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Tributes roll in for “visionary” former Sheffield Star editor Colin Brannigan


The former editor of The Star, Sheffield from 1968 to 1978, Colin Brannigan, has died aged 84.

Peers and friends have described him as “a visionary” and “trailblazing” in tributes since his death, which occurred in a hospice near Ripon, North Yorkshire.

Brannigan leaves behind his wife Joy, children Garry, Colette and Pip, along with four grandchildren.

Colin Brannigan joined the paper he would eventually lead as a sub-editor in the early 1960s, later being made News Editor then Editor. He was the Guild of Editors’ President for one year from 1979, was a council member for the Guild of Editors, and chaired the NCTJ.

In 1978, he left The Star to become Essex County Newspapers’ Editorial Director, before becoming Deputy Chief Executive of Reed Southern Newspapers. In 1993, Brannigan was awarded an OBE for services to journalism.

Alan Powell, another former Star editor, said that Colin was “full of praise when you did things right, and straight-alking but still supportive when you got things wrong.

“He was also a visionary. He started a region-wide collaboration of local authorities called the 44 Group in the 1960s because he believed that acting regionally was a better option than councils going it alone. Remarkably, more than 50 years later it acted as a template for the Sheffield City Region.”

Nigel Pickover, a colleague and former Editor-in-chief of the Eastern Daily Press, said: “Colin was a trailblazing editor…

“He was a passionate, campaigning editor and I had his guiding spirit alongside as I fought my own battles… It was true to Colin’s pioneering attitude that on retirement he launched Brannigan’s Newsletter, a guide to the latest news in the developing online world of newspapers. It became an early touchstone for the digital age.”

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