NUJ pays tribute to Eric Gordon
The Camden New Journal's editor since the paper was set up in 1982 has died, aged 89.
The NUJ has paid tribute to Eric Gordon, for many decades the editor of the Camden New Journal. Unusually for an editor, he also served a spell on the union’s national executive and was a lifetime supporter of NUJ initiatives.
It was one of Gordon’s proudest boasts that the Camden New Journal (CNJ) owed its start in life to a business loan guaranteed by Mrs Thatcher’s government. “We did not go to the GLC for a grant initially – I expected the business to fail, and I did not want to waste public money,” he said, many years later.
He edited the CNJ from its foundation in 1981 until his death this month. Edition by edition he demonstrated that a paper serving its readers’ needs and outside the control of profiteering conglomerate, could produce quality journalism and a respectable return.
He hated being called the CNJ’s ‘founding editor’. The paper was actually founded by a group of journalists who had staffed the Camden Journal. After a series of disputes between 1979 and 1981, the owners decided to close the paper, and as part of the settlement, sold the title to Gordon and his colleagues for £1.
There were many organisational twists and turns over the decades, from which Gordon emerged as the dominant character. Even as local newspapers were eviscerated by tech giants, his paper, and its stablemates, sold in healthy numbers and provided a return on capital of between 10 per cent and 13 per cent.
As might be expected during such a long editorial tenure, he acquired a few vocal critics along the way. That he sent more than 2,000 editions to bed, before departure for his own final place of rest, however, is an achievement that few will equal.
Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary said:
“Eric was a member and a supporter of the NUJ throughout his long working life. His great achievement was to make a persuasive case for the appeal and viability of locally-owned, locally focussed journalism. Much better would be our media landscape if his example were widely followed.”