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Former editor leaves newspaper after 44-year regional press career

Jim Parker 1A former editor is set to end his 44-year regional press career – 40 of which were spent at the same newspaper.

Reach plc has announced Jim Parker, pictured, will leave his role as associate editor of the Torquay Herald Express and its sister weeklies in Devon.

Jim edited the Herald Express for nine years, when he stepped down from day-to-day editing to take up his present position last summer.

He had also had editorial oversight of the Exeter Express & Echo, North Devon Journal and Mid Devon Gazette series from 2017 until last year, when the portfolio was passed to Reach Cornish weeklies editor Scott Harrison.

Said Jim: “The newspaper industry has certainly moved on from my early days of hot metal and street sellers to ever-changing technology, websites and algorithms.

“But for me the most important aspect of being an editor and journalist is about relationships – creating a trust and partnership with your readers and customers and being at the heart of their and your community. You cannot sell newspapers or grow audience without that.

“It has truly been an honour and privilege to get to know and work with some really amazing people and organisations, including those extra special people at the extra special Herald Express which is in my blood.

“I am not yet ready to retire to the other side of the cricket boundary. Watch this space.”

Jim was a former Daily Mirror trainee whose first newspaper was the now-defunct Torquay Times.

He joined the Herald Express as a reporter in 1979, and rose through the ranks to become news editor.

Jim was appointed deputy editor in 2006, and then editor in 2009, overseeing the paper’s transition from daily to weekly publication in 2011.

In his most recent role as associate editor, he had focused on “external relationships and commercial/editorial campaigns and projects” as well as continuing to write a weekly column for the Herald Express.

Reach Devon and Cornwall editor in chief Bill Martin said: “Jim has had the sort of career that the regional press is not likely to see again. He was a talented reporter but really excelled when he became one of the great evening newspaper news editors.

“He has always been a proper news man, with a great eye for a story, impeccable contacts, and real empathy for his readers and their families.

“His work has been renowned for its excellence and its fairness, and his passion for Torbay and South Devon has always shone through.

“His leadership, counsel and friendship will be missed.”

Jim is set to leave his role at the end of March.

4 comments

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  • March 22, 2019 at 2:53 pm
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    A fantastic achievement. Two things stand out for me in this story.
    Firstly in Jim’s own words ‘for me the most important aspect of being an editor and journalist is about relationships – creating a trust and partnership with your readers and customers and being at the heart of their and your community’ Sadly these qualities/sentiments no longer seem to resonate in some media circles.
    Secondly, Bill couldn’t be more true in saying ‘Jim has had the sort of career that the regional press is not likely to see again.’
    An example of a bygone age.

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  • March 22, 2019 at 3:47 pm
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    Young journos simply won’t have this sort of career. They might not even want it, but they certainly won’t get it because the industry is changing so quickly.

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  • March 25, 2019 at 11:48 am
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    Massive good luck to Jim. If everyone he’s worked with during his 44-year career contributes just £1 to his leaving collection he’ll be able to buy the super yacht of his dreams! On a serious note, people don’t forge such a long career if they’re not well liked and love the community in which they serve. All the best to Jim and his family on the next chapter

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  • March 27, 2019 at 5:34 pm
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    Absolutely no disrespect intended but please tell me his nickname is ‘Nosy’ – which is what all journalists should be.

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