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Regional daily columnist axed following legal row

A veteran columnist on a regional daily newspaper has been axed after a legal row.

Ken Hurst had written a weekly column for the Eastern Daily Press on a freelance basis after previously standing down as the paper’s business editor.

But the column was axed by new editor Nigel Pickover after his latest contribution fell foul of the paper’s legal advisers

The subject matter of the column concerned the recent alleged abduction of a 15-year-old schoolgirl by her 30-year-old male teacher, which has since been made the subject of a section 39 order banning the identification of the victim.

Ken has subsequently described his version of the events leading to his axeing in a series of posts on his blog.

He also revealed that when Nigel offered to take him out to lunch to thank him personally for having written the column, he told the editor to “shove it.”

Said Nigel:  “The content of the Eastern Daily Press is completely new every day, which is of course why readers buy it.  As an editor, making occasional changes to our 20-plus regular columnists is part of my role.

“We thank Ken for all his words over the years and wish him well in the future.”

8 comments

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  • October 16, 2012 at 11:55 am
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    This illustrates the perils of having non-journalist contributors with no legal training (in some cases). This person on his blog continues to name the girl concerned, in defiance of a court order and therefore in contempt of court. He also seems to have compared an ongoing court case to other recent events, again in contempt of court.
    This couldn’t be published otherwise the editor would be appearing before a judge himself.
    To refuse to accept this says a great deal about the contributor.

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  • October 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm
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    Greeno – I know where you’re coming from but the story here says that the columnist was previously the paper’s business editor.

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  • October 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm
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    Haha – oh well there’s even less excuse then for being so completely ignorant of the law!

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  • October 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm
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    Why on earth would any editor land themselves with a potential criminal record to satisfy one columnist’s ego? One glance reveals at least three reasons why that column should never see the light of day. Ludicrous.

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  • October 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm
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    Ignorance of the law eh? The column and the blog were both written before the section 39 order although, because the blog continues to attract hits it has been edited to remove the names concerned. If you had taken the time to read the blog properly, you would have seen that I took my own legal advice at the time of publication.
    I have, by the way, been a professional full-time journalist for 25 years.

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  • October 17, 2012 at 10:59 am
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    Mr Hurst, Sir, you may have had 25 years in the business but that should be long enough to know that columnists write columns and editors edit them. That’s the way it has to work. No sensible editor would think “oh that’s alright then” if a writer or columnist had arranged for his/her own piece to be legalled. And the editor has the right to be wrong…it’s his (in this case) neck on the line, not yours.
    You should have a) accepted the edits with outwardly good grace while seething inside or b) accepted the sacking over lunch and stung Pickover for a particularly fine, well matured rioja.

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  • October 17, 2012 at 11:29 am
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    Can’t help observing that the more Ken Hurst fumes, writes, blogs about this incident, the worse he is making himself look. I’ve written various columns for several papers over three decades. They do tend to come to a natural end. Accept it, Ken. Move on.

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  • October 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm
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    For many years I wrote the Grouse Strumpet column for the Pall Mall Gazette. But Subbuteo is right, these things run their course and eventually come to an end. Grouse Strumpet certainly did.
    When I was dumped by the Gazette it was down over a bottle or four of Claret at the Pink Oboe wine bar. Present was myself, the editor and a lareg man from the circulation department.
    Afterwards we visited a massage parlour.
    I have nothing but good memories about the whole thing.

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