Belfast Telegraph

They're not all in ink... but we still have six editions of the Belfast Telegraph

By Paul Connolly

One veteran journalist was reminiscing in the pub about the good old days. "I remember you could get copy into the final edition of the Tele at 4pm, maybe even 5pm," he said wistfully, a twinkle in his eye. "Them were the days."

For a brief moment I was tempted to let myself think he might have actually written 'them were the days' in the paper, but I knew there was more chance of meeting the Pope on the Shankill.

He was, apparently, an absolute stickler for grammar and syntax back in his youth (and in his middle and older ages, too, come to think of it).

And, anyway, the Editor would have had his guts for garters, as they used to say, for so heinous a crime, or anything even mildly approaching it.

But, of course, you can still get copy into the Tele at 4pm these days. And 5pm and 9pm, and at any time of the day or night.

True, the 20th century edition structure isn't there – the old evening edition structure. The famous 'Sixth Tele', 'Sixth Late Tele' and even the 'Eighth Tele' of yesteryear are memories now. But there are still two editions of the printed paper, the North West Telegraph and the Final.

Then there is the iPad edition, which is put to bed after the Final, but can be updated throughout the night if necessary, and also throughout the day.

The app contains video and interactive graphics, as well as news feeds and the latest content.

The app also contains a pdf viewer that serves up exact copies of supplements and also pages from the printed paper – so that's another edition.

There is the iPhone app, which is a sort of light version of the iPad app, focusing on mobile-friendly news and sport.

Then there's the website,, award-winning, continually updated and serving up millions of pages a month with content from the printed paper, unique content created for the website and feeds from several august news brands including the Press Association, Associated Press, Getty, the Independent and the Irish Independent. Plus locally-created and national and international video.

All in all, that makes six editions – two print, two apps, the pdf viewer and the website. All of which have to be staffed, edited and monitored. So, yes, you can't get words into the printed edition at teatime any more, or admittedly anywhere even near teatime. But the journalism never stops, from the morning papers and apps until the overnight web updates, 24 hours a day.

And that's the key point. Those with only ink running in their veins might not like it all that much, but it's how modern readers increasingly want to consume their news.

Nevertheless, there is still a romance about print for many generations and it would be wonderful if anyone had audio, or video, recordings of those 'Sixth Tele' cries that used to echo down Royal Avenue and the other Belfast streets – they would take pride of place in our archives.

Even today people will very often let out a little newspaper courier cry when you meet them and say you have a connection with the Belfast Telegraph. "Sixth Tele-o!"

Meanwhile, mea culpa. An apology is owed for a slip on the front of CarFinder on Wednesday.

A headline relating to a review of the Mini D Hatch contained a reference to 'D-Day Delight'.

This was meant to be a pun on the 'D' in Mini Hatch D, but completely overlooked the obvious fact that the 70th anniversary of D-Day is today.

Sorry to any veterans, or their relatives and friends, who were annoyed by the unfortunate juxtaposition. It was unintentional, but nevertheless it did happen and was insensitive.

As I okayed the page for publication, the fault is mine. @BelTelReadersEd

Belfast Telegraph


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