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Editor leaves weekly title to join rival publisher

A weekly newspaper editor has left her position after six years to become editor of another weekly which is owned by a rival publisher.

Zena O’Rourke has left her role at the helm of Local World title the Cornish Guardian, having joined the paper from the Western Gazette in 2009.

She has now taken on the role of editor at the Somerset County Gazette, which is owned by Newsquest.

Jacqui Walls, who is editor of sister titles the West Briton and The Cornishman has become acting editor of the Guardian while a new editor is appointed.

It means that for the time being all three titles are once again under the same editorship, having each been given dedicated editors in a restructure in 2009.

Zena O'Rourke, centre, receives the Cornish Guardian's award for best paid-for weekly from Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson from EDF Energy and Olympian Heather Fell.

Zena O’Rourke, centre, receives the Cornish Guardian’s award for best paid-for weekly from Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson from EDF Energy and Olympian Heather Fell.

During Zena’s time at the title, it won a number of awards, including being named the paid-for weekly newspaper of the year at the EDF Energy South West Media Awards in 2011, pictured above.

In an announcement to staff at Devon & Cornwall Media, Zena said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed editing the Cornish Guardian. It has been an honour and hugely rewarding experience being custodian of this great title.

“Highlights have included winning the weekly newspaper of the year title at the 2011 Newspaper Awards and the South West Media EDF weekly newspaper of the year award the same year.

“In saying goodbye I would like to thank my colleagues for their support in achieving all we did together during challenging and changing times in the industry and wish them every success in the future.”

Publisher Fiona Shaw added: “Zena has made a huge contribution to the success of the Cornish Guardian.

“She is passionate about the Cornish communities the title serves both online and in print. We wish her every success in her new endeavours.”

15 comments

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  • April 28, 2015 at 7:22 am
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    Can anyone lend me a postage stamp so I can write on the back of it just what Local World knows about retaining experienced, talented, knowledgeable editors?

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  • April 28, 2015 at 8:11 am
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    Ah yes, those “new challenges”. Paying my mortgage is one of my older ones, however, so I’d like to avoid “new challenges” if at all possible. Good luck Zena, though I don’t really understand why you’re leaving when your publisher is saying you’re so “passionate about the communities the title serves”.

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  • April 28, 2015 at 8:46 am
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    says all the right things, as usual. But who’d be an editor nowadays? Companies want trained monkeys faithfully following their company mantra. Not individuals running local papers with their own character. Anyway, my local hasn’t had a proper editor for years, so be grateful if you have one!

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  • April 28, 2015 at 9:32 am
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    I think anyone with an ounce of common sense can see what a challenge it has been to work for the Cornish titles once we were subsumed into the Devon business under one set of head honchos.

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  • April 28, 2015 at 9:43 am
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    While Tesco reduces its lines of stock to boosts profits I see that Sainsburys reduce their lines of editors.

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  • April 28, 2015 at 9:57 am
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    I wonder if Zena knows what her ‘new challenges’ are.
    Some years ago when I was editor of a small daily paper overseas I was given an envelope.
    Inside was my letter of resignation and a cheque for about 5000 quid.
    The letter said I had left to ‘pursue new opportunities.’
    I didn’t know what these opportunities were, either.
    Anyway, good luck Zena.
    In this climate, you will need it.

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  • April 28, 2015 at 11:14 am
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    Has that guy mentioned the warehouse for ex-editors yet? S/he must be on a day off.

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  • April 28, 2015 at 11:44 am
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    I have drafted a standard leaving letter for these situations. Please use if appropriate and forward fee to the normal desk. “I have decided to embrace new challenges after xx years at the xx xx, despite being cosmically happy in my position and utterly committed to the communities I serve.(NB this last bit essential these days). I must just pay tribute to the peerless staff, with whom I have enjoyed such a warm relationship, and our faithful readers. From all of this it should be obvious why I am departing at this time.” Yep, I guess it is.

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  • April 28, 2015 at 1:51 pm
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    Seems a bit careless of Loco World to let an award-winning editor leave and go toe to toe with them in Somerset.

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  • April 28, 2015 at 2:07 pm
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    Our newspaper sales figures show it’s been an unbridled success having one editor oversee two of our titles, so why not extend the policy some more? Trebles all round!

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  • April 28, 2015 at 3:28 pm
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    Congratulations to Zena.

    More accurately I would imagine she is now editor of the “Somerset County Gazette series”. This is Newsquest code for four paid-for weeklies, one slip edition and one free weekly, all produced by a handful of reporters, subs and editorial assistants.

    Good luck.

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  • April 28, 2015 at 3:42 pm
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    Hope she’s better than the last ‘top exec’ who arrived among us from that company….

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  • April 28, 2015 at 9:27 pm
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    Tauntonian – rest assured she is. I think Zena has worked for the group in the past and indeed it was the Western Gazette’s mistake to let her leave there. They have been in terminal decline since she left. She is a top newspaper lady.

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  • April 30, 2015 at 10:24 am
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    Our loss, Somerset’s gain. As a former national newspaper hack I have been consistently impressed with the CG since I moved to Cornwall.

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