John Toolan, Central News West’s news editor for the past 13 years, is leaving in September to set up his own production company.
Toolan, who lives in Herefordshire, will establish his own company later this year to deal with specialist news projects.
He originally joined the broadcaster in 1987, on a month’s contract, from the News on Sunday where he was a reporter. Prior to that, he was a sub-editor at Yorkshire Television.
During his time as news editor, Toolan oversaw some of the region’s biggest stories, including the end of the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, the Birmingham Six and Bridgewater Four cases, the Stephanie Slater kidnapping and the M40 minibus crash, that killed 12 children and their teacher.
“I was incredibly lucky to be involved with Central News during what was a real purple patch during the late Eighties to the mid Nineties,” Toolan said. “A team of very good people and exclusives helped us pick up a clutch of awards over the period.”
Amid race riots, gun crime and IRA bombing campaigns, his running order also found space for footballing horses and skateboarding owls.
Central News West editor Dan Barton described Toolan as a brilliant news editor with “?rst-class judgement”.
Toolan added: “Of course I’m sad to be leaving some good friends and excellent journalists but it’s time to move on. After running the newsdesk for 13 years, I now intend to work at my own pace.”
Toolan’s replacement will be Bernard Cole, the current deputy news editor. Cole was assistant editor of the Birmingham Sunday Mercury before joining Central News as forward
planning editor last year.
Adrian Tennant moves up to deputy news editor from No. 3 on the newsdesk.