So Martin Lindsay is to retire as editor of the Belfast Telegraph in September. Having served nearly 50 years in the business man and boy, Martin gives to lie to the notion that only spring chickens can respond to the formidable challenges of a 24/7 news agenda and the internet and now the recession. The Tele still manages to straddle demographics, communities and technologies and make some money that up to now at any rate has helped to keep the parent Independent group afloat, as press commentator and part-time Donegal man Roy Greenslade notes. Im pretty sure the Tele will continue to adapt and flourish, provided its new leadership continues to supply what Martin and his predecessor Ed Curran possess: an intimate knowledge of the community and the respect of movers and shakers. Staff cuts have been a constant shadow over performance. Martin’s successor will no doubt have to continue the struggle to maintain the essential resource without which a newspaper dies: its reporters. In a challenge to my other loyalty, Ed has an understandable beef about BBC expansion. Whatever happens over BBC top-slicing and local partnerships, the Tele will have to survive mainly on its own quality of service. Im better than hopeful that it will.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London