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News editor bows out after decade in local newspapers

OliA regional news editor is leaving the local newspaper industry after almost 10 years.

Oli Poole, currently editor of the West Sussex Gazette, will take on a new role as editor of Fantasy Football Hub.

Oli, pictured, began his journalism career at The Worthing Herald as a freelancer before moving on to a permanent role in 2013.

He then was promoted to chief reporter and joined the Johnston Press Investigations Unit around March 2017. In March last year he was made editor of the West Sussex Gazette.

Oli rates the 2015 Shoreham air disaster, which saw 11 people killed after a place crashed onto a main road, as the most “difficult moment” of his time in local news.

He told HTFP: “It was a devastating time for the community and is still hard to process but I couldn’t be prouder of the team’s sensitive coverage. I interviewed David Cameron, who thanked volunteers and emergency services for their incredible efforts.

“Editing the historic West Sussex Gazette has been an honour. It no longer sells on the grand scale it once did but we’ve held our own. Thanks to support from our small newspaper sales team and editor-in-chief Gary Shipton, the WSG was National World’s eight-best performing weekly title last year in terms of year-on-year sales.

“So far this year, I think I’m right in saying it remains one of the strongest judged on this metric. I like to think our campaigning journalism – particularly against unsustainable housing numbers – has helped in this regard.

“I am moving on because I felt that after 10 years, I needed a new challenge. I have the unique opportunity to work in fantasy football – something which has been a massive hobby of mine for many years.

“I am very excited to get started with the talented team at Fantasy Football Hub, although I will miss working with my newspaper colleagues.”

He added: “I had an excellent, varied grounding in a whole range of news stories as a trainee and I must thank then editor Colin Channon and content editors Sam Woodman and Katherine Hollisey-McLean for their guidance during that time.

“Nicola Caines – who spent countless hours preparing me for my NQJ – and trainers John Wilson and David Rowell were huge influences who played a large part in me being named Johnston Press Trainee of the Year.

“I cannot let the opportunity pass to thank them and also Kelly Brown, who took me under her wing when I joined the communities team, editor-in-chief Gary Shipton and all of my wonderful fellow colleagues for the various parts they’ve played along the way.

“I most enjoyed my time reporting on local politics and working with the Investigations Unit. I quickly twigged that councils were at the heart of so many local stories, so I made as many contacts as possible by turning up early to council meetings and chatting to councillors – and the occasional pub trip afterwards was always a worthwhile exercise.”