Former Sunderland Echo columnist Keith Newbery dies

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AWARD-WINNING journalist Keith Newbery, who for many years wrote a popular column for the Sunderland Echo, has died.

Keith, a former executive editor with the Echo’s parent company, Johnson Press, retired in 2007 and continued writing his weekly column until last year, had a huge following among readers.

His no-holds-barred trenchant observations on life struck a chord with many as he railed against injustice, pettiness, and all things annoying.

Although working in the south, his column was syndicated to the Sunderland Echo and proved popular with readers.

Keith received an MBE for services to journalism in 2004, having spent his entire career in newspapers – starting as a junior reporter on the now defunct Isle of Wight Times in his hometown of Ryde in the mid-1960s.

He was editor of the Chichester Observer since 1992, and later also took overall editorial responsibility for the West Sussex Gazette, Petersfield Post Series, Bognor Guardian and the Chichester Journal as executive editor.

He was also the founder-editor of the Isle of Wight Weekly Post and later associate editor of the The News in Portsmouth.

Keith, who won the Sports Writer of the Year title at the British Regional Press Awards a record four times, also re-lived his career in his autobiographical book of memoirs and anecdotes, ‘Hacking It’: Tales of a Very Provincial Newspaper Journalist, which was published in 2003.

Gary Shipton, Editor In Chief of the Observer series, described Keith as a distinguished journalist and columnist.

“He was enormously admired, liked and respected by all who worked with him over many decades in the business.

“He will be best known for his weekly columns - which at one time included sports and tv critiques as well as his strong opinion pieces.

“The nationals tried to woo him to write for them in earlier years, but he would never forsakes his beloved Isle of Wight.

“His pithy reviews and comments were syndicated across many Johnston Press titles – especially Sunderland, Portsmouth, and Chichester - until he decided to write no more in March 2013.

“A strong and principled journalist he was a writer of enormous wit and wisdom – provoking outrage and mirth with every keystroke.”