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Ex-Telford Journal editor and Midland News Association training manager dies aged 79

Former regional newspaper editor Brian Mason, who trained generations of journalists, has died while on holiday in the Ukraine.

The 79-year-old from Wellington is thought to have had a heart attack while on a break with wife Beryl. A celebration of his life will be held on a date to be announced.

Mason was the first editor of the Telford Journal, the newspaper created in 1973 to serve the expanding new town.

In 1981 he was made editorial training manager for the Midland News Association, training journalists for all its publications – the Express and Star, Shropshire Star, and numerous weekly papers.

He also oversaw the move to emerging new technology, and served on the board of directors of the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

His daughter Caitlin Bisknell said: “He had an enormous impact on many young journalists, many of his trainees went on to work for national newspapers and media organisations.

“As editor of Telford New Town’s only newspaper he played a crucial role in the early days of the developing new town.”

Mason started his journalistic career in 1958 as a trainee reporter on the Bexleyheath and Welling Times before moving to the East Grinstead Observer.

In 1964 he moved to Shropshire as chief reporter on the Wellington Journal & Shrewsbury News, where the reporters’ office was a caravan in the car park. He later became news editor of the Shropshire Journal.

As the MNA’s editorial training manager Mason ran the company’s successful in-house journalism training scheme, tutored on NCTJ subbing courses and ran the Birmingham examinations centre for ten years.

He also served on the Newspaper Society Training Committee, helping to rewrite the standards for the National Vocational Qualification in journalism which was run by the Newspaper Society before it merged with the NCTJ.

He was also father of the National Union of Journalists’ Shropshire chapel for a number of years.

He retired in 2000 after 42 years in journalism.

Brian is survived by Beryl, children Caitlin, Claire, Iain and Gavin, eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Picture: Caitlin Bisknell

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