Former Brighton Argus deputy editor and journalism tutor Chris Chandler has died suddenly aged 69.
Chandler spent about 20 years at the Argus, through its sale from Westminster Press to Newsquest, ending his time there as editor of the company’s free weekly the Brighton and Hove Leader.
Chandler (pictured) suffered a bleed on the brain on Tuesday and was taken into hospital, but died the next day.
He had spent the last ten years working as a tutor in essential journalism and media law at Brighton Journalist Works, becoming the centre’s head of exams in 2017.
A year before he took the role, the National Council for the Training of Journalists temporarily suspended the centre’s accreditation over concerns about the way it was conducting exams, leading to a culture change.
Richard Lindfield, managing director of Brighton Journalist Works, told Press Gazette he and his colleagues “can’t believe [Chandler’s] not just going to walk through the door”.
Lindfield said: “Everybody loved Chris. The students adored him. When he launched on one of his stories they were completely enraptured by it.
“So many of them have said how kind he was to them and how helpful he was to them and he just shared all his wisdom and his knowledge and his expertise willingly with them.
“He was just a nice guy, a lovely guy and was a massive part of our team here and really will be much missed.”
Chandler was due to accompany a group of trainees to a magistrates’ court on Thursday, and had invigilated an exam just days before he died.
Frank Le Duc, editor of independent website Brighton and Hove News, was a reporter on the Argus when it was owned by Westminster Press in the late 1980s and recalled Chandler as being “in the vanguard” of introducing computers to the newsroom.
Le Duc told Press Gazette: “Chris had a talent for laying out a page quickly and cleanly and he made the most of the possibilities that came from having computers in newsrooms.”
They worked together again when Le Duc became deputy editor of the Argus in 2005 while Chris was editor of the Leader series.
“Chris took a close interest in training and developing the next generation of journalists,” said Le Duc.
“When he left the company after more than 20 years, it was no surprise that he became a familiar figure helping trainees at Brighton Journalist Works.”
Argus columnist and former chief reporter Adam Trimingham worked with Chris for many years and told the newspaper Chandler was “a rock” and a calming presence in the newsroom.
“He loved the paper, the paper was his life,” Trimingham said. “In a profession where people come and go a lot, he was a rock…
“He was very fair and always kept his head. If something went wrong he would not go around shouting the place down, he would just remain calm and work to put it right.
“Some editors like the limelight, but Chris wasn’t like that. He preferred to be back in the newsroom doing what he loved.”
Chandler’s funeral will take place at the North Chapel in Woodvale Crematorium, Brighton, at 11am on Friday 26 April.
Picture: Brighton Argus
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