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Former regional daily sub-editor dies aged 75

A former regional daily sub-editor who had a lengthy journalism career in newspapers and at the BBC has died at the age of 75.

John Hobbs, left, worked as a sub-editor at the Sunderland Echo for many years before his retirement in the early 1990s and continued to write on a freelance basis for The Northern Echo after retiring.

Earlier in his career, he worked for national newspapers including the Daily Mirror, and in broadcasting, where he spent time working for the BBC World Service and BBC Radio Newcastle.

Tributes have been paid to him after he died at his home in Weardale, County Durham, on Sunday morning.

Former Sunderland Echo editor Rob Lawson, who worked with John at the title for a number of years in the mid to late 1980s, said: “He was a real larger-than-life character. He had a real mischievousness about him but was very good at what he did as well.

“He had been around a long time and there were a lot of people who were quite young at the Echo subs desk and he taught us all a lot, he had so much experience.”

John Gelson, another former sub-editor at the Sunderland Echo who now works in PR, added: “He was an inspiration to many young journalists.

“I learnt an immeasurable amount from him both about newspapers and broadcasting, which I went into. He was a great encouragement to me in making that career change.

“He was a tenacious sub-editor with a great eye for detail and a great writer as well.

“His death is very sad news indeed and my condolences go to his wife Tricia and his family.”

Northern Echo editor Peter Barron tweeted: “Sorry to hear that respected journalist John Hobbs has died in Weardale. Produced many tales for The Northern Echo.”

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  • October 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    A nice little story about John from the Sixties, when subs moved around the nationals for an extra couple of quid. He joined me on the Daily Express subs’ table in Manchester. He was an unusually self-confident young man and after a very short time went to see the editor and said: “I was thinking of asking for a rise.” The editor responded: “And I was thinking of firing you.” John moved to the Mirror. Many years later, when I edited the Sunderland Echo, I took John on as a sub. He was still a little difficult to manage on occasions, but he knew what it was all about and his experience was valuable. Wherever he is, he’ll be creating a stir.

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