An occasional look at what colleagues, clients and former trainees are up to
(if you have any news, moved jobs, published a book, made a movie, won an award or just want to let people know where you are, contact me on

The Evening Despatch pictures and article have now moved to here

Dee time at the Kent Messenger
Well done to former Hastings trainee Denise (Dee) Eaton, who has been appointed as the first female editor of the Kent Messenger in its 152-year history. 

Jerry retires, Paul takes over in Channel Islands
Jerry Ramsden - 14 years at helm

Best wishes to Jerry Ramsden, MD of the Jersey Evening Post and Guernsey Press, who is to retire in April. I recall Jerry, a former Northcliffe MD, taking over the role at the JEP 14 years ago. Since then he has overseen many changes - including the takeover of the Guernsey paper. I have worked closely with him and his editors, helping them to relaunch the Press as a compact back in 1999 and assisting in a further redesign in 2006. We have also run its training diploma and recently helped the Press to restructure its newsroom. Jerry has guided the group through difficult times and the penetration and sales performance is still the envy of every other UK title. More than that, I visit a lot of offices where the atmosphere is flat and, I'm afraid, sometimes depressing. That has never been the case in Jersey or Guernsey - both vibrant newsrooms full of committed and hospitable people. Jerry will be succeeded by another safe pair of hands, Paul Carter. Paul has held many jobs in the regional Press starting as a tea-boy at the Lancashire Evening Post and rising to ad director at the Birmingham Post and Mail. In 2000 he became MD at the Guernsey Press before taking a group role. I first came across him when he was ad manager at The Northern Echo and ended up buying my old house in Teesdale as I left to head south. Small world. Good luck to both of them.

Matt finds place in the Sun
Congratulations to another of our former trainees on the move. Matt Nixson, who started on the Hendon Times and has held assorted titles on the News of the World, has a new job as head of features at The Sun.

Metro man Chris back in blighty

Former WP colleague, Oxford Mail editor  and deputy editor of the Western Daily Press, Chris Cowley, has moved from his role as editor of Metro (Ireland) back to Kensington as assistant editor of Metro UK

Sharon's first book published

Former Hastings trainee Sharon Hendry, once of the Bucks Free Press and now a feature writer with The Sun, has had her first book published. Radhika's story is a real life  tale of human trafficking. It follows closely the story of Radhika who, as a 16-year old was drugged and had a kidney removed. She was forced to have sex with 25 men a day but escaped, tracked down her son and finally saw her traffickers jailed in June last year (2010). A film of the book is under consideration. The book is available from Amazon. 

Mike racks up 45 Echo years
Congratulations to Mike Amos who has notched up 45 years on The Northern Echo. When I joined the paper 31 years ago, he was news-editor having already been the paper's John North diary columnist. Since then he has been set loose as a prolific off-diary columnist and reporter. He doesn't drive, goes everywhere by bus, train and foot and meets thousands of ordinary people. He is never in the office, indeed it is rare for anyone to know where he is, but he files six columns a week. He writes brilliantly, pulls in cracking grassroots stories and isn't afraid to rock the boat. His editor, Peter Barron, reckons he is the best off-diary journalist he has ever come across. Mike has won the North-East journalist of the year award seven times and was given a lifetime achievement award in 2005. Oh, and he also has the MBE. He is the essence of what local reporting should be about - yet how many other regional papers have anyone allowed the same role? Well done Mike and well done the Echo for giving him free rein for so long. 

Sarah wins medical journalist award
Congratulations to former Editorial Centre trainee Sarah Brealey who has has been presented with the Medical Journalists' Association's regional print journalist of the year award. Sarah, a reporter on the Eastern Daily Press, won the award for a feature about hospital food and a front-page story about NHS plans to put seriously-ill people into care against their will. The awards are held each year by the MJA to celebrate excellence in medical journalism.

Lorna bows out as PA Training administrator
Lorna Chaproniere, course administrator at Press Association Training, is leaving after ten years. Great knowledge of the industry and the way the business works. We will miss her.

Asha retraining as natural history broadcaster
Asha Tanna, trainee at Hastings in 1998 when she was a Watford Observer reporter, has been back in touch. Asha has carved out a succesful career as a broadcaster and is freelancing for BBC News and in the process of re-training to become a primatologist, aiming to work in broadcast natural history. She has just returned from Africa where she went on a solo, self-funded trip to Uganda, to film the work that some conservationists are doing with Chimpanzees. BBC Earth News is showing her report. Asha says: "The editor even ran my copy. It's the first time I have filed written work in more than a decade. Glad to see I can still do it." Take a look at Asha's website here.
New top team at Irish Examiner
Mairead Maher and Tom Murphy. Photos: Irish Examiner
Many congratulations to Mairead Maher who has been appointed interim chief executive of the Irish Examiner. Mairead was head of marketing at the paper, and worked with us closely on the Examiner's repositioning and rebranding. She succeeds Tom Murphy who was appointed interim chief executive of the parent company, Thomas Crosbie Holdings, following the retirement of Anthony Dignan. It is a tough time for Irish newspapers these days, but these two are experienced newspaper professionals with a real commitment to the quality of the publications. Good luck to them both.