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Editor takes early retirement after 30 years with publisher

Ed AA long-serving editor in charge of several weekly newspapers has taken early retirement after 30 years with a regional publisher.

Johnston Press has confirmed the departure of Ed Asquith, editor and editorial director of the Scarborough News, Whitby Gazette and Bridlington Free Press, as well as a number of other titles in North and East Yorkshire.

Papers which fell under Ed’s remit in recent years, following successive managerial restructures in Yorkshire, included the Malton and Pickering Mercury, Filey Mercury and Pocklington Post.

Prior to their closures in 2016, Ed also edited the Beverley Guardian and Driffield Times & Post.

Jean McQuarrie, group weeklies editor for Johnston Press Yorkshire, will assume responsibility for Ed’s titles with immediate effect.

James Mitchinson, editorial director for Johnston Press in Yorkshire, said: “We regret to announce that Ed Asquith, editor and editorial director of The Scarborough News, Whitby Gazette, Bridlington Free Press and other titles is to take early retirement.

“His distinguished service over a lengthy career with Johnston Press has seen him win many awards and he leaves with our grateful thanks and very best wishes for the future.

“Jean MacQuarrie, group weeklies editor for Johnston Press Yorkshire will assume responsibility for the titles previously edited by Ed with effect from today.”

Ed, pictured, began his career as a trainee reporter at the Droylsden office of the Ashton Reporter Group, covering the same East Manchester patch where the legendary Harold Evans began his career.

He later worked as a sub-editor at both the Birmingham Mail and South Wales Echo, as well as a reporter at the Coventry Telegraph, and spent time in the national press on The Observer.

After initially joining the Scarborough News as deputy editor in 1988, he took on the editorship of the Whitby Gazette and later the Wakefield Express before returning to the Yorkshire coast as editor in 2003.

In 2009 he led a six-month campaign, with the help of then-Society of Editors’ president Bob Satchwell and former Bradford Telegraph & Argus editor Perry Austin-Clarke, to gain free court lists for every local newspaper in the country.

HM Courts Service had planned to charge for lists, but Ed’s campaign led to him receiving a letter from then-Justice Secretary Jack Straw confirming the plans had been shelved.

He also oversaw the conversion of the News from a daily to a weekly in 2012.

Both the News and the Gazette have been nominated for the weekly newspaper of the year award at the forthcoming O2 Media Awards for Yorkshire.

In the case of the News it is the fifth time in a row the newspaper has been shortlisted.

9 comments

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  • June 22, 2018 at 9:01 am
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    The gene pool of well respected and experienced editors is further watered down with yet another long standing editor departing the industry.
    Very few real editors are left now but I guess no great experience is needed to oversee the dying days of local papers, only the ability to agree and implement whatever cuts and short term policies are handed down from above without question,
    All good wishes to Ed for a long and happy retirement

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  • June 22, 2018 at 9:33 am
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    Having worked with Ed for some years until I took early retirement 10 years ago I can only wish him well. However, in these ever-changing days you wonder why he decided to go now.

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  • June 22, 2018 at 10:29 am
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    What a shame.
    But did he jump or was he pushed?
    Interesting that Ed isn’t quoted himself here.
    Clearly a dyed-in-the-wool veteran editor, committed regional journalist and top-notch operator, Ed’s departure is surely another nail in the coffin of fast-declining JP weeklies.

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  • June 22, 2018 at 2:00 pm
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    Agree with Red; the haemorrhage of talent and experience continues apace. The game’s lost I am sorry to say. Good luck to Ed.

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  • June 22, 2018 at 2:11 pm
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    I started out in journalism in that same Droylsden Reporter office with Ed. Happy days. Hope the decision to go was your choice. If you’ve got lots of time on your hands now, how about organising a Reporter reunion? Cheers Paul/Howard.

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  • June 22, 2018 at 4:10 pm
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    @Jazzie is correct in that very few real editors remain in the industry and I honestly wonder why the big groups even have them anymore?
    Sorry if you’re an editor,but they are editors in name alone,serve no purpose, have had all the editorial power taken away from them and are little more than gophers and can carriers for those above them when it suits them to find a scapegoat, it certainly no longer has any kudos to have ‘editor ‘ on your cv as the new independent publishers are all after experienced journos who have contacts and know their patch.
    Any road up,best of luck Ed,you can now enjoy watching the whole out of control merry go round from a safe distance

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  • June 25, 2018 at 9:21 am
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    Ironic really. What most JP papers seem to need is proper editing. Given up getting annoyed at the shoddy work on my local. It is now the industry standard.

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  • June 27, 2018 at 8:24 am
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    The consensus on the ground in Scarborough is that he was pushed, with no warning for Ed or his staff. A classic JP redundancy manoeuvre: here’s your P45, please leave the building immediately. Will the SNews now be edited from afar, ie Leeds?

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  • July 5, 2018 at 4:46 pm
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    Let’s never forget! Local newspapers cannot survive without advertising and the basic problem with JP is that they have tried to survive without the sales people to sell the advertising. Further, they didn’t realise that by persuading their readers to go on line, those readers would stop buying the paper. It really is that simple. Oh, and by the way, if local advertisers bought from call centres it would have been done 35 years ago!

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