30/01/2009 12:19:38)
I do not know Mr Butterworth but no-one reading of his treatment at the hands of today’s newspaper groups could wish him anything but the very best for the future. I wonder how the likes of Colin Spicer, and his ilk in similar job-slashing situations across the local newspaper industry, can sleep at night? They are certainly not troubled by any thoughts on, or understanding of, the nature of quality local newspapers.

The Bird in Hand beer garden (30/01/2009 12:35:07)
John is a top bloke and will find himself busy very soon.
The Sentinel have dumped 3 photographers this week, 24 go at CIN ( Walsall Advertiser plus six titles)

Train wreck (30/01/2009 12:48:25)
To get rid of young cub reporters is morally reprehensible. This company has no shame.

Viv Nicholson (30/01/2009 12:54:23)
Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

Subbed out (30/01/2009 14:21:21)
I worked with John a few years ago and the Shrewsbury Chronicle thrived on his enthusiasm, passion and vision. He is being treated very shabbily in return for 12 years of commitment and drive.
Thought must also go to the other affected staff, many of whom not only face moving to offices 20 miles away but having their careers cut short.
Shame on you, Midland News Association.

snapper (02/02/2009 15:48:49)
Dreadful management yet again! Range Rovers and BMW’s still arriving for management. Local news is the obvious way to go for regionals but the powers that be in Wolverhampton can’t see it. The only titles making any money are having their staff taken away. R.I.P

BigCahoona (10/02/2009 13:49:41)
A great shame, some would argue. Others would not. Good Luck Mr. Butterworth in allthat you do next.

Phil Barnett (10/02/2009 17:04:49)
John Butterworth, Once heard & seen, never forgotten. Which way you take this comment is dependent on in which part of the association you work in.

Dean Aldridge (13/02/2009 00:11:12)
John was my first editor. He was very brave, enthusiastic and supportive. He was hard but fair – if you messed up you knew about it but if you’d done your job he said thanks. When he left the paper in Bromsgrove my mom phoned him to thank him for putting me on the straight and narrow. If you knew my hard to please mom then you’d know that receiving that call should have entitled John to an MBE, let alone the £4million he helped raise for charity.

Regular Reader (23/02/2009 19:52:42)
Good luck to the future prospects of this paper if management see axing a sucessful colleague, to save a few quid as a step forward for future prosperity…..surely axing some middle management who contribute litte to the papers worth would be a better outcome for all….including people who enjoy reading the paper