With Paywall in Place, has the Tele Lost its Welly?

Ten years ago, the Belfast Telegraph received a prestigious UK Award for Digital News Service of the Year. This was followed by multiple awards for website of the year, huge growth in on-line readers, and a new platform for digital debate that attracted thousands of comments. But with the installation of a new paywall on 19 May, are these achievements now at risk? Will the free and open voice of liberal unionism be silenced to all save a minority of …

Read more…With Paywall in Place, has the Tele Lost its Welly?

Why do the DUP persist in ignoring the interests of their own supporters?

For decades, Barry White was a great part of the voice of the Belfast Telegraph, sometimes in his own name, as often in anonymous editorials. He was one of a trio ofsenior journalists, Roy Lilley, Ed Curran and himself who steered a difficult editorial path for the paper from 1970 arguing for the centre ground mainly from the standpoint of liberal unionism.   The voice was  that of reasonableness, by definition so often ahead of the real thing, although Barry wrote …

Read more…Why do the DUP persist in ignoring the interests of their own supporters?

Did PSNI just change the script?

One standout take-away from the Belfast Telegraph’s ‘BelTelBomber’ piece was an unexpected response from police which cut to the very core of how large organisations deal with the media in two interesting ways. Firstly, a recap: the Belfast Telegraph’s story followed up on the Manchester bombing by sending a reporter to visit local tourist attractions, complete with a backpack, to check if he could do so without any checks. The newspaper’s front page was given over to the piece along …

Read more…Did PSNI just change the script?

Selling salacious gossip rather than news

The Sunday Life / Belfast Telegraph has been running a series of stories surrounding the claims by a Kent based individual called Christopher Luke that he had some sort of relationship (possibly homosexual) with the late UUP leader Jim Molyneaux. These claims have been rubbished by a variety of unionist leaders: Lord Maginnis and Jeffrey Donaldson to name but two. Possibly the most comprehensive point has been made by Graham Craig who actually proposed Lee Reynolds as the stalking horse …

Read more…Selling salacious gossip rather than news

High Time Media Moved on from Indulging Pseudo-Controversy Surrounding James McClean and “Poppy Issue”

The media don’t half like flogging dead horses. Right on cue, James McClean‘s move to West Bromwich Albion last week prompted talk in the Belfast Telegraph (not for the first time) of his repeated eschewing of the wearing of a political poppy on his various past clubs’ football jerseys around Britain’s celebration of its Remembrance Sunday each year. This was despite the fact we are half a year on (or away from) November, when the reporting of such a trivial item might have …

Read more…High Time Media Moved on from Indulging Pseudo-Controversy Surrounding James McClean and “Poppy Issue”

Rating female politicians’ appearance is demeaning sexism from Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland has some of the lowest levels of female participation in politics of anywhere in Western Europe. Anyone who read a copy of this morning’s morning the Belfast Telegraph can be in no doubt as to why. The newspaper has dedicated a double page spread to commenting on and rating the appearances of female election candidates in lurid detail. It reads more like the salivating sexism of a teenage boy ranking girls at school, than a piece of journalism …

Read more…Rating female politicians’ appearance is demeaning sexism from Belfast Telegraph

Theft of Binevenagh Sea god

The removal of the statue of a celtic sea god Manannán Mac Lir has been covered by a number of the news outlets. The large heavy statue was placed at a view point on Binevenagh Mountain about a year ago. According to John Sutton its sculptor it would have been difficult to remove and required angle grinders and and several hours. It has now been taken and replaced with a cross bearing the words: “You shall have no other gods …

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Round-up of press reaction to DUP conference #dup14

So what did the Monday papers think of the DUP’s weekend conference in La Mon? In an Irish Times opinion piece under the headline of “DUP leader’s subtle message of co-operation to end gridlock” Gerry Moriarty pulled out Peter Robinson’s statement – buried in his speech – about the need for the DUP and Sinn Fein to do business together. There is still a bitter rump in the party that hates hearing that line but Robinson realised that, in the …

Read more…Round-up of press reaction to DUP conference #dup14

Local press reflect on SDLP conference, support for McDonnell, abortion & other NI leaders

The Belfast Telegraph published the results of their straw poll survey of 50 delegates at the SDLP party conference on Saturday. When walking through the exhibition space outside the main hall I declined the opportunity offered to answer the interviewer’s questions. 32% of surveyed delegates did not want Alasdair McDonnell to lead the SDLP into the 2016 Assembly election. And only 36% positively did want him to, leaving 32% undecided (or unwilling to express an opinion). From the mood of …

Read more…Local press reflect on SDLP conference, support for McDonnell, abortion & other NI leaders

Changing the conversation about the media … do you feel the hand of vested interests? #xss14

Friday morning at Xchange summer school began with a two hour session looking at how to change the conversation about the media. Denzil McDaniel was joined on the second hand sofas by former journalist and spin-doctor Lance Price, digital investigative journalist Steven McCaffery and ex-newspaper editor, columnist and commentator Nick Garbutt. It was Lance Price’s first trip back to Enniskillen since covering the 1987 bombing for the BBC. Later he worked in 10 Downing Street as deputy communications director (under …

Read more…Changing the conversation about the media … do you feel the hand of vested interests? #xss14

Cara Park: “Continue the fight for equality in the face of casual misogyny, physical misogyny and, most importantly, resist and revolt against misogyny by the state.” #AMU (video added)

Strong words in Parliament Buildings. But not from the Assembly chamber or a committee room. I stand before you today as a woman unfree, in spite of the location of my birth here in the European Union, a colony of the British empire, the island of Ireland, Eire. This is because I do not have the same rights as my sisters in other parts of these conglomerate nations. I am officially a citizen of the United Kingdom but the same …

Read more…Cara Park: “Continue the fight for equality in the face of casual misogyny, physical misogyny and, most importantly, resist and revolt against misogyny by the state.” #AMU (video added)

“I want a society where we will have politics & not a sectarian pantomime” (Alf McCreary in 1976)

In his autobiography Behind the Headlines, Alf McCreary recalls his editor’s leading article in the Belfast Telegraph on 5 November 1968 in which Jack Sayers wrote: The threat to Northern Ireland’s future is not … the IRA or even Nationalism. It comes from Protestant Ulstermen who will not allow themselves to be liberated from the delusion that every Roman Catholic is their enemy. [Ed – some blog post readers will stop at this point and immediately jump down to the …

Read more…“I want a society where we will have politics & not a sectarian pantomime” (Alf McCreary in 1976)

Greater Belfast’s best read newspaper to fold: Community Telegraph to publish final editions next week

Social, local, mobile was Johnston Press’s plan for survival when CEO Ashley Highfield sought to stabilise the newspaper group’s finances and future in April 2012. It’s not a unique pitch. Most newsprint owners are investing heavily in phone-browser friendly websites, fondle-friendly apps, interactivity and geographically relevant content (both created and collated). Once a cash cow, rival group Independent News & Media have called time on the Community Telegraph and next week’s edition will be the last. Social, mobile, but no …

Read more…Greater Belfast’s best read newspaper to fold: Community Telegraph to publish final editions next week

Voting intentions survey – 44.1% wouldn’t vote (3:2 women:men) + the party split of those who would vote

2006 Belfast Telegraph masthead saying Today's News Today

LucidTalk’s latest survey is providing headlines for the Belfast Telegraph all week. Their voting intentions survey published in today’s paper shows the uphill struggle [Ed – or opportunity?] parties would have to motivate the electorate to positively engage in an election. [Excluding people who would not vote] Overall the figures for the five Executive parties, with the 2011 vote in brackets, are DUP 29.3% (30%), Sinn Fein 26.1% (26.9%), UUP 10.8% (13.2%), SDLP 13.8% (14.2%) and Alliance 10.2% (7.7%). Forty-five …

Read more…Voting intentions survey – 44.1% wouldn’t vote (3:2 women:men) + the party split of those who would vote

Stormont facing a crisis of confidence.

Today’s Lucid Talk poll in the Belfast Telegraph should be a wake up call for all politicians in Northern Ireland to up their game. When asked the question, compared to direct rule from Westminster, how would you rate the performance of the NI assembly? Just 9.4% said it was either excellent or good and that falls to 7.4% when you exclude undecideds. This compares badly to the 66.3% who rated the assembly’s performance as not very good or bad. The …

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Peter Robinson tells Belfast Telegraph he’ll outlast “those windbag commentators” who predict his demise (updated with UTV’s interview)

Peter Robinson’s postcard from his holiday to the Belfast Telegraph is carried on page 29 of this morning’s paper. Breaking his silence since issuing the eleven page U-turn clarification letter on 15 August, the First Minister’s latest intervention signals that the summer is over and the parties are at last back to school. (You can read the full text on the Belfast Telegraph website.) In spite of all the challenges that have been faced at home, we have proved that …

Read more…Peter Robinson tells Belfast Telegraph he’ll outlast “those windbag commentators” who predict his demise (updated with UTV’s interview)

Belfast Telegraph: Strabane Fermanagh

Belfast Telegraph headline: Strabane gets shirty over patriotic top American company thinks Fermanagh town’s in Scotland The Belfast Telegraph has an article poking fun at an American company producing a t shirt with a Union Flag and the name Strabane on it. The company told the Belfast Telegraph it was Strabane Scotland which according to the Bel Tel’s research does not exist. Unfortunately on its front page the Belfast Telegraph also has a non existent town: Strabane, Fermanagh. Update: They …

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Increasing numbers of passengers let the train take the strain … apart from a 10 year decline on the Enterprise

Monday morning’s Belfast Telegraph splashed with the front page story that passengers numbers have fallen by 22% on the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise train over the last decade. The ‘exclusive’ – based on figures in DRD’s Future Railways Investment consultation document [pdf] that was published in January – was picked up by Talkback at lunchtime as well as other news programmes. The actual consultation ended in April, though this isn’t mentioned in the paper! And in some ways, it’s never too late …

Read more…Increasing numbers of passengers let the train take the strain … apart from a 10 year decline on the Enterprise

Interview with Noel Doran as Irish News widens circulation gap with Belfast Telegraph

Every six months, the Audited Bureau of Circulations publishes figures for newspaper sales. The July-December 2012 were released at lunchtime. A newspaper might sum up the results in simple terms: it’s a good day for the Irish News, an okay day for the News Letter and bad day for the Belfast Telegraph. Other surveys will suggest figures for the number of readers (ie, heads not copies) each newspaper has on a daily or weekly basis, with an in-built margin of …

Read more…Interview with Noel Doran as Irish News widens circulation gap with Belfast Telegraph

Nesbitt: “change happens and if you don’t roll with it then you’ll be left behind”

Interviewed in this morning’s Belfast Telegraph, Lynda Bryans was asked about the best advice she had received. It wasn’t about shrinking and growing. That’s an easy one. It was something Mike said to me years ago. I had to choose between a staff contract and a risky one-year contract that might not be renewed. Mike told me that change happens and if you don’t roll with it then you’ll be left behind. That’s been great advice ever since and I …

Read more…Nesbitt: “change happens and if you don’t roll with it then you’ll be left behind”