I was saddened and a little shocked to be told today that my old Northern Echo colleague Robin Crowther has died. When I shipped up as a trainee sub on the Echo in the late 70s, Robin was one of the senior hands who took me under his wing. He helped teach me the craft and he had a real flair for headlines. More than that though, he was an inspiration who made the night-shift fun. He would often join the younger subs for a drink in the Red Lion at break or the Flamingo after the shift and entertain us with his seemingly endless list of stories. He had just returned from South Africa where he had worked for 11 years as a reporter and editor - and his experiences provided a rich vein of anecdotes. Apart from helping my subbing skills, Robin also improved me massively as a squash player. He was an excellent player. When we finished our shifts at the Echo at 12.30am we would often take a hold-all full of beer up to the squash club (where he had a key) and play games with other colleagues, including sports editor Jeff Todhunter, until 4am. He was much older and less fit than me but I never beat him. Nobody dominated the T quite like Robin. We would then sit around in the changing rooms drinking beer as Robin held court, before heading home as the sun was coming up. He left the Echo in the early 80s to become a journalism lecturer at Darlington College where he trained, inspired and entertained thousands of young journalists, including the Echo's editor Peter Barron. Robin died this week, two months after the death of his wife Barbara. RIP old chap ... it was a privilege.
Sands Media Services is a training and design consultancy run by Peter and Pam Sands. Peter is consultant trainer on the Daily Mail graduate programme in London, New York and Sydney. He is a former editor of The Northern Echo, non-executive director of Northcliffe Media, director at PA Training and from 2006-2011 was chairman of the judges in the Regional Press Awards. He has redesigned 90 newspapers and magazines and is in demand as a trainer, speaker and editorial consultant. Pam is a former director of the Editorial Centre and Press Association Training. Our partners include Press Association Training, ffresh, the visual communications company run by Mike Brough, Alan Geere, Brian Page and other senior journalists and designers.
You can contact us on: 0044 7977 186408;
We have redesigned around 90 newspaper and magazine titles. If you need a new look for your newspaper or magazine or a freshening of your style, do not hesitate to contact us.
SMS's team of designers, artists and journalists produce pages and supplements for newspapers and magazines. We can look after everything from the articles, photographs, design and proof-reading - delivering professional camera-ready pages on to your system.
Peter Sands has organised, run and chaired conferences for many major media groups including Johnston Press, Archant and Northcliffe.
Peter has assisted media groups and newspaper titles in changing their structure, market position and in drawing up their business strategy. He was editorial director of Northcliffe newspapers from 2011 to 2013, helping the group get in shape ready for its sale. Peter has also assisted in change projects at newspapers including the Irish Independent, the Belfast Telegraph, the Inverness Courier, the Irish News, Allied Newspapers (Malta), the Guernsey Press, North Wales Weekly Newspapers, the Irish Examiner, the Evening Echo (Cork), Archant and many others.
Peter writes regular columns for InPublishing magazine and is a regular contributor to national newspaper sports pages. His specialist subjects include the media, management, training, football, Newcastle United FC, travel, the Languedoc area of France and human interest articles.