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Editor axed at South Coast daily after 13 years in chair

The editor of Bournemouth’s Daily Echo has been made redundant after 13 years at the helm.

Neal Butterworth, who was also editor-in-chief of sister title the Dorset Echo, left the company on Friday following an announcement to staff.

Toby Granville, the editor of the Dorset Echo since October 2008, will become group editor of the two Newsquest-owned titles.

Neal’s departure was announced to staff on Friday lunchtime and confirmed in a short three-paragraph story in Saturday’s Dorset Echo.

It read:  “Dorset Echo editor Toby Granville has been appointed group editor of Dorset in a newly created role.

“Toby will now be editing both the Dorset Echo and the Bournemouth Echo following Neal Butterworth’s departure. Neal left yesterday following 13 years as editor of the Bournemouth Echo.”

A source told HTFP that Neal left the Echo offices at lunchtime on Friday after penning a farewell letter to staff.

Neal, who was at the helm of the South Coast title when it won regional newspaper of the year at the Newspaper Awards in May, becomes the eighth regional daily editor to leave his role this year.

In 2007 Neal was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by Bournemouth University.

The university recognised Neal for being “an independently minded editor and columnist”, who has become a leading and influential figure in Bournemouth and the surrounding area, with an acute insight into public life and politics.

Meanwhile, two Newsquest weekly editors are also standing down from their positions this month.

Editor of the Andover Advertiser Joe Scicluna has decided to leave exactly 15 years to the day after first taking on the role.

Joe, who completed 30 years with the company in July, will leave on 22 December.

Newsquest Andover and Basingstoke publisher Gary Kendall said: “I would like to thank Joe for his outstanding contribution to both the Andover Advertiser and the wider Andover community as a whole.

“Joe’s passion for the paper and the town has been evident throughout his tenure as editor.

“We wish Joe and his family every success for the future.”

Also moving on is Ken Bird of the Somerset County Gazette who has taken up a PR role with a local school.

He has been replaced by Alex Cameron, who was news editor of the Taunton-based title.

23 comments

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  • December 19, 2011 at 9:17 am
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    Sad news indeed.
    But how can one person avtively edit two papers that are 30 miles apart?

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  • December 19, 2011 at 9:32 am
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    Good luck Ken Bird, he was a very good editor and underated man

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  • December 19, 2011 at 9:43 am
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    Easy to do Goldfinch I would have thought, trust in the team you have around you!

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  • December 19, 2011 at 10:04 am
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    Goldfinch asks: “How can one person actively edit two papers that are 30 miles apart?”

    I’m sure Newsquest is working on that. Although a unitary council, Bournemouth is actually still in Dorset, after all, so, hey, let’s just have a single daily for the county, in a bright, radical new move to equip the titles for the most focussed multimedia future (etc etc etc insert usual management c*ap here)…

    And when that starts to die a death, a single weekly for the whole county as a bold new opportunity to enhance the reader experience and advertiser opportunties (blah blah blah)…

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  • December 19, 2011 at 10:36 am
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    @Goldfinch

    This was tried in the mid-1990s when the editors of the Bournemouth Echo and the Southern Daily Echo (Southampton) were axed in quick succession by previous owner Southern Newspapers. It was not a success and shortly after Newsquest bought SN each paper had an editor once again.

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  • December 19, 2011 at 11:00 am
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    Re my last comment, I refer to Neal Butterworth. He has given his all to Newsquest for 13 years, a really nice guy, well respected within the industry. I am sure something far better will come along for him and his talents will be recognised and appreciated by a company that actually care about their employees.

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  • December 19, 2011 at 11:33 am
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    Pretty inhumane to make Mr Butterworth redundant a week before Christmas.

    But it appears to be becoming the regional publishing norm – is there some sort of competition going on among newspaper MDs to decide who’s the most callous?

    Three cheers for whoever emerges the winner, eh.

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  • December 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm
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    they get their adverts done in India, which is a bit farther away

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  • December 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm
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    Although there’s not much to choose between the newspaper plcs, Newsquest has a horrible habit of making staff redundant on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. I was among them at the Brighton Argus. The former deputy editor Frank de Luc was also a New Year’s Eve casualty. What a talented guy!

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  • December 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm
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    ‘Shambles’, as dear Mr Granville himself, might say.

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  • December 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm
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    They thought it would take two years after Toby Granville arrived at Weymouth, but in the end it was three.
    Neal Butterworth wins the design awards, Toby the circulation ones.
    Newsquest’s accountants and directors don’t care a great deal about design awards…

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  • December 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm
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    I wonder which one Mr Granville will be told to convert to a weekly first?

    A single paper for the whole county isn’t entirely out of the question – just look at The Argus in Sussex…although if ever there was a British paper in the last hours of its life that’s surely it (subbing, production and printing 75-miles away in Southampton for goodness sake in a city of 250,000).

    Man the lifeboats now.

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  • December 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm
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    It has long been the dream of Newsquest to have one Echo between Weymouth and Bournemouth. It makes sense looking at the map in London, but they are such different places. The Dorset Echo goes up to 40p today and combining it with the Bournemouth Echo would be certain to lose many sales in West Dorset. Already there are reports in the Dorset Echo about road accidents in Highcliffe and Christchurch, far to the east, so the process has already started. Stand by for redundancies at Weymouth as Bournemouth takes over. This will be good news for the free View From Weymouth, run by ex Echo Harry Walton.

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  • December 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm
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    Editors ALWAYS watch their backs, Hackman. If they’re not being stabbed by the board they’ll be stabbed by the staff.

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  • December 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm
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    What a shame to hear the news but it had to happen seeing what Newsquest have been and are up to.

    Good luck to Ken Bird. I liaised with him over many years working with Newsquest untill retirement and he was a gent.

    As usual little comes from the company.

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  • December 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm
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    beware the arrival of the dreaded group editor. all interference, lunches, and no local knowledge.

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  • December 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm
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    This really shouldn’t come as any great surprise – uber-editors are all the rage these days along with central subbing and production hubs.

    Another example was Derek Holmes, editor of the Oxford Times, whose job has been swallowed up by Simon O’Neill of the Oxford Mail after 20-odd years of loyal service.

    It’s a wonder it’s taken so long for them to cotton on that there are far too many chiefs (shame they don’t realise there aren’t enough Indians).

    Actually, Newsquest has been one of the last companies to wield the axe but now it’s fair to say it’s going to be a bloodbath.

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  • December 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm
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    Shambles, Everywhere:
    Could not agree more re Argus at Brighton. Once fantastic busy multi-edition evening paper covering Sussex well and selling 100,000 plus a day, now reduced to a mediocre “next morning” camped inside Brighton and selling just over 20,000 a day.
    Maimed not by poor journos but by bad management and lack of staff. A great shame.

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  • December 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm
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    HTTP at Christmas is like a sad editorial Advent calendar. Every day you open a window and another one falls out.

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  • December 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm
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    Neil is a decent chap. Very sorry to see him go.

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