Ex-regional editor criticises Daily Mail judgement

A former regional newspaper editor has criticised the Daily Mail’s ‘appalling judgement and lack of taste”.

Keith Newbery – former editor of the Chichester Observer, and executive editor of the Observer group – said in an opinion piece, syndicated across regionals in southern England, that the Mail got it ‘badly wrong’in running a picture story on Richard O’Sullivan, the former actor.

O’Sullivan, who starred in Man About The House, was pictured walking near his West London home.

The story, headlined ‘Old Man About The House”, said: ‘With his flowing hair and understated grin, he won a legion of female fans.

‘But the years have made their mark on Richard O’Sullivan. Today he is almost unrecognisable.”

But Newbery, awarded the MBE for services to journalism in 2004 and four-times sports writer of the year at the Press Gazette Regional Press Awards, wrote: ‘I’ve been in this game for well over 40 years, yet there are still occasions when newspapers can surprise me with their appalling judgement and lack of taste.

‘He looked desolate, infirm and anxious…unfortunately, he once happened to be famous and that’s all the excuse the Mail needed to highlight the wretched circumstances in which he now finds himself.

‘I bow to no-one in my admiration for Mail boss Paul Dacre, but this time his newsroom got it badly wrong.”

The story was also criticised on the Mail’s online comments. ‘Leave him be”, ‘for God’s sake”, and ‘very cruel’were among the responses.

Newbery retired from the Observer group in 2006. He started his career on the now-defunct Isle of Wight Times in Ryde, his hometown.

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