Graduations continued at the University of Ulster’s Coleraine campus today when students from the Faculty of Computing and Engineering, the Ulster Business School and the Faculty of Arts received their degrees and certificates.
Former Belfast Telegraph editor, Edmund Russell Curran will today be awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt), in recognition of his services to journalism.
Mr Curran joined the Belfast Telegraph as a graduate trainee reporter and worked his way up to the editor’s chair.
>> Click here for full list of University of Ulster graduations July 3 2012
He held the position for 12 years before becoming editor-in-chief, and was also launch editor of sister paper, the Sunday Life. In 2006, he was awarded the OBE for services to journalism.
Since retiring he has continued to contribute a regular column to the paper. He has also played a prominent role in the training of journalists, serving on the board of directors of the National Council for the Training of Journalists.
The encomium will be delivered by Professor Pól Ó’Dochartaigh, dean of the Faculty of Arts. Commenting on the recognition of his journalistic career, Mr Curran said: “ One of my first duties as a young journalist in the Belfast Telegraph in October 1968 was to report on the opening week of the University of Ulster.
“I actually attended the very first lecture and stayed with the first students in their accommodation in Portrush. So that makes my honorary degree all the more special.”
He added: “We should guard against any government or politician's hand controlling the media. Politicians have a duty to defend freedom of expression not to restrict it. They should also ensure that the widest range of news and views are available to the public and that no individual or organisation has an unfair monopoly of the media.
“It is sad a small number of journalists, editors and executives have discredited the entire media unfairly by phone-hacking and other malpractices. I believe the majority of media outlets do not require further control over and above what the courts already apply, but more likely than not we will have tougher rules in future with some form of fines for media which seriously transgress.”
Paul Smith CBE of the global light entertainment company Celador Entertainment Limited, also receives the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) for services to media and enterprise.