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Journalism training centre boss bows out after 51 years in industry

Richard ParsonsA former weekly editor who founded a centre which has since trained 1,500 journalists has retired after 51 years in the industry.

Richard Parsons, left, was among those responsible for setting up News Associates, which has centres in Wimbledon and Manchester, in 2005.

Richard began work as a 16-year-old on the now-defunct Hayes News in Middlesex and went on to work at Southall, Ealing, Watford, Kingston and Chertsey in various capacities.

His first editorship was in 1987 at the Buckinghamshire Advertiser in Chalfont St Peter before switching within the then Middlesex County Press group to the Uxbridge Gazette and Leader two years later.

He was in Uxbridge for six years before the firm – now part of Trinity Mirror – asked him to take on the editoship of the Surrey Herald series, based at Chertsey.

Richard remained there until 2002 when he took redundancy.

He was then involved in starting up a page production company and partnering with Sportsbeat news agency, for whom his younger son, David, was already a reporter. Some of that page production work still exists today as part of Sportbeat’s portfolio.

The firm launched its journalism training arm under the title of News Associates and was accepted by the NCTJ as an accredited centre, taking on its first students in March 2006.

Three of that first cohort, who work now for the Daily Express, Daily Telegraph and Mail Online, were at Richard’s leaving party held last Thursday.

Richard has also worked for the NCTJ as an exam-setter, marker and moderator over the last nine years and has sat on some of its committees.

He said: “I’ve been incredibly lucky to have worked for so long in a job that has never ceased to grip me.

“I know of so many friends and contemporaries in other fields of work who could not wait to retire from their chosen professions.

“My experience in the industry helped me no end when I switched to journalism lecturing, but it’s not as straightforward as some people might think.

“Certainly, with the pace of change in the industry, it is a challenge to stay relevant and topical with what we are telling those seeking to break into the industry.”

Among the gifts at his retirement party was a bottle of wine from the year of his birth and tickets to watch Dutch football club Ajax play in Amsterdam.


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  • July 14, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Richard started his career before I was born (and I’m no spring chicken at 43) but he has never lost his passion for news and newspapers. I got to know Richard through his role at News Associates and his infectious enthusiasm stood out. Well done Richard and good luck in the next stage of your life.

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  • July 14, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Richard’s first editorship should have been the Middlesex Chronicle but alas it was not to be. Nevertheless he went on to carve out a career in newspapers in his beloved Middesex. Good luck in retirement – enjoy the change in the pace of life.

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  • July 15, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Fine journo whose experience and wisdom has served the NCTJ well. Above all though, a great bloke!

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