Belfast Telegraph

Staff shocked as UTV head of news is made redundant

BY Margaret Canning

UTV head of news Darwin Templeton is considering his future after his role was made redundant by the listed company, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

The former editor of the Belfast News Letter joined the staff at UTV's Havelock House in Belfast as head of news at the beginning of last year.

Staff at UTV Media plc were told last month that compulsory redundancies would be enforced among 980 employees in the group.

However, the prospect of the long-standing role of head of news being discarded has surprised staff at the broadcaster, which operates the ITV franchise in Northern Ireland.

Mr Templeton is well-liked in the organisation and his appointment as head of news was welcomed because of his track record as a reporter on UTV's investigative current affairs programme Insight and as editor of the News Letter.

As head of news, Mr Templeton reported to Michael Wilson, managing director of UTV Television. Mr Templeton took over as head of news from Rob Morrison when the latter retired.

In interim results for the first quarter of this year, UTV Media plc group revenue was down year-on-year from £29.5m to £28.1m.

The media giant – one of Northern Ireland's few listed companies – owns 23 radio stations across the UK and Ireland, which have been under pressure because of falling advertising revenues. In March last year it bought the Irish digital media agency Simply Zesty.

Mr Templeton, who edited the News Letter for six years from 2006 to 2012, was not available for comment yesterday.

A spokesman for UTV also refused to comment. "UTV does not comment on staff matters," he said.

Another high-ranking employee who was taken on over the last two years is also believed to have left the company in recent weeks.

Mr Templeton could appeal the decision to make his role redundant through the company's internal process.

Belfast Telegraph