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Sports reporter leaves paper after almost five decades to join new rival

Dave ThomasA sports journalist has left a regional newspaper after almost five decades of service to join a new rival title.

Chief sportswriter Dave Thomas, pictured, has said farewell to the Torquay Herald Express, where he has worked for 47 years, to take up a new role wih the Torbay Weekly.

The new Archant-backed free weekly is set to be launched this spring and will be edited by Jim Parker, who was editor the Reach plc-owned Herald Express until 2018.

Reach has also announced its own expansion in the area, where it is launching a dedicated news site for Torbay.

Of his move, Dave said: “It’s obviously a wrench to leave the Herald Express after so long. I count myself lucky to have worked in a job which I have always loved, and I have tried to remember that it is the readers who really count.

“I was trained in an era when we were all driven by a determination to beat the competition and, I have to admit, that’s hard to shift.

“Unless you keep giving people something they didn’t know when they picked up the paper or switched on their screen, why should they stay with you?

“I hope to keep doing that with the new Torbay Weekly newspaper and our website. It is an exciting new venture which can only benefit the Bay and the readers.”

Dave was a member of the former Daily Mirror Training scheme with the old Torquay Times weekly, before working in Manchester and London.

He joined the Herald Express in Febuary 1973 and has covered almost every sport except Rugby for the paper, covering more than 2,200 Torquay United football matches in the process.

Jim said: “Dave is a sensational signing for the new Torbay Weekly. It was a pleasure to work with him at the Herald so to renew that relationship is fantastic.

“He has been known as ‘Mr Torquay United’ for so many years. What he doesn’t know about the club and professional football, especially in the lower leagues, isn’t worth knowing.

“He has a passion for United.”

8 comments

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  • February 19, 2020 at 9:56 am
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    Does this mean that the Torbay Express is going to be given the resources to cover Torquay United home and away – or is he just going to write a weekly column about the club? Such budgets don’t appear to have been provided elsewhere within Archant – to take just two examples, the Herts Advertiser doesn’t appear to cover Stevenage away now, while the East Anglian Daily Times stopped reporting Colchester United altogether (apart from big matches) despite still circulating in north Essex.

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  • February 19, 2020 at 10:12 am
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    With all due respect to Dave is it really “a coup and a half”?
    With two ‘veteran’ ex Reach staffers also involved maybe Archant are going the easy route while Reach are going for a more innovative and modern forward looking approach using fresh eyes ?
    I also hope Dave is allowed to continue covering his beloved TUFC ‘ in the wild’ and isn’t desk bound behind a screen as the quality and quantity of football coverage at other Archant centres appears to have dropped considerably and become less important, certainly in Norwich since their key football writer moved to The Athletic

    After 47 years with one company I wish Dave the best of luck

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  • February 19, 2020 at 10:43 am
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    a brave move to take on a new challenge. Good luck.

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  • February 19, 2020 at 12:38 pm
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    Not only do Archant push their way onto Reach territory by opening a rival weekly, they appear to be gathering up all the old veteran staffers from there too!
    Cheaper than just buying the paper outright I guess but it does make you wonder how this sits with their proclamation of providing a fresh new quality weekly for the area?

    A bold move by Dave after almost half a century but in reality he has nothing much to lose, I can only wish him well

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  • February 19, 2020 at 3:48 pm
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    Good luck to ‘Devon Dave.’
    I was once on an NCTJ subbing course with him and his pub chat passion for football was infectious.
    Dave I hope you reach new goals.
    Torbay or not Torbay…
    Peter Grant
    Arts Journalist and Broadcaster
    Liverpool

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  • February 19, 2020 at 4:26 pm
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    You can’t blame Reach for launching a new dedicated news website for the area after Archant jump in on their patch and launch their own weekly, however by taking previous Torbay Herald Express veterans on the paper could turn out to be little more than an Archant templated version of the old Reach Herald Express just with a new coat of old paint.

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  • February 23, 2020 at 12:31 pm
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    The Herts Advertiser does not cover Stevenage, One-time sub – you’re thinking of the Comet. But apart from the big cuts in Herts – which now has just two sports reporters and no staff photographers – there is a specific issue in that the sport reporter who covers Stevenage and all the other North Herts sport also covers Arsenal for the Islington Gazette. For obvious reasons he cannot be at every game he should be covering.

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