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Daily editor announces departure via Twitter after 31-year career

An experienced regional daily editor has announced via Twitter that he is leaving the position after six years.

Mike Sassi, editor of the Nottingham Post since 2013, says it’s ‘time to exit stage left’ after a 31-year career in the regional press.

After starting out as a trainee on the Derby Telegraph in 1988, Mike rose rapidly through the ranks of the old Northcliffe group to edit first the Lincolnshire Echo and then Stoke daily The Sentinel before moving to Nottingham.

He announced his departure today in a post on Twitter, below.



In it Mike thanked his colleagues for their support saying: “The last six years have been cracking. But the time is right for me to exit stage left.”

He will be replaced by Natalie Fahy, currently the digital editor of the Post’s companion website Nottinghamshire Live.

Marc Reeves, Midlands editor-in-chief of Post publisher Reach plc said: “Mike and I are contemporaries but we’d never worked together until Trinity Mirror merged with Local World.

“I have seen first hand why Mike is regarded as something of a legend in the trade: incredibly passionate, exuding boundless energy, fiercely proud of his team and the journalism they create; a real role model of an editor.  He will be very much missed and I wish him the very best.”

Mike, who will leave the Post at the end of the month, spent four years at Derby under the editorship of Neil Fowler and Mike Lowe before leaving to become news editor at the Express & Echo in Exeter.

He moved on to be news editor and then assistant editor at the South Wales Echo in Cardiff in 1993, before returning to Derby as deputy editor in 1997.

He took up his first editorship at Lincoln in 1999 before succeeding Sean Dooley at the Sentinel in 2007.

Some of Mike’s former colleagues have already begin paying tribute to him via Twitter.

Mike Lowe commented:  “The loss of another excellent (Derby-trained!) editor. Nottingham and regional newspapers will be poorer without you, mate.”

Current Sentinel editor Martin Tideswell, who worked under Mike in Stoke, added: “Thank you…for championing Stoke-on-Trent and for keeping it real in an ever-changing journalistic landscape.”

Natalie started her career on weekly newspapers in the West Midlands and London, before moving to the specialist Royal Courts of Justice agency Strand News and freelancing at several national newspapers.

She worked at German daily newspaper Bild, then on the digital desk at Sky News, and took up her current role in Nottingham seven years ago.

Said Natalie: “I am excited to head-up the hugely-talented team here in Nottingham.

“We’ve gone from strength to strength this year and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.”


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  • December 16, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    When yet another top quality editor decides its time to depart,that pretty much sums up the view of the future for quality staff at the large regional publishers.
    It’s no longer a place for top journalists with talent and ambition and there’s little future to look forward to other than more of the same old same old while the ship sinks further beneath the waves losing paper buyers and chasing a digital audience who look but don’t buy.

    A digital news future in a cyber news room with what few staff remain working in splendid isolation churning out ‘news by numbers’ using text speak and attention grabbing click bait headlines is a nightmare vision for staff trained and experienced in one to one, face to face interaction so Mikes decision to move on is a logical and sensible one.

    One thought, when all the best staff are going or already gone, what’s left?

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  • December 16, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    A great shame for Nottingham, which will lose an energetic and enthusiastic editor.

    However, with circulation down from 100,000+ to 13,000, he’ll no doubt find success easier to come by in his new career.

    Interesting his colleagues (present and past) are all thanking him via Twitter – has he already cleared his desk?

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  • December 16, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Mike was one of the old school, rarely seen in the office, he was most probably out and about keeping his nose to the grindstone ensuring no newsworthy story on his considerable patch was left untold. The Post has undoubtedly lost a very loud community voice and we wish him every future success.

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  • December 16, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Phillip. I’m guessing you have been out of the industry some time, and that’s fair enough You coment a lot with a great deal of negativity, which is of your your right. It doesn’t mean you are right though. The over generalisation about the online news industry is so far of the mark it is scary. Yes, there is plenty of populist content, clickbait as you would call it. There is also some very fine news gathering, live-reporting, features and investigations taking place. You just choose not to see any of that as it doesn’t meet the agenda. The same with people discussing the circulation decline. That was a natural result of the world in which we live in changing. What happened is that there is a now a HUGE audience online, and guess what? They like all types of content from the latest Gregg’s sausage roll story to the most-in-depth exposes on what is going on in the education sector.

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  • December 16, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    @Perspective – care to back up your claims with some examples? I give up trying to navigate the web pages of local news websites as it’s like trying to wade through a jungle dipped in honey let alone finding any stories of substance or any great detail and length. Add to that the fact that some stories just are not covered anymore – council affairs for one.

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  • December 16, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    What Phillip, Anton and Beancounter said

    That’s the second announcement on HTFP today of two senior and well respected editors leaving the industry ,that says a lot

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  • December 17, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    I wouldn’t want to be anyone working in the regional press earning over £20k, as they all are targets these days. No doubt the editor will be replaced by an overworked, under qualified ‘content shuffler’.

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  • December 17, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    I can fully relate to @Phillip but wished I worked in the world where @Perspective works!

    In my neck of the woods the term ‘content shuffler’ is spot on @Dave S.
    The traditional editors role is now done by the Head of Content resulting in ‘The Editor’ becoming little more than a supervisor.

    In a modern digital newsroom where UGC is used more and more,where PR submissions are simply top and tailed and the publics own social media posts are used for story leads the role of a traditional news editor has all but become defunct and as more of the most experienced and respected ones depart so will the quality of the end product

    The latest Greggs sausage roll anyone?

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  • December 17, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    On another note, I like the handwritten message to colleagues and readers.
    It’s a thoughtful and classy personal touch.

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  • December 17, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    So much experience is being lost from the newsroom and it is not being replaced by lifting stories from twitter or Facebook.

    You don’t have to an experienced journalist to know that headlines shouldn’t say this is “exactly” when it is going to snow (usually from an inaccurate weather report) or that this is an “honest” review, But it probably helps.

    Yes, there are still some decent journalists out there. But the collective memory of good practice is being lost.

    The fact that Reach continues to make money is at the cost of its longer term viability. You can only close an office once… you can only get rid of the experienced journalists once.

    What replaces them are barely trained individuals working in isolation. It’s obvious from how few “journalists” know how to make long term contacts. Or understand the importance of follow ups, in many cases they don’t get an angle, short of the blindingly obvious ones.

    So when you say digital is the future, I agree. But the future is with the small hyperlocals, who do it because they can make money in doing what they love.

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  • December 18, 2019 at 9:53 am

    “…chasing a digital audience who look but don’t buy”
    Is it any wonder so many of the most well respected and experienced staff are leaving, or looking to get out on their own terms, when this is the reality of life in understaffed and over pressurised newsrooms where clicks are more important than quality journalism?

    @Phillip has summed up exactly where those responsible for digital revenues are with no idea where to turn next (apart from thinly disguised Google funded launches into other publishers territories) with none having developed a business model to achieve sustainable revenues from on line digital news after more than two decades of trying.

    With newspaper buying markets gone they offload the most experienced and talented editorial and commercial staff in favour of less experienced and usually over promoted replacements to deliver content they hope the public will buy,scary when you think their other revenue streams have collapsed and digital is the sole direction they’re taking and on which they’re relying on to fund the business in the future, some future.

    Good wishes to Mike who I’m sure any independent local news publisher would welcome with open arms.

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