AddThis SmartLayers

Former MD of weekly newspaper series dies at 93

A former managing director of a weekly newspaper series who first put news on the front page has died at the age of 93.

Michael Robinson, left, was managing director and chairman of the Wakefield Express Series for more than 35 years from 1949 until the family-owned business was sold to Johnston Press in 1985.

The Express was launched by his great-grandfather John Robinson in March 1852 and Michael was in charge when the title first carried news on its front page in 1960.

He died last week in hospital after a short illness, which followed the death of his wife of 66 years, Barbara, earlier this year.

Michael attended printing college in Leeds before joining the TA in 1938 and was then called to serve in the army in 1939 when the Second World War broke out.

In 1946, he joined the Express and took over from his father Cecil as managing director three years later.

The series included the Ossett Observer, Pontefract and Castleford Express and Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express, which became known as Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group in 1979.

Former YWNG editorial director Dick Taylor said: “He was a good-natured man and I always regarded him as one of life’s gentlemen.

“He was a fair employer and well-known and well-respected in the newspaper industry.”

Michael was president of the Newspaper Society between 1968 and 1969, was Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire in 1971 and was awarded an OBE.

He was a keen sportsman and enjoyed cricket, golf, skiing and tennis.

Michael’s daughter Rozanne Stephen told the Express: “He had a very good sense of humour. He was quietly determined.

“He used to smoke a pipe, which he used to say was incredibly useful, especially when negotiating with the unions as it gave him time to think.

“He was an even tempered man and loved his family. He was great with us as we grew up and he loved his sport.”

He leaves daughters Rozanne, Janie and Alex and his funeral will take place at Holy Trinity Church, Wonston, Hampshire, on 6 December at noon.

One comment

You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • December 4, 2012 at 10:40 am

    A highly respected management figure who now seems as if he came from a golden age. I worked in the group at the time of a dispute that escalated into a strike, and I well remember his comment at the time in a TV interview: “We want the chaps back at work” which annoyed some of the more militant chapesses but now in a more polarised age seems simply civilised. I have similar memories of Dick Taylor, who I’m glad to see is still with us.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)