Brian Vertigen, one of the longest- serving editors in the regional press, is to retire from the Burton Mail in September after 17 years.
A rarity in these days of regional newspaper takeovers, Vertigen has worked for papers owned by one family, the Iliffes, throughout his career.
"By the end of September I will have spent 40 years with the Iliffe family, that’s why I decided it would be a good time to leave," said Vertigen, who will be 58 when he retires.
Vertigen began his career on the Solihull News before moving on to the Coventry Evening Telegraph, the Birmingham Post and the Birmingham Evening Mail, where he was head of news under Keith Whetstone’s editorship. During his time in Birmingham, Vertigen was named Midland Journalist of the Year for an expose on a local MP and also found and campaigned for the site eventually chosen for the National Exhibition Centre.
When the Iliffe’s bought the Burton Mail he moved to the paper in a commercial role but within months was offered the editorship.
One of his biggest dilemmas as editor was being tipped off that Toyota was to open a plant in the Burton area, only to be warned by the local council that the publicity-shy car maker would pull out if the Mail ran the story.
Vertigen said: "If we had broken the story and Toyota changed its mind we would have been blamed. I had to sit on the story for some months and it went against the grain."
Vertigen wants to stay involved in journalism and is a member of the Midland Motoring Group of Writers.
He leaves a group in good shape.
"All the paid-for titles have shown an increase in the past six months’ figures which I am chuffed about. It is thanks to all the staff. It is a small team but it works well," he said.
by Jon Slattery