Former Worksop Guardian editor George Robinson dies

Former Worksop Guardian editor George Robinson died on Boxing Day aged 57 some 18 months after taking early retirement to run an antique toy business.

Robinson edited the Johnston Press-owned weekly for 18 years and, according to the Worksop Guardian, he died at Bassetlaw Hospital on Boxing Day after being taken ill only hours earlier.

Over much of his time editing the paper Robinson presided over strong circulation growth.

In 2006 sales grew 17 per cent year on year to 18,434 after a free weekly was turned into a paid-for edition.

At the time Robinson told Press Gazette: “The main reason our sales are doing so well is a good, strong, hard-working team of journalists.

“We took what was a fairly flimsy 28- page free paper and now readers are getting an 80-page, all singing, all dancing, paid-for paper.”

In the first six months of this year sales of the Worksop Guardian dropped 5.5 per cent year on year to 14,136.

Among his major achievements at the paper was to lead a campaign which led to a three-day local inquiry into Worksop’s heroin problem.
He also led a campaign against pit closures which resulted in a petition signed by 100,000.
Speaking to Press Gazette following his retirement in June last year, Robinson spoke about the challenges facing local newspapers.

He said: “In other groups there has been the brutal axing of jobs, with a load of good people going. Johnston Press has done a lot of centralising, but in a lot of cases where jobs have gone, the individuals concerned have been found other jobs in the company.

“We did have six sub-editors working in Worksop, with all that extra experience, local knowledge and team-work ethic. We were winning awards.

“You miss the support from those professionals who have come up through the reporting ranks, who are now at a centralised centre.”

Speaking about the future of local newspapers he said: “Where we can be strong is majoring on local concent, publishing stuff that nobody else will touch with a bargepole but which is what local communites are all about. In poor areas like Worksop no-one’s going to subscribe to read it online, lots of people don’t even have computers. But there will always be room for a 50p or £1 newspaper.”

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