Free newspaper pioneer Colin Houghton has retired after 35 years in the industry. At the time of his retirement Houghton, 58, was managing director of Trinity Mirror Southern, part of Trinity Mirror’s regionals division.
But that last role, as head of 84 weekly paid-fors, frees and magazines from Dorset to Kent, was a far cry from his ?rst in advertising sales with Thomson Regional Newspapers. In a varied newspaper career, Peterborough-born Houghton worked in advertising, sales and marketing before moving to general management in 1982.
One of Houghton’s claims to fame was helping to launch one of the UK’s ?rst free newspapers in 1968. And while he was working for Westminster Press, one of his titles won the ?rst Newspaper Society Free Newspaper of the Year Award in 1985. Houghton, who leaves behind him 1,500 staff producing three and a half million newspapers a week, admits he will miss the smell of ink. “It will be strange not to be involved in running a newspaper and I shall particularly miss all the great people I have worked with over the years. “I have been fortunate to be part of the revolutionary years – the rise of free newspapers, the end of hot metal and the introduction of full page make-up. I’ve pretty well seen it all. “But there’s a time to move on and I have decided it’s the right moment to hand over the reins. “I wish my successor and all the team at Trinity Mirror Southern the best luck in the world.”
Gavin Steacy, former business development director of Trinity Mirror’s regionals division and former managing director of the Western Mail and Echo, takes over from Houghton.