AddThis SmartLayers

‘Editor extraordinaire’ who ran dailies for 22 years dies aged 79

Sean Dooley bestAn “editor extraordinaire” who ran regional daily newspapers for more than two decades has died aged 79.

Tributes have been paid to Sean Dooley, left, who ran titles including the Gloucestershire Echo and Stoke-on-Trent daily The Sentinel during his career.

Sean, pictured, was also active in the world of journalism training and served as chair of the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ quality assurance and standards committee.

Sean, who had been suffering from cancer for a number of years, died on Sunday.

Speaking to HTFP, his son Piers said: “He fought cancer pretty well but he got an infection. He was very close to Mike Lowe who of course sadly died the week before.

“He loved his job. He was always excited when he came home. We knew the importance of what he did and the enjoyment he got from the cut and thrust of being a newspaper editor when he was doing it.”

Sean began his journalism career at the Mercury Press Agency on Merseyside and worked for weekly and daily papers in Liverpool and Manchester before editing a current affairs magazine.

He then served as news editor of the Lincolnshire Echo and deputy editor of the South Wales Evening Post, before taking up the editorship of the Gloucestershire Echo in 1983.

Sean moved to Stoke-on-Trent four years later and would go on to edit The Sentinel for 18 years until his retirement in 2005.

Former colleagues from his days in the former Northcliffe Group – now part of Reach plc – have paid tribute on Twitter.

Alan Geere, who edited the Essex Chronicle editor and was Northcliffe South East editorial director, described him as his “good friend and editor extraordinaire.”

Ex-Oxford Mail editor Simon O’Neill commented:  “Not another one. So soon after Lowie. They were great buddies. Sean was a fine editor and always good company.”

Former Derby Telegraph editor Neil Fowler wrote: “One of the many extraordinary editors that [Northcliffe Newspaper Group chairman] Ian Park appointed to the Northcliffe group in the 1980s and 1990s. Sean was a character who led from the front.”

And Spencer Feeney, who edited the South Wales Evening Post and Gloucester daily The Citizen, added: “Awful news. Had the privilege to be his assistant editor at The Sentinel. Taught me so much – especially what to do with irritating memos from the management.”

NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher added: “A long-serving and highly-respected editor, Sean inspired so many young regional newspaper reporters and supported them in their careers.

“He went on to do a brilliant job overseeing the transparency and fairness of NCTJ qualifications. Sean was forensic and fair – always on top of the detail which kept us on our toes.

“He was a legend in our industry and very special to the NCTJ and to me personally. My last memory of Sean is him smiling at me across the room at the House of Lords where we were celebrating the NCTJ’s 70th anniversary. I described him as ‘our steadfast king of quality and standards’.

“Heartfelt condolences from all of us at the NCTJ to Judith and his children, and all his family, friends and former colleagues.”

Sean is survived by his wife Judith and children Piers, Rebecca and Adam.

There will be a private funeral and his family have asked for donations in his memory to be made to the charity of donors’ choices.

Sean, right, pictured with his great friend and fellow former editor Alan Geere

Sean, right, pictured with his great friend and fellow former editor Alan Geere