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Editor steps down to join law firm after 39 years at newspaper

A single editor has taken responsibility for seven weeklies across two counties after a long-serving news chief landed a new role with a law firm.

Jim Parker has stepped down from day-to-day editing after 39 years at the Torquay Herald Express, the last six as editor.

Since last year, Jim also had editorial oversight of the Exeter Express & Echo, North Devon Journal and Mid Devon Gazette series.

Scott Harrison, who already edits Cornish weeklies The Cornishman, Cornish Guardian and the West Briton – will now add the four Devon titles to his portfolio.

Jim will now be taking on a new role as Reach plc’s associate editor for Devon, combining this with working as a business development manager for a local law firm.

His new responsibilitiees for Reach will focus on “external relationships and commercial/editorial campaigns and projects” as well as continuing to write a weekly column for the Herald Express.

From left: Jim Parker and Scott Harrison

Jim Parker, left, and Scott Harrison

Jim is also taking on a new role outside of the regional press industry, having been appointed business development manager for Devon law firm Wollen Michelmore.

He said:  “I never thought I would be taking on a new challenge at my ‘tender’ age.  But it is fantastic to be able to work with Wollen Michelmore and the likes of [chief executive] Chris Hart and [practice director] Clive Meredith, who I have got to know really well over the years, and still maintain a close working relationship with the papers, especially the Herald Express which is in my blood.”

Jim took on the Journal, Gazette and Express & Echo last year in a restructure which saw Patrick Phelvin, formerly editor in Exeter, focus solely on the company’s Devon Live website.

Patrick has recently left the business for a police PR role and has been replaced by Richard Booth.

Bill Martin, Reach plc’s editor-in-chief for Devon and Cornwall, said: “Jim has always been a fantastic advocate for our business and has years of experience and an inexhaustible list of contacts – particularly in South Devon.

“I’m delighted he is working closely with us as well as developing his portfolio with other business in the region.”


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  • June 27, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Reach smiles on job shares in the modern manner; no shame there. And it’s reassuring the company still boasts so many high-profile and well-remunerated roles in these straitened times; this report demanded Dickensian qualities from Mr Sharman, such is the cast list, and, as ever, David does not disappoint. All of this is also reassuring for the rude mechanicals actually generating the “product”; that the chiefs’ teepee is so rammed out with mega-talent must afford some consolation for all the other stuff.

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  • June 27, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Jim Parker, however, is a good bloke. Best of luck, James.

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  • June 27, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    echo: I am sure Jim Parker is a good bloke but we are not discussing personalities here, rather a corporate structure that seems mightily unbalanced by highly paid functionaries whose precise roles are unclear. If we delving into the personal then I know dozens of “good blokes” (and women) who have been made redundant by Reach to perpetuate its strata of bureaucracy all the way to the top.

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  • June 27, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Quite agree with you, Clem old fruit, as a rude (in fact crude) mechanical. More chiefs than Custer had to deal with and many do not have a precise role. In fact, it might be said that many do naff all that is useful.
    Just wanted to say best of luck to the man, though. You might not be discussing personalities – fair enough – but I am.

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  • June 27, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    A quick perusal down contacts on P2 of the esteemed Herald Express reads: “one editor, one associate editor, one print production editor, one print content editor and, my-oh-my, just the one reporter.
    (Can’t really count the LDR blunt – as funded by the TV licence fee)
    Must really echo in their office now #tumbleweeds

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  • June 29, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    It’s laughable to think anyone can edit seven titles, across two counties, and if Bill Martin thinks otherwise he’s living in cloud-cuckoo land. Would have made much more sense [financially and practically] to empower the print production editors rather than create more unnecessary tiers of ‘highly paid functionaries’.

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  • July 3, 2018 at 7:09 am

    Am I reading the same story as everyone else? Sounds to me like they’ve got rid of one and bloke and given all his jobs to another bloke who already has a bunch of papers of his own to edit. Sounds like the dreaded “streamlining” to me.

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