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Daily editorships set to merge as news chief moves to semi-retirement

Two regional dailies are to come under the same editorship after it was announced a current editor is set to move to semi-retirement.

Southern Daily Echo editor Gordon Sutter will add the Bournemouth Echo to his portfolio after it was revealed Andy Martin, who edits the latter Newsquest title, will step down after four years in charge.

Andy, 59, has been with the Echo for 31 years and served as its news editor from 1997 before taking the top job in 2015 when predecessor Toby Granville became the group’s editorial director.

He will take on a new role as associate editor and community ambassador for the newspaper after leaving his current role.

From left: Gordon Sutter, Vincent Boni and Andy Martin

From left: Gordon Sutter, Vincent Boni and Andy Martin

Said Andy: “The Echo has been my life and my passion for more than three decades. I feel very privileged to have had a wonderful career here and to work with many amazing, talented and dedicated people, not least my current, brilliant newsroom team.

“I am of course absolutely delighted to be able to continue my association with the Echo in a new and important way.

“I am also delighted at Gordon’s appointment. We have worked closely together since the early 90s and have been friends throughout that period.

“He is an exceptional journalist and I know the Bournemouth Echo and all our titles will be in very safe hands.”

Vincent Boni, managing director for Newsquest Hampshire and Dorset, said: “I should like to pay tribute to Andy as an exceptional journalist and editorial manager.

“Andy will remain close to the Bournemouth business and will take up a new role as an associate editor and community ambassador in a move towards semi retirement.

“This change takes immediate effect although Andy and Gordon will be working together during a transition period. I congratulate Gordon on his wider responsibilities.”

Gordon, 51, joined Newsquest 30 years ago and has worked in both the Bournemouth and Southampton newsrooms over that time. He has been editor of the Southern Daily Echo for two years.

Gordon said: “Andy will be a hard act to follow but I am really looking forward to joining the team in Bournemouth.”

8 comments

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  • March 28, 2019 at 2:23 pm
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    That always works well. One editor running two newspapers. Or more. Good luck with that one.

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  • March 28, 2019 at 5:12 pm
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    It partly depends on what the Editor’s duties are. Early in my career I remember an editor complaining that he had to pay the window cleaner. I edit more than one title and this works fine, but if you are editing two dailies you do need a good team – even editors have holidays or days off sick or are busy with interviews or training or seminars or briefings or watching the cricket or similar.

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  • March 29, 2019 at 8:36 am
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    On paper it sounds challenging but today’s
    editors don’t have the authority,clout or influence their predecessors had.
    Back in the day it would have been unthinkable for a proper old school editor to edit and be responsible for two titles, each with their own staff, unique hyper local content,and high profile visible presence in their communities, times have changed,now it is quite feasible for one person to ‘edit’ multi titles.

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  • March 29, 2019 at 10:06 am
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    I have to say if my slipshod and under-staffed local paper, “edited” by a group editor covering several papers, is anything to go by, quality and circulation suffers. But good luck all the same.

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  • March 29, 2019 at 1:20 pm
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    Well, yes, it can be done. And I should know! I was editor of both the Bournemouth Echo and the Southern Daily Echo for more than a year in the mid-1990s. But that was in order to sort out some fundamental problems and oversee major changes. Even so, it was an absolute killer. To do the job properly you need to have a high profile in both communities and a finger on the pulse of every problem as and when it arises.The hours are horrendous; the mileage daunting(I was a founder member of the Friends of the A31!). But there was one slight difference in the 90s. The two papers were selling around 100,000 copies a day between them and were well-staffed. Now, perhaps, it needs only one undertaker to take charge of the funeral. Or am I just getting old and cynical?

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  • March 29, 2019 at 1:51 pm
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    A situation where you need a strong number of senior staff working with you to really make it workable. Sadly, with this being Newsquest I suspect there won’t be many and Gordon will be expected to work every hour he can on both titles. Hope I’m wrong, but there’s unfortunately been too many tales of woe elsewhere.

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  • March 29, 2019 at 2:24 pm
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    @Phillip and Mike Woods make valid points

    It would have been impossible and impractical for one real editor to run two papers when sales were at their height, the teams were fully staffed, adequate cover and support was there and the editor ( and most of the team) were well known names/faces in the towns and were very much part of the community, they were well respected,had all the contacts, knew all the key people and the big noises in business and on the council and truly ‘hands on ‘edited the huge volume of unique local copy the papers had back then.
    Wind the clock on to today and hardly anyone buys a paper anymore, staffing is cut to the bone, content is becoming more and more public supplied,generic or shared and any news is out of date and very likely already appeared on social media long before its made it in print, so the role of editor has all but become obsolete, as such the true position of ‘overseer’ of more than one paper, whilst not ideal,,is certainly do/able.

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