An award-winning editor who led his newspaper to being one of the “best-selling” weeklies in the country has died aged 73.
John, pictured, ran the Bodmin-based Guardian, where he began his career in 1967, from 1989 to 1996 and then the Truro-based West Briton. He retired in 2004.
During his time at the West Briton, the paper won a number of awards including the Newspaper Society’s Weekly Newspaper of the Year award in 2001 and became Northcliffe’s biggest-selling weekly in England.
John, who died last Friday, also presided over a 10.6pc circulation increase at the paper.
Former journalist Matt Dixon told Cornwall Live: “John took me on as a junior reporter for the Cornish Guardian in the late 1990s and I couldn’t have wished for a better first editor.
“Unlike many newspaper chiefs of the day, John was always an unflappable influence in the newsroom, which had a reassuring, emboldening effect on me and many others.
“I followed him to the West Briton in 1998 and for the ensuing five years he presided over the paper’s biggest-ever circulation figures, peaking at around 55,000 a week.
“His easy management style and gentle nature provided the ideal foundation for a treasured time in my career, when the newsroom was chock full of great journalists, great characters and some occasionally great stories.
“He had a very dry sense of humour – often quipping with a knowing glint in his eye – and his passions for music, rugby and a pint were indicative of the county he loved so much.
“He was one of the last old-school editors and a fantastic figurehead for the Cornish Guardian and latterly the West Briton. Cornwall – and Bodmin – has lost a good ‘un.”
Cornwall Live local democracy reporter Lee Trewhela, who joined the West Briton under John’s editorship, added: I’m very sad to hear that John has left us for that great gig in the sky.
“As editor, he guided the West Briton with a level head, an easy charm and a strong news sense, which was demonstrated through the beloved Cornish weekly’s sales.
“The WB was among the best-selling newspapers in the land during his leadership.”