Farewell dear readers, your knowledge and passion amazed me
All good things, as they say, come to an end. And so it is with this one.
All good things, as they say, come to an end. And so it is with this one.
The battle for freedom of expression is never-ending, even in democratic countries like the UK.
Back recharged after a break in Athens and the Cyclades Islands in the heart of the Aegean Sea.
And so farewell UTV. Yes, it's true you live on, a shadow of your former self, on our screens in the form of UTV Live and UTV Life and, er, well that's more or less about it at the moment.
A common theme of the Belfast Telegraph postbag is local representation - or the lack of it. By 'local', on this occasion, I mean very local; not Stormont. For on the Hill we have a surfeit of representatives.
Things ain't half hotting up over the recent White Paper on the BBC. First we had the Beeb's well-timed "exclusive" on John Whittingdale's dominatrix lover (true), then the luvvies' panic over the impending evisceration of BBC drama (untrue) and the (entirely reasonable) contents of said paper.
A few weeks back I wrote about the controversy involving the Irish Mail on Sunday and a bogus interview with Derry woman Louise James, who lost almost her entire family in the Buncrana pier tragedy.
During the past week or so, the Belfast Telegraph has had a redesign. Not one of those heavy makeovers that have readers sputtering into their morning coffee, then penning indignant missives to the editor.
Like most readers, I reserve a special place for the letters page. Editors and marketers may sculpt and focus group-test a newspaper to within an inch of its life, but it's the letters page that really sums up the readership.
Anyone who believes journalism is dead should look at the Panama Papers. Likewise, anyone who believes the mainstream media is toast should do the same.
Last week the Irish Mail on Sunday apologised to Louise James, the Derry woman who lost her partner, mother, sister and two sons in the Buncrana pier tragedy.
Easter is early this year, meaning there will be a long run-up to the summer. What will make it even longer, for some anyway, is the sheer amount of politics - local and national - to be endured in the meantime.
A salutary lesson should have been learned this week by anyone who thinks the mere act of pixelating a photo will make it OK for publication.
This was described as a good week for transparency campaigners, with the Government not yielding to pressure for major reforms to the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.
You can always rely on a good old provocative piece about 'Norn Iron' culture to get Tele readers' juices flowing. Nelson McCausland did precisely that with an invective about the use of the word 'craic', not just north and south of the border, but across the water as well.
A common question from readers is: "Where do stories come from?" The bland answer to that is, of course, from a whole range of sources. When told that one of these sources is follow-ups from other media, often the next question is: "How do we know which ones these are?"
Sometimes it's difficult to understand why some politicians and civil servants are determined to keep the public in the dark about so many matters.
There are rumblings of a shake-up within Johnston Press, which owns several newspapers in Northern Ireland including the News Letter.
Readers may remember the Belfast Telegraph reporting last year how Queen's University had managed to get itself into a bit of a twist over free speech.
A bit of a chuckle was had by manys a Tele reader last week at the expense of two normally solid entities.
Ipso, the new Press watchdog, continues to make progress, despite having more enemies than Donald Trump's speechwriter.
Silly season (noun): "A time of year, usually in mid-summer or during a holiday period, characterised by exaggerated news stories, frivolous entertainments, outlandish publicity stunts and so on. Example: The Shroud (of Turin) is generally lumped in with silly season subjects, such as Atlantis, yetis and UFOs." (Source: Dictionary.com).
The following story is one of those yarns that immediately incites head-scratching and predictable rumblings of political correctness gone mad.
Some significant changes have been made to the Editors' Code of Practice, which is the cornerstone of the self-regulation system used by almost all the UK's newspapers.
Readers have inquired about the use of language in reports of the horrific massacres in Paris. Not particularly just in the Belfast Telegraph, but in the media generally.
The sheer scale and barbarity of the Paris attacks still takes the breath away. Thankfully media and political reaction has been measured with little outright Islamophobia.
To the Belfast Media Festival last Friday, and in particular a debate on how newspapers like this one are regulated.
Some important changes over at the Royal Courts of Justice of late. Indeed, it's refreshing to see signs of fresh thinking.
And so UTV, that famous, and indeed cherished, station will soon slip from local ownership.
Sometimes the world of social media is quite bizarre. It can be a force for immense good, whilst simultaneously also existing as a complete dustbin of dross.
News this week that the Independent Press Standards Organisation rejected a complaint against the Belfast Telegraph over an article about massacres of Polish Jews will hopefully draw a line under a rather heated affair.
The Nama hearings this week didn't just unleash a wave of claim, counter-claim and predictions that the skies over Stormont could soon be thick with writs.
Good to see vigorous argument in the pages of the paper over matters other than Stormont and the IRA. The Great Bus Lanes Debate is one of those arguments over seemingly mundane things that arouses passions for and against.
So what to think of the BBC's latest offer to 'co-operate' with local and regional newspapers on news gathering? Not much, at first blush.
A regular question from readers and acquaintances is what is the best route into journalism in Northern Ireland.
It's been a merry old time over at West Midlands Police headquarters. The Birmingham Mail probably had no idea of the hornets' nest it would stir up with a seemingly routine Freedom of Information request to its local force a few months ago.
Want to see the social media lynch mob in its full, snarling fury? Look no further than this week. The story of Cecil the lion and his death at the hands of an American 'hunter' illustrates the worst and the worst of humanity (yes, you read that correctly).
The grainy images of the haughty Labour peer Lord Sewel sniffing 'cocaine' and cavorting with prostitutes at his taxpayer-subsidised London flat are a welcome vindication of the traditional tabloid exposé.
One of the tools used to great effect by Northern Ireland's citizens and journalists is the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. It was described by Tony Blair as one of his biggest mistakes, so I guess it must be good then because Tony's reflex is towards secrecy.
On the publicity and political front, the Google 'Right to be Forgotten' issue has gone relatively quiet. That's the nature of news, I suppose; not everything can burn hot all the time.
The stoicism of the family of Arlene Arkinson is as humbling as it is impressive. It will be 21 years in August since Arlene, from Castlederg, was abducted and murdered after a night out at a disco in Co Donegal.
This week's big report on the plethora of powers which allow the UK authorities to monitor and collect information on citizens was a clear and comprehensive round-up of a very confusing picture.
Earlier this week, during a Stormont debate, Health Minister Simon Hamilton and others urged the media not to "sensationalise" the reporting of suicides in Northern Ireland.
Sorry to report, but it's been a bit of a chastening week for some journalists, particularly of the science variety. It has emerged that many outlets were conned by a spoof weight loss study that produced headlines such as 'Chocolate makes your waist shrink'.
There's an interesting time on the horizon for editors - and potentially for politicians, too. Just as IPSO, the new Press regulator, starts to get into its stride, a rival for the public's affections is up and running.
TwitterStorm: "A sudden flurry of activity on the Twitter social networking and microblogging service that influences current events. A focused effort of many people using Twitter to influence current events to their favour."
A recurrent theme among journalists these days is the perceived decline of the sub-editor. Subs, as they're known, are known for writing headlines and laying out pages. But one of their other critical tasks is to spot errors.
Embarrassing, short-sighted, counter-productive. And of course deeply, deeply ironic. The decision by the Queen's University vice-chancellor Patrick Johnston to cancel a conference on the fallout from the Charlie Hebdo murders in France is, in my opinion, all of the above and much more.
It was only a matter of time before Northern Ireland's antiquated libel laws ran up against the fairer system that ordains in England and Wales. And now it has happened.
There are growing concerns about the ability of journalists to properly question politicians on matters of public interest in this election campaign.
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