CBE for first president of Society of Editors

Two leading newspaper executives were rewarded with knighthoods in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and founding president of the Society of Editors, Geoff Elliot, received a CBE.

Former editor of the Kent Messenger, Coventry Evening Telegraph and The News, Portsmouth, Elliot said he was “staggered” when he was told he was to receive the honour.

He said: “It was a marvellous way of ending my career. I also regard it as an award for all the great journalists I’ve worked with over the years.”

Elliott retired last year to Shute in Devon after three years as head of journalism at the University of Central Lancashire. He is believed to be the only journalist to have served on the Press Council, the Press Complaints Commission and the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

Guardian Media Group chief executive Bob Phillis, who last year chaired a report on reforming government communications, was knighted for services to the media industry. Phillis was previously deputy director-general of the BBC and chief executive of ITN.

Also knighted was Financial Times Group chairman David Bell, for services to business, the arts and charity in London. Bell’s other activities include being chairman of the International Youth Federation, a civil service commissioner and a member of the development board of the Royal National Theatre.

Former chairman of Cambridge Newspapers, Ian Richard, who retired last year after 16 years in charge of the Cambridge News, received the OBE for services to the newspaper industry.

Several regional newspaper journalists were made MBEs. Among them was Keith Newbery, executive editor of the Johnston Press-owned Observer newspaper group in West Sussex.

Newbery began his career on the Isle of Wight Times and is the author of Hacking It, described as “Tales of a very provincial newspaper journalist”.

Roy Smyth, a long-serving photographer at the Belfast Telegraph was awarded an MBE for services to journalism.

Dorset Echo Portland correspondent Hilda Swinney and Yorkshire Evening Post columnist John Thorpe received MBEs for services to journalism.

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