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‘Old-style’ former weekly editor dies aged 67

A ‘quintessential weekly newspaperman’ who helped propel young journalists towards stellar careers in Fleet Street, television and radio has died aged 67 after battling lung cancer.

Tributes have poured in for Martin Robinson – a one-time weekly editor who enjoyed a mid-career renaissance by switching successfully to freelancing.

Martin, a former Uppingham School pupil, started in weekly newspapers with the Sutton Coldfield News and the Warley News in the late 1960s before going on to edit the flagship Solihull News for 12 years.

His ‘conversion’ to a freelancing free spirit from 1989 saw him work across the Midland publishing scene in newspapers and PR including stints on the Sunday Mercury, Tamworth Herald and helping edit IM Express, the International Motors’ magazine.

Former Dudley Herald and Central TV journalist Mart Gottschalk said: “I first met Martin in 1967 when we were both kids. He was a junior reporter on the Sutton News and I was on the West Bromwich, Oldbury and Smethwick Midland Chronicle.

“Martin was the quintessential local newspaperman and was one of those rare people who began and ended his career on weeklies.

In the picture . . . former Solihull News editor Martin Robinson with BBC's famous anchor man Michael Buerk

“Many people who worked for him went on to successful careers in Fleet Street, TV and radio.

“He had a rather crusty manner, but fundamentally he was one of the most decent people you could ever wish to meet, devoted to his family.

“He will be remembered as one of the last old-style weekly newspaper editors.”

His widow Sue, also a well-known West Midland journalist for many years who worked for the Birmingham Post and Mail, Tamworth Herald and Lichfield Mercury, said: “Martin was a long-serving weekly editor when paid-for weeklies were a real force in journalism.

“He later enjoyed a varied career as a freelance in newspapers and PR and was very well-known right across the West Midlands journalistic community.”

Birmingham Mail business editor Jon Griffin said: “I drank with Martin on and off in the local village pub for nearly 30 years.

“He was a newspaperman to his fingertips, and a witty and entertaining companion who instinctively saw through the pretence and nonsense in life. Many people both in and out of newspapers will miss Martin a great deal.”

The funeral of the Sutton Coldfield-born journalist is expected to be held later this month at St Leonard’s Church, Wigginton, followed by a wake in the Old Crown pub. More details will follow on HoldtheFrontPage.

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  • September 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm
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    So sad to hear of the death of Martin Robinson. I worked with him throughout his 12 years on the Solihull News and can vouch for the truth of all the fine tributes that have been paid to him. He had the highest standards. If he didn’t think much of what you offered for the front page splash, you went back and found something better.. Much better. And when we had done tearing our hair out he had us all laughing with his wicked sense of humour…

    Jane Solan, ex-chief reporter, Solihull News

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  • September 15, 2014 at 12:44 pm
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    In other words, Martin was the kind of talented, experienced journalist who are no longer thought necessary when it comes to training up the new generation. I never worked with Martin but I worked for five years with his wife Sue and I consider her one of my mentors in this business.

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