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Local press trio reunite for novel venture

Three veteran regional journalists who all retired on the same day are teaming up again to write their memoirs.

Ken McEwan, John Dowling and Philip Elms bowed out together in February 2009 after collectively chalking up more than 140 years’ service in local newspapers in the South of England.

Now they have written a unique three-way autobiography in which the trio explain how their different strands of journalism propelled them through nearly a century and a half of collective experience.

The link is that all three began their careers at south coast weekly the Bexhill Observer in the 1960s. After going their separate ways, they were shoulder-to-shoulder once more as they were eased through the exit door when the 2009 recession took a firm grip on the industry.

In the book, entitled Three Men and a Quote, each gives his own version of how it all started … and finished.

Family life, hobbies and interests are interowen with professional triumphs and tragedies and anecdotes of life behind the headlines.

“We wanted to create something rather more interesting and challenging than just three hacks writing up their memoirs,” said the threesome.

“In many ways we are three very different personalities. Yet we realised we had these extraordinary links that made a single project so compelling.”

Ken, now 65, spent most of his career as a sports editor, switching from the Bexhill title to the Hastings Observer and moving on to the Eastbourne Gazette and Herald series.

John, also 65, remained a renowned reporter even with a deputy editor’s title at the Bexhill Observer.

Philip 61, moved on from the Hastings sports desk to become a group production editor with responsibility for seven Johnston Press titles.

  • Three Men and a Quote is published by Rag Doll Media UK @ £9.99. Full details, including how to order a copy, can be found at


    Rob Griffin (31/08/2010 12:25:13)
    I have reviewed this book in case that’s of any interest