For almost 22 years, journalist John Philpott has been supplying a weekly column, on a freelance basis, to the Worcester News. Now the editor has axed the column because he says it is not “particularly popular” with readers.
John Philpott (pictured) told media website Hold The Front Page: “Taking into account the number of Worcester’s establishment figures I have annoyed down the years, I must admit to being surprised that I survived this long.
“During the early days, there was a determined bid by the local Labour group to strangle the column at birth over a piece I wrote about an attempt to concrete over a much-loved park in the city. Thankfully, it failed – as did the concreting. But the incident showed that then, as now, Labour’s instinct is to stifle dissent.
“But having said that, I’ve also annoyed quite a few Tories in my time, including one very high-ranking individual who tried to knobble the then editor over several columns I wrote supporting a businessman’s attempt to save a Worcester theatre from closure.
“My column embraced numerous topics and talking points around Worcester and I was all set for another 22 years, but there you go,” said John, who has worked for a number of regional newspapers, including the Worcester News, in a career, which has spanned almost five decades. He blamed “number-crunchers” for his departure.
Michael Purton, who took over as editor of the Worcester News earlier this year, said: “As part of a revamp of the features sections in the Worcester News, and to increase the amount of news articles in each edition of the newspaper, we decided to bring an end to freelance contributor John Philpott’s weekly column along with a number of other regular articles which, reader feedback showed, were not particularly popular.
“I’d like to thank John for his service to the Worcester News,” he added.