Sentinel's Dooley to retire after 40 years in journalism

By Sarah Lagan

Sean Dooley, the long-standing editorin- chief of Northcliffe’s
award-winning Sentinel and Sentinel Sunday, is to retire after 18 years
at the Stoke papers and a career in journalism spanning more than 40

Dooley’s final day at his desk will be 30 November. He will be replaced by Mike Sassi, editor of the Lincolnshire Echo.

2000 he launched the Sentinel Sunday as an upmarket broadsheet –
despite the fact that its daily sister was a downmarket tabloid. Many
in the industry predicted the paper was doomed from the outset, but
just a year later it was named Press Gazette’s daily/Sunday newspaper
of the year and picked up the same accolade in 2004. Judges described
the paper as: “bold and elegant… and totally connected with its

In 2001, the two newspapers dominated the Regional
Press Awards, picking up three awards, including reporter of the year
for Dave Blackhurst, who was described by the judges as “the scourge of
the NHS in his area”, and columnist of the year for Peter Bossley, who
died last month at the age of 42. To top it off, the papers walked away
with the daily/Sunday newspaper of the year award.

Dooley started
his career in journalism with the South Lancashire Agency before moving
to the Mercury Press Agency on Merseyside. He then worked on weekly and
daily newspapers in Liverpool and Manchester before editing a current
affairs magazine.

He joined Northcliffe as news editor of the
Lincolnshire Echo in 1963, before becoming deputy editor of the South
Wales Evening Post.

In 1982, Dooley joined the GloucesterEcho at Cheltenham and was appointed editor a year later.

left the paper in 1987 to edit the Staffordshire Evening Sentinel, now
the Sentinel, which he turned into a tabloid shortly after.

In a
memo to Northcliffe management, chief executive Michael Pelosi said he
was grateful for Dooley’s “enormous contribution” to Northcliffe
newspapers and wished him a long and happy retirement.

Sassi has
edited the Lincolnshire Echo since 1999. The newspaper recently made
the headlines after it claimed a victory in its long-running battle
with Lincolnshire County Council.

Thirty-six hours after the Echo
published a damning auditor’s report criticising the
Conservative-controlled council, council leader Ian Croft resigned,
along with nine members of his executive.

Sassi started out as a
trainee on the Derby Evening Telegraph in 1988 and by 1992 was deputy
news editor. He then joined the Express & Echo in Exeter as news
editor, before moving to the South Wales Echo as head of content in
1993, where he rose to assistant editor.

Sassi then returned to the Derby Evening Telegraph as deputy editor under his previous editor, Keith Perch.

The Lincolnshire Echo is the Newspaper Society’s Newspaper of the Year.

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