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Weekly editor bows out after 42 years in industry

Keith RidleyA long-serving editor responsible for a series of South Coast weeklies hasd left his role after a 42-year career in the local press.

Keith Ridley, pictured left, left his role as editor-in-chief for Johnston Press in East Sussex on Friday.

In his role, Keith had overseen the Eastbourne Herald and Gazette and Hastings Observer for the past six years, and more recently added the Sussex Express to his portfolio.

It is understood no replacement has yet been lined up for Keith’s role and that Johnston Press is currently reviewing its editorial structure in the area.

Although his full time career with the group ended last week, Keith is set to be retained as consultative editor at the Observer series in Hastings, Bexhill, Rye and Battle on a part-time basis.

Said Keith: “My entire working life has been spent at the heart of local communities. It really has been a privilege and particularly so in East Sussex, which has such a fantastic community ethos.”

Keith began his career in his native Northamptonshire, where he rose to the role of editor at his hometown paper, the Daventry Express, aged 21.

He then edited the Rugby Advertiser before moving to The News, Portsmouth, where he held various posts including news and features editor, associate editor, deputy editor and newspaper sales and promotions director.

In 2001 he became managing director of TR Beckett, the JP subsidiary responsible for the Observer series.

Four years later he became the MD of Central Counties Newspapers, with responsibility for titles across Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.

7 comments

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  • February 2, 2015 at 8:53 am
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    It’s been a long and distinguished career since you ran ‘The Gusher’, Keith. Enjoy putting your feet up.
    Best wishes, Tony Boullemier, Northampton.

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  • February 2, 2015 at 9:30 am
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    “Keith is set to be retained as consultative editor at the Observer series in Hastings, Bexhill, Rye and Battle on a part-time basis.”
    A positive move by JP and good to see his vast experience not being thrown away as in so many cases.
    Good luck to him.
    The bit about “reviewing its editorial structure” sounds a bit ominous though, unless this means taking on more staff (dream!)

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  • February 2, 2015 at 10:18 am
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    Enjoy a quieter life Keith. What great times we enjoyed working for the old Heart of England group when you were editor at Daventry. Best wishes.

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  • February 2, 2015 at 1:37 pm
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    What they mean by reviewing editorial structure is same amount of work, or more, with fewer and fewer people to do it but let’s call them all content managers and they might not notice.

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  • February 2, 2015 at 3:33 pm
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    Yup. JP and others have got staff by the short and curlies. With so few jobs out there they can get away with squeezing more work out of fewer people because the poor souls have bills to pay and nowhere else to go.
    Such a shame for a lot of good people. I wonder when the industry will regain its sanity.

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