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December 15, 2014

Two long-serving Newsquest editors axed as five newspapers come under one group editor

By Emily Shackleton

Newsquest has axed two of its long-serving weekly editors in a structural shake up of its Gloucestershire publications.

Sue Smith, editor of the Stroud News and Journal and the Gloucestershire Independent, and Skip Walker who edits the Wilts and Glos Standard and the Gloucestershire Gazette, are being made redundant to make way for a single group editor.

All four titles alongside the Cotswold Journal will be overseen by the new group editor.

A staff photographer role has also been cut at the Gloucestershire publications, leaving just one photographer covering all three paid-for papers.

Both Smith and Walker have over 30 years of experience working in local newspapers, much of which has been spent at their respective titles.

Smith trained at the Bury Free Press in Bury St Edmunds and worked at titles including the Oxford Journal and Daily Mail Weekend magazine before joining Stroud News and Journal in 2000 while Walker was the editor.

After four years as news editor, she took over as editor of the paper in 2007, with Walker returning to the Wilts and Glos Standard as editor where she had worked ten years before.

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Smith and Walker said that a date for their departure had not been set yet and that it will be established as soon as the group editor is hired.

“The [group editor] role will be advertised, but it is business as usual until the right candidate is found,” Smith said.

Walker, who was due to leave the papers in August 2016 when she was planning to retire, said it would be “sad to leave the people” at the company earlier than expected.

“I’ve been a journalist long enough to realise that times have changed. Newspaper editors are not just newspaper editors anymore.

“I can admit that I am not as up to speed with modern communication such as Twitter as someone 30 years younger than me, and who could do the job better than me.”

Newsquest was approached for a comment, but was unable to provide one at the time of publication.

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