Former Star editor described as a pioneering newspaper giant dies aged 84

A former editor of The Star described as a pioneering giant of the newspaper industry has died aged 84.

Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 1:43 pm

Colin Brannigan, editor of The Star for 10 years from 1968 to 1978, died at a hospice near his home at Ripon, North Yorkshire.

The son of a Lancashire butcher, he joined the paper as a sub editor in the early ’60s and quickly rose through the ranks to become news editor and then editor, only The Star’s tenth in 80 years.

Colin was best known for his fervent campaigning zeal on behalf of readers, taking up a wide range of local issues to improve their wellbeing.

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Colin Brannigan, a former Star editor described as a pioneering newspaper giant, has died aged 84

His achievements had a profound and lasting impact on welfare services in the Sheffield region and his ability to identify problems in the community led to him winning a top national award in 1970, Campaigning Journalist of the Year, in the British Press Awards for a campaign called On Our Conscience.

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It uncovered vulnerable people in the Sheffield area who were in need of help and a team of journalists worked for several months to identify and highlight areas of neglect, their work leading to the publication of a Penguin paperback.

Nationally, Colin held various positions in the industry and served as president of the Guild of Editors from 1979-80. He was also a council member of the Guild of Editors and chairman of the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

Mr Colin Brannigan, the Editor of The Star, flagging off the 1977 Jubilee Star Walk in High Street, Sheffield on 7th June 1977.

He made more than 20 television appearances to talk about the industry and was also invited to lunch at Buckingham Palace where he found himself sitting next to the Queen.

Colin, who was awarded the OBE for services to journalism in 1993, left The Star in 1978 to become editorial director of Essex County Newspapers and, later, deputy chief executive of Reed Southern Newspapers.

He leaves a widow, Joy, son Garry, daughters Colette and Pip and four grandchildren.

Former editor of The Star Alan Powell, who was a junior reporter when he first met Colin, said: “He was the sort of editor all young and aspiring reporters needed – full of praise when you did things right, and straight talking but still supportive when you got things wrong."

Colin Brannigan, Editor of The Star July 1975
Winner of the competition to name the new bus service - Mrs Mary Murphy - receives her prize from the Editor of the Star, Mr. Colin Brannigan - also shown are Coun Roy Thwaites, left, Chairman of the PTE, and Coun H Fidler, right, Chairman Sheffield Advisory Sub Committee 8th December 1975