One by one they are leaving Belfast…

Good news for Belfast is that there is much less news than there has been since well before the Troubles kicked off… bad news is that the jobs in journalism (which have been a proving ground for some of the world’s leading journalists local and international) are slowly disappearing. The Guardian did not replace Angelique Christafis with a Belfast based full timer when she left for Paris last year. Now the Sunday Times operation is closing in Belfast and all it’s journalists will be based in Dublin. With that, Liam Clarke, who’s work has featured here on Slugger, is moving on with the changing news agenda.

  • Belfast West.

    It’s good we are not so much in the news anymore Mick, but sorry for Liam Clarke.

  • Reds under the Beds

    I for one am not sad to see Liam Clarke leave. One of the most vitriolic anti republican journalists we have in the north, [text removed – keep it legal!! mod]. Good riddance I say.

  • gram

    Time to cut the UTV and BBC evening news programs down to 15mins as well. Crikey some of the items they are starting to cover almost make you miss some of the more “interesting” stuff that went on. Last night they showed us a ship being recycled at H&W. I could happily live without that information.

  • Dawkins

    Alleluja, war is over. Journos know better than anyone else when the winds have changed or are changing.

  • hoganfromcountytyrone

    I was at a brilliant seminar by Kevin Cullen from the Boston Globe about the steady demise of the foreign correspondent at quality titles right across the states, he was lamenting that alot of the 2nd string papers (i.e. everyone but the NY Times and the Post)in the US were cutting costs and the first to go were all their foreign correspondents.

    Suppose its just a continuation of this trend??

  • Mick Fealty

    Roll on the lost pet budgie (last seen in flight making a break for freedom over McArt’s fort) stories!!

  • Mick this makes it doubly important for people like you to tell us what is really going on.. Don’t you go…!)

  • GavBelfast

    “Time to cut the UTV and BBC evening news programs down to 15mins as well.”

    Well they could certainly do that if they dropped the inane features and also continue, as they were advised to do by the likes of Adams and Robinson, to desist from asking “stupid questions” and rocking boats where need be.

  • one trick pony

    Will there be a positive in that we might get rid of the Nolan Show. The guy’s obsession with traffic wardens is tedious in the extreme.

    On second thoughts can Nolan even be described as a journalist?

  • barcas

    What a shame the Sunday Times chose to change it’s reporting colours (after Harold Evans left?). Had they stuck to their reporting guns (no pun intended) of that time, they could well have made a difference to developments.

    I still have the Penguin of the Sunday Times Insight Team “Ulster” published in 1972. It is an eye-opener and a frustration to read through and be reminded of what started it all and how things went from bad to worse for no good reason.

  • Shore Road Resident
  • Shore Road Resident
  • IJP


    Another jurisdiction stealing our slots on Fleet Street???

    But they are the economic lifeblood of our region!!!

    Where’s the moustache when you need him?


    Oh how right you are!

  • Rory

    Never mind at least two Ulster stories featured prominently on BBC Radio 4 national news programmes in the last 24 hours, one on dog lovers in the province, which I believe is also due to feature on tonight’s Panorama on BBCTV, and one on community rehabilitation strategy for drug offenders.

    It is heartening to see that such warm, positive reflections of Ulster life can still attract the attention of the metropolitan programmers.

    With stories like this we can be assured that the much loved Ulster legacy will remain firm in the popular conciousness.

  • Martin

    Apropos cutting the local news… dunno about that, but Arts Extra certainly could go, at least while it pretends to cover the local arts scene but in fact really exists as a regional plug for global mass entertainment. Guys, getting local hacks to ‘review’ Hollywood movies or West End musicals is NOT local arts coverage.

    Dismounting hobbyhorse now.

  • confused

    Market forces rule.
    I hope Liam Clark keeps in touch as he was a very intelligent commentator.

  • vitriolic anti republican

    ah thats you want in a journalist, make up a story a week about sinn fein stuff and connect people to sinn fein ot slur them, is he moving to the sunday indo?

  • Rory

    Martin, by all means get off and have and a rest, but do please keep riding that old horse into battle every chance you get. You might well be accused of being Quixotic but remember that we yet love the old Don whose memory will last long after the plonkers revered by the paid hacks are forgotten.

  • Lurker

    I’m with Martin on Arts Extra; it comes across as a cringe-making effort to go for the ‘youf’ market which isn’t there. The demographic that wants Radio Ulster is older and predominantly female. This is not a demographic that is under threat- more people are joining it every year – so why the panic? Why desert people that they have in pursuit of people who aren’t paying attention?
    Young broadcasters come in an imagine that they are addressing their peers. They aren’t.
    The health of the local arts scene depends on coverage and criticism and the desertion of the arts for giddy superficiality is a betrayal of the whole society.
    We get 12 half hours a year! of books programming and wonder why local publishing is in trouble.
    Nolan? The first time he addressed a woman as bucketbake or allowed the use of terms like gippo and scumbag he should have been taken off the air.
    Another problem is U105. This station pitched for its licence on the grounds that it would be a talk radio station that would challenge Radio Ulster. In stead it challenged for the Downtown Radio market with an FM remake of the old station.
    Why was this allowed?
    And who’s complaining about the region being deprived of a facility that it was entitled to?
    It is not just London based journalism that is turning away from Northern Ireland; the local media is racing to the drain.

  • mick hall

    Those who wish to see local news programs cut are mistaken, such programs neither have to be about pet budgies or the latest atrocity to be of interest or of value. The fact that UTV and the BBC seem unable to make decent local news these days tells one more about the major news corporations that the lack of decent news stories.

    Both corporations would rather show trash big brother type reality TV or soaps that attract big bucks via adds, than provide the communities they are there to serve with informative local news.

    I would ask this question, if there had been first rate local TV news in the 1960s does anyone really believe the troubles would have panned out as they did?

  • Rubicon

    This is not a matter of the media focus moving ‘elsewhere’ – more a matter of doing to news what McDonalds did to food.

    In 2001 an ESRC funded research project led by Liz Fawcett identified only one news organisation that responded to devolution with an increased investment in local news reporting – the BBC. All other media outfits were found to increasingly depend on AP.

    The result was less partisan reporting – good on the one hand. However, the reporting was descriptive and little more than a reprint of government and political party press releases.

    Devolution should attract extra investment from the media. The media play an essential role in holding our public representatives to account – but it comes as no surprise to find they’re loosing interest. No more hanging around in the Forum bar and doing turns on the short wave radio waiting for the RUC to call in an atrocity. What a shame!

    Truth be told – NI hasn’t ever had a strong media – and is devoid of investigative journalism, even when the killing spree made news here easy to sell.

    Political reporting in NI is – and has always been – a lazy man’s game. Those who made a reputation neither reported nor attempted to discover much truth. The gore made it newsworthy – there’s nothing like fireworks to attract public interest.

    The public like tits in tabloid size and that is what the media aims to serve.

  • IJP


    Bloody hell that’s pretty much the best post I’ve seen on here!

    Spot on on every count.

  • Dawkins


    I second that! Respect, Rubicon.

  • Aquifer

    “One of the most vitriolic anti republican journalists we have in the north”

    A traitor to the peace processy ethnic cheerleading class!

    Have him publicly slurred forthwith.

  • Michael

    I don’t think that we’ve heard the last from Liam Clarke (unfortunatley. Who know’s maybe he will follow the example of that other vitriolic anti-republican, Eoghan Harris, and be rewarded for his government-helping work in discrediting Sinn Fein.

  • Blackadder

    I’ve always enjoyed Liam Clarke’s columns – just because he has the odd pop at SF or the Republican movement doesn’t make him unbalanced, he often has a go at Unionists as well. Mostly telling it like it is in my books.

  • No news is good news

  • Shore Road Resident

    …well, Phil, as a former Daily Ireland contributor that was very big of you to admit.