Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Editor's Viewpoint: A true gentleman of the Ulster press

Malcolm Brodie worked in a profession, sports journalism, where hyperbole is the stock-in-trade currency of its practitioners.

But even they would find it difficult to exaggerate the impact that the former sports editor of this newspaper made in his chosen sphere. He may have worked for a provincial newspaper, but he punched away above his not inconsiderable weight. The tributes we publish today from the very top of government here and in his native Scotland as well as from sporting icons show the reach of his influence and regard in which he was held.

He was honoured by FIFA for covering 14 World Cups, a feat that probably never will be equalled.

But the longevity of his career never dimmed his enthusiasm for the job.

He lived for his work and he enriched the lives of the readers with his reports. He knew, and more importantly remembered, people from all walks of life and was a man of great generosity.

Malcolm was of stocky build but cast a giant shadow in his chosen profession.

Generations of journalists learned their trade under his watchful eye and none ever had a disparaging word to say about him.

There is a fine old Ulster saying that one should never speak ill of the dead.

That is no hardship in the case of Malcolm Brodie. He managed the near-impossible balance of being a respected journalist, ever keen to break the story, and yet retaining the friendship of those he met or reported on.

It is a tradition in journalism that reporters should never be the story. It is what they write that is important, not who they are. But yesterday and today Malcolm Brodie was the story.

His death leaves a void in Northern Ireland journalism that will be impossible to fill.

And there will be many old friends raising a glass of his beloved whiskey to toast the memory of a true colossus of the printed word.

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