Herts Ad Comment: ‘Well deserved’ retirement for Herts Advertiser’s News Editor

Madeleine Burton

Madeleine Burton - Credit: Archant

On March 5 1979, the Herts Advertiser welcomed an enthusiastic new reporter who was to subsequently demonstrate an immeasurable influence on the growth and success of this newspaper over the next 38 years.

This week we bid farewell to our friend and colleague Madeleine “Mad” Burton as she begins a well-deserved retirement, and it is true to say that the Herts Advertiser team, and the local community that we represent, will be all the poorer for her departure.

In many ways, Mad IS the Herts Advertiser, having outlasted three editors and nurtured dozens of reporters who have gone on to thrive in positions on national newspapers and other media, and it will certainly be a very different product without her.

There are countless readers whose lives have been improved thanks to Mad’s intervention, as she has always done whatever she can to assist those people who really had nowhere else to turn for help.

Mad is not only the heart and soul of the Herts Ad, but she has proved a tenacious and resourceful journalist whose commitment to this newspaper has remained unswavering despite constant changes within the media industry, from the introduction of desktop publishing through to the growth of the internet as a news platform.

She has championed the interests of the St Albans district in the face of red tape, bureaucracy, party politics and PR spin, never giving up in her pursuit of the truth.

It’s fair to say that Mad has never suffered fools, and there have been plenty of press officers who have found themselves on her wrong side over the years and come a cropper as a result of trying to bamboozle her with jargon and empty responses.

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Rev Peter Crumpler, of St Leonard’s, Sandridge, who has been contributing to the Herts Advertiser on behalf of local churches for 27 years, sums up her influence: “Madeleine will be much missed by so many local people and community groups.

“Madeleine’s reporting has always shown her real concern for the area, as well as her deep knowledge of the people and organisations making the news. I wish Madeleine well for all that the future holds for her.”

Since I first came to St Albans some eight years ago, stepping to the role of editor with very little knowledge about the area, Mad has been my rock, providing professional support and assistance, offering a voice of understanding and reason in the face of frequent adversity, and acting as a living archive to explain the rich history of the district and the news agenda therein.

The phrase ‘end of an era’ is rolled out all too often, but is rarely as appropriate as it is in the case of Madeleine’s departure.

I really don’t know what I’m going to do without her, and would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank her for her dedicated years of service in ensuring the Herts Advertiser remains St Albans and Harpenden’s leading local newspaper. The whole team wishes her all the very best for her retirement - she’s going to be missed!