Wednesday 10 December 2008

Is it me, or are editors getting smaller?

The faded starlet Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard famously remarks when someone comments that she used to be "big" in the movies: "I am big! It's the pictures that got small!"
I remember regional editors who were big personalities like Barrie Williams, Geoff Elliott, Mike Lowe, Ian Dowell and Sean Dooley and who would fight tooth and nail for their newspapers. But in the last few years they have left, or been forced out of the industry ahead of the current meltdown. How convenient for the latest crop of newspaper managers.
I wouldn't like to have been the manager deputed to tell any of them that they were being made redundant and would have to reapply for their jobs, that their staff were being decimated or that their paper was going to be printed the night before.
In fact I would have carefully checked that my company BUPA health scheme was fully paid-up before I dared to step into their office.
A correspondent writes: "I'd add the great Anita Syvret to that list. Since she retired the Gloucestershire Echo is a ghost of the place it once was... one reporter a day, district offices closed, content from sister paper the Citizen.. none of this unsual, but Anita wouldn't have stood for it, or for the demolition of her editorial team. Which is of course why she 'retired'. SO if you're writing a list of editors-that-were, she should be on it. Diminutive in stature but the Echo was the paper it was because of her huge determination. And it's not been the same since."

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