Neil Fowler, the former editor of Which? and four regional daily newspapers, has been awarded the Guardian Research Fellowship and will spend 18 months at Nuffield College, Oxford University, studying the regional press.
Neil left the editorship of Which? after nearly three years in the chair last year. He joined the magazine, which champions consumer rights, in February 2006 and oversaw a major revamp of the title.
He was made editor of Northcliffe's Lincolnshire Echo in 1985 after working on the Leicester Mercury and the Derby Evening Telegraph. He went on to edit the Derby paper, then The Journal, Newcastle, and the Welsh national morning title, the Western Mail. He was CEO and publisher of the Toronto Sun in Canada before joining Which?
Neil said today: "I will be looking at how regional newspapers have changed since the Second World War. I'll be looking at whether there really was a 'golden age' for the regional press, the impact of new technology and how communities have changed."
He will look at the role played by the City as well, the success of the kind of small newspapers championed by Sir Ray Tindle and hopes to use some of the reserch techniques used by Which?
Neil's research will form the basis for a public lecture and may be published in a book. He takes up the Fellowship in October 2010.