Tribute to George Makin
George Makin, the “old school” Black Country Local Democracy Reporter and dedicated NUJ member, has sadly died.
The 62-year-old, who had been covering the Sandwell and Dudley areas as part of the BBC funded scheme, announced in April he had incurable cancer. But he succumbed to the disease on June 15.
George worked as a freelance photographer and a production assistant for a video production company for a number of years before he embarking on a career change in 1998 when he earned his NCTJ pre-entry certificate from Sutton Coldfield College to complement the City & Guilds Radio and Journalism qualification he’d completed five years earlier.
He started his journalism career at the Walsall Advertiser in 1999 where he was to spend a decade as first a senior reporter and working his way up to become deputy chief reporter.
He was also the lead reporter on politics in the borough which is where he built a reputation for being dogged and determined in holding those in power to account.
His flair and skills saw him scoop a clutch of awards, including the CIN 'Story of the Year' in 2005 for his reporting on the frontline in Iraq. He was also honoured at the Newspaper Society awards for his feature writing in 2007 and 2008.
After leaving the Advertiser, George became a freelance journalist and public relations officer - one of his major clients being the Walsall Labour Group.
His vast experience covering politics meant he was the ideal candidate to fill one of 150 new LDR roles when the scheme was launched in 2018.
Away from work he was a doting husband to Deborah and a loving father and grandfather. He loved wildlife and nature and was a keen bird spotter.
Chris Morley, NUJ northern and midlands senior organiser, said:
"George was a solid and popular NUJ member who took to the new local democracy reporting scheme with a passion. He very much stuck to the essence of the job, finding stories of public interest and reporting without fear or favour.
"Despite his distressing circumstances when diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, George did not hide away but was open about his feelings. The Black Country has lost a top-notch journalist and champion in George."