Totnes Times’ Steve Peacock – A Real Newspaperman

We’re in an age where that is rare.

By John Anderson
Contributing Editor

The announcement earlier this month that Steve Peacock has retired as a reporter and editor at the Totnes Times should be viewed with more than a little alarm.
In an age where regional journalism has been by and large reduced to cursory reporting whose mission is to fill the space between the classifieds and the real-estate advertising, Peacock stood out as someone in the smallest of papers who tried; he really tried.

Oh sure, the TT is world class at the soft stuff. Charity drives, golf outings and assorted snapshots of life in the area. And while Steve could knock out a cute feature as fast as any reporter I’ve ever known, he was actually rather serious when it came to covering the political and planning issues that seem to be always swirling around Totnes.
From looking at his reporting and having a slight grasp of the issues myself, it always struck me that Steve strove for objectivity in matters where such objectivity was probably not easy to come by.

The baton has been passed from Steve to a new generation of TT reporters. We will be watching to see how they do at covering Council meetings; how much of an understanding they bring to planning and development matters; in short, how will they carry on Steve’s tradition.
When I was starting out in the newspaper business around the same time as Steve, an old editor suggested I take a slow look around the newsroom. When I asked why, he said: “Some of the people you’re looking at just work for a newspaper; others are actually newspaper people. It is up to you which you want to be.”
Steve Peacock in his role at the Totnes Times was a lot more than someone who worked at a newspaper. He was a real newspaper man.

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