Medway News

Editors of the News
1855 Henry Clayton
c 1855 Joseph Foster
1885 George Neves
1921 C P Wootton
1923 H J Ross
1927 Harry Couchman
1950 Eddie Albon
1959 Graham Parrett
1968 Eric Wintle
1972 Gerald Hinks
1993 Jon McElhill
1995 Murray Evans
2001 Diane Nicholls
2008 Christine Rayner

The Medway News is a weekly newspaper covering the Medway Towns in Kent, England. Established in 1855 as the Military Chronicle and Naval Spectator, the newspaper had the title Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham News for the longest period.

Until late 2008 it was published from offices in New Road Avenue, Chatham, and was one of a series of newspapers that included the Medway Standard and the free Medway Adscene. However, the Standard ceased publication in early 2009 when the Adscene title was absorbed into the News, "Medway" was dropped from the titlepiece and the publication day was shifted from Friday to Thursday.

The newspaper's offices have been moved from the centre of Medway to Gillingham Business Park and are shared with the News's sister paper, the East Kent Gazette, which had been based on the same site in Sittingbourne since its foundation on 21 July 1855. Both titles are now edited by Christine Rayner, editor of the East Kent Gazette since 1995.

The titles were known as the Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham News (“Roch-Chat-Gill”)or Chatham News and Chatham Standard, until the mid 1990s. The News features general news, a leisure section, a business page, a film review, comment, village news and sport. The Medway Standard, specialised in sports news, particularly coverage of Gillingham Football Club.

Previous reporters at the newspaper include Martin Brunt, now crime correspondent for Sky News, Peter Salmon, later controller of BBC One, Robert Tyrer, now associate editor of The Sunday Times, Harry Arnold, a royal reporter at The Sun, and John Williams, a political editor at The Daily Mirror and the London Evening Standard, and author of a draft of the September Dossier for war in Iraq. Until late 2006, the News featured a Memories [1] page, written by Stephen Rayner, a former reporter and assistant editor on the News who now works for The Sunday Times.

The editor is Christine Rayner and the news editor is Nicola Jordan.

The News is part of Kent Regional News and Media, owned since July 2007 by Northcliffe Media. Other titles in KRN&M include the East Kent Gazette, the Whitstable Times, Herne Bay Times, Isle of Thanet Gazette, Thanet Times, Folkestone Herald and Dover Express.

Contents

History

The first editor-proprietor of the News was Henry Clayton, a bookseller, who soon discovered he needed a journalist, and brought in Joseph Foster from The Spectator.

Foster eventually became sole proprietor. When he died in 1885 his heirs sold to Parrett & Neves, publishers of the East Kent Gazette at Sittingbourne, George Neves becoming editor. He died in 1921.

Neves was succeeded C. P. Wootton, H. J. Ross, Harry Couchman, and Eddie Albon. In 1959, Graham Parrett — great grandson of W. J. Parrett, whose company bought the News in 1885 — became editor until 1968 when he became managing director of Parrett & Neves' publishing company, Associated Kent Newspapers. His deputy Eric Wintle was promoted to editor and stayed in that role briefly (he later became the company’s editorial director) before Gerald Hinks took the editor’s chair in 1970. Hinks, a former editor of the Sheerness Times Guardian and East Kent Gazette, took the News and its sister paper the Chatham Standard through an era of great success and won many national newspaper awards. His editorship, characterised by a string of exclusive stories and robust journalism, was marred by the closure of Chatham Dockyard in 1984, an event that caused huge social change, severe depression to the Medway towns’ fortunes, and a drop in the circulation of the News. Staff during this time include Michael Pearce, later editor of the Isle of Thanet Gazette and Thanet Times, Frank Dunkley, Jimmy Hodge, Ted Connolly and Christine Rayner, since 1995 editor of the East Kent Gazette series and editor of the News since 2008.

In 1988 Parrett & Neves sold Associated Kent Newspapers to Emap. During this ownership, Hinks was replaced by Jon McElhill, formerly of the Mid-Sussex Times. The circulation dipped further. The group was subsequently sold to its hated rivals, the Canterbury-based freesheet publishing group Adscene. McElhill resigned and was succeeded by Murray Evans, a former deputy editor of the News and editor of the East Kent Gazette. Evans was succeeded in 2001 by his deputy, Diane Nicholls and she in turn by Christine Rayner. The publishing group went through three more owners, Denitz and Southnews and Trinity Mirror. Northcliffe Media bought Trinity's Kent titles, including the News, in July 2007.

The News office

The News was initially published and printed at 30 High Street, Chatham. In the late 1960s, after printing and production was centralised at Crown Quay Lane, Sittingbourne, the building was sold to the BBC, from which BBC Radio Medway was launched in 1970. (More recently the building was converted into flats, and named Media House in view of its previous uses.) The News moved to a nearby building at 12 New Road Avenue, Chatham. A Rochester branch office, in the High Street near the cathedral green, closed in the early 1960s; the Gillingham branch office shut two decades later.

In summer 2008 it was announced the New Road Avenue office would shut and the News would move to Gillingham Business park, sharing an office with its older sister paper, the East Kent Gazette.

External links

Sources

  • Company records of Parrett & Neves
  • Kelly's Directory of Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Strood

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