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Regional trainer bows out after 33-year career

An editorial training manager is retiring tomorrow after 33 years in regional journalism.

Neil Webber, who is responsible for editorial training at the KM Group, has been credited with helping to develop the careers of hundreds of journalists.

Originally starting out as a trainee reporter with the now-defunct Kentish Observer in 1967, Neil left the profession for several years before a friendship forged on the cricket pitch led to a return.

Alan Benstead, then editor of the Kentish Gazette, played in the same village team as Neil, and eventually persuaded him to join his paper as a sports reporter in 1977.

Two years later, the Gazette was taken over by the KM Group, where Neil has remained in a variety of posts ever since.

His roles have included group sports editor, production editor of the short-lived daily Kent Today, and finally editorial training manager for the past decade.

As well as his newspaper work, Neil has also been closely involved in the work of the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

He regularly acts as an interviewee, assessor and interview panel chairman on NCE days in Kent and London and has also acted as an editors’ panel member on NCTJ accreditation panel visits.

Said Neil: “I’ve been lucky to have spent so much of my working life in such an enjoyable and rewarding career and to have worked for a company that believes passionately in the value of training.

“The healthy relationship between the KM Group and the NCTJ, and the values they share, has enabled me to support and assist the NCTJ in various capacities over the last ten years or so.”

KM Group editorial director Ian Carter said: “In his time with the Kent Messenger, Neil has helped develop the careers of hundreds of journalists. Neil’s passion for journalism is as strong as ever, and he has played a leading role in helping to establish the KM Group as a truly multimedia company.

“Although Neil is taking a well-earned retirement, he will still remain a close friend of the group and has offered to help in whatever way he can in the future – I’m delighted we will still be able to call on his expertise.”


KT (04/03/2010 12:11:01)
“Going for …. GOLF!!!!!”

Prysbelewski (04/03/2010 15:26:35)
A good man who helped me and many others. And a mentalist.

Dead Mouse In the Mail (05/03/2010 15:13:44)
A beautiful, thoroughly deserved eulogy.
And some nice humour there by Ian Carter.

Margaret Rutherford, Ealing (10/03/2010 12:30:40)
Yes, lovely words from Ian Carter, who has been at the KM for all of eight months.

Hannen Swaffer, London, WC1 (16/03/2010 16:06:00)
I once met Neil, many years ago.
I remember it well.
I said to him: “Who are you?”

Flinty McGinty (11/05/2010 15:48:26)
On my first day at the KM, surrounded my fat old men in ill-fitting suits, I met Neil for the first time.
I was 19 at the time and fresh from borstal.
Neil sai to me: “See that bloke by the window? Never lend him money.”

Kent ‘Toady’ (12/05/2010 13:55:46)
Blimey, I thought he’d retired years ago…BTW, Kent Today was not so “short-lived”. It was around in various guises – starting out as the Evening Post – for more than 30 years.

Flinty McGinty (12/05/2010 15:01:59)
On my second day with the KM (and I was still high as a kite on angel dust at the time) Neil took to me one side and said: “See that woman by the coffee machine? Never let her know your pin number.”