Newsquest editor post in jeopardy

By Sarah Lagan

The editor of the
100-year-old Richmond and Twickenham Times is going through a
consultation period while owner Newsquest decides on whether his post
will be made redundant.

Paul Mortimer, a journalist for 30 years, has been replaced by
Newsquest South West London managing editor Jo Gumb while he awaits his
fate.

It is understood that management told staff that sales
weren’t doing well enough. The Times’s latest ABC figure was 15,675,
compared with 16,841 at the end of 2002.

If Mortimer is not replaced it will be the first time in the paper’s long history it has been without an editor.

One insider said: “Paul is excellent at his job and extremely well respected within the community and newspaper.

We
are all devastated. I don’t know what it suggests to the community of
the company’s attitude to us. It is also creating a lot of anxiety – it
raises questions of who will be going next.

Whoever they’re going
to put in his place you can’t beat having someone who’s been in the
industry for 30 years and the experience that provides.”

Letters opposing the move have been posted on the website, www.hamptononline.

co.uk,
including one from prominent Liberal Democrat MP Vincent Cable. He has
written to Gumb asking for a meeting over the matter.

Newsquest
would not comment about the ongoing process, but Gumb did write a
response to readers’ letters on the web assuring them of the future of
the paper and informing them of plans to relocate Richmond journalists
to new offices, preferably in the town centre. Some staff believe the
long-term plan is to move the newspaper to offices in outlying Morden
and keep just a small office in Richmond.

Mortimer started his
career at the age of 18 on the Staffordshire Advertiser and moved on to
the Express & Star in Wolverhampton and then the Birmingham Evening
Mail. He has also edited the Tamworth Trader. He joined the Times from
the Yattendon weekly Staffordshire Newsletter where he had been since
1996.

Newsquest bought the group of southwest London titles from Dimbleby & Sons for £8m in 2001.

Then
chairman David Dimbleby said: “The sale to Newsquest is the best way of
protecting the long-term future of the company. The market for
newspaper advertising, particularly for paid-for newspapers, is
becoming increasingly competitive.”

Comments
No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eighteen + nine =

CLOSE
CLOSE