Award-winning journalist Keith Newbery dies

Keith Newbery photographed last year by The News chief photographer Malcolm Wells
Keith Newbery photographed last year by The News chief photographer Malcolm Wells
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Ken Ellcome with Jean and Allan Thompson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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Award-winning journalist Keith Newbery, who for many years wrote a popular column for The News, has died.

Keith, who retired in 2007 as executive editor of the Observer group of newspapers in Chichester 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.

Keith had been 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 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 also the founder-editor of the Isle of Wight Weekly Post and later associate editor of the The News.

During his time at the Observer, the paper won two awards for circulation increases, and he oversaw the launch of the Observer Magazine.

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.’

Click here for chief reporter Chris Owen’s retirement interview with Keith