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Founder’s great-grandson hits out over axed editors

The great-grandson of the man who co-founded a weekly newspaper in South Wales is writing a protest letter at the decision to axe its editor.

J.L. Rowlands helped launch the Aberdare Leader in 1902 and then subsequently edited it for 16 years.

The title, now known as the Cynon Valley Leader, is to lose its dedicated editor Gary Marsh as part of a shake-up by owners Media Wales, a subsidiary of Trinity Mirror.

Now Mr Rowlands’ great-grandson, Dafydd Trystan Davies, whose father Rowland also edited the Leader, is writing to Media Wales publishing director Alan Edmunds asking him to reconsider.

Dafydd wrote on his blog: “I am very surprised at the news that Trinity Mirror is to axe the four editors of the Celtic group of newspapers and replace them with an editor-in-chief and ‘contents editor’.

“I am writing to Alan Edmunds to express my regret and to ask if, even at this late stage, the decision can be reversed.

“I feel deeply about this, as my great-grandfather J.L. Rowlands, co-founder of the Aberdare Leader in 1902, became its first editor, and my father, Rowland Davies edited the paper for six years in the 1980s.

“Gary Marsh has worked hard to promote the Leader in the community and deserves better. He has been editor for some 16 years, making him the third longest-serving editor – after J.L. Rowlands and Gwyn Prosser.”

Media Wales has announced that the Leader and five sister titles will be covered by a single editor-in-chief.

The other titles affected are the Merthyr Express, Rhymney Valley and Gwent Gazette, Rhondda Leader, Pontypridd Observer and Glamorgan Gazette.

As well as Gary, other editors set to lose their jobs include Wayne Nowaczyk, who edits both the Pontypridd Observer and Rhondda Leader.

Added Dafydd: “Wayne’s departure will also undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on the newspapers he edits and break the contact between reader and editor.”

Media Wales has previously stated that the future development and operational requirements of the titles will be “better served” by the planned restructure.

A formal consultation is currently under way with the four editors affected.

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  • October 7, 2010 at 10:02 am

    editor in chief? (bit of a non-practical luxury in today’s climate) contents editor? (glorified sub). So many good weeklies have been marched screaming down this route. What the local readers really like is a proper editor with authority. Sadly, They will soon qualify for rare breeds. Well done Davies for speaking up.

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