Colleagues pay tribute to 'talented' former Hendon Times group editor

This Is Local London: A photograph of John Killeen when he worked at Newsquest. A photograph of John Killeen when he worked at Newsquest.

Colleagues have paid tribute to a “talented” former Hendon Times group editor who has died aged 51.

John Killeen, who died last week, began working for the paper's owner Newsquest as a trainee journalist under former group editor Barry Brennan in 1987.

Over the years he “flourished” as a journalist, going on to become a chief reporter and group editor.

He worked for Newsquest for 19 years, before leaving the company in 2006.

Nicole Lampert, one of Mr Killeen’s former colleagues, said: “John was the best first editor a journalist could wish for: wise, funny and kind.

“He had a dry sense of humour but always had a wry smile on his face - however stressful the situation. I learned so much from him.”

Vanessa Thorpe, who worked at the Hendon Times with Mr Killeen in the 1990s, said: “He was great to work with because he was so relaxed and yet he got still got things done - creating a stylish arts and listings supplement while I was there.

“He was very pleasant to be with, while being ironic and funny too.

“He was so talented. It is awful he did not have the time to do all the living and writing he would have hoped to enjoy.”

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1:14pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Colin O'Toole says...

John was the first person to show me the internet (before most people had heard of it) and he knew it would change the newspaper business irrevocably. As an early-adopter, he was the perfect person at the helm for the transition online and, in a time of great uncertainty, he worked very hard to minimise the effect of the boardroom on the newsroom. As his deputy, I saw firsthand how much he believed in news that was local and wanted to preserve it for another generation. Our biggest stories during my time there were 9/11 (viewed on the rolling TV screen that John installed in the newsroom) and the Potters Bar rail crash. We also did our best to support Barnet FC in the face of an unsympathetic council. As a person, he had a wonderful combination of humour, candour and intelligence. I’ll always remember his unswerving decency as a human being. Of course, his passing is heartwrenchingly premature for those who loved him.

Colin O'Toole
Hendon Times 1990-2004
John was the first person to show me the internet (before most people had heard of it) and he knew it would change the newspaper business irrevocably. As an early-adopter, he was the perfect person at the helm for the transition online and, in a time of great uncertainty, he worked very hard to minimise the effect of the boardroom on the newsroom. As his deputy, I saw firsthand how much he believed in news that was local and wanted to preserve it for another generation. Our biggest stories during my time there were 9/11 (viewed on the rolling TV screen that John installed in the newsroom) and the Potters Bar rail crash. We also did our best to support Barnet FC in the face of an unsympathetic council. As a person, he had a wonderful combination of humour, candour and intelligence. I’ll always remember his unswerving decency as a human being. Of course, his passing is heartwrenchingly premature for those who loved him. Colin O'Toole Hendon Times 1990-2004 Colin O'Toole
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