Deedes: 'I'd share a trench with Newland any time'

By Dominic Ponsford

Former Daily Telegraph chief executive Jeremy Deedes told Press
Gazette he would “share a trench anytime” with departing editor Martin
Newland.

And Newland’s predecessor Charles Moore, who is still a columnist
with the paper, also paid tribute, saying: “Martin did a tremendous job
in very difficult circumstances. He has always cared deeply for The
Daily Telegraph. I am very sorry he is going.”

Newland resigned
on Friday, a week after the appointment of an editor-inchief, John
Bryant, above his head without notice. Apparently Newland, who had been
in the job for just over two years, saw this as a dilution of his
authority as editor.

Chief executive Murdoch MacLennan was
apparently disappointed by Newland’s resignation and said in a
statement: “Both our proprietors and I had hoped to work with him for
the foreseeable future, so it is with regret to us all that he has
decided to move on.”

But journalists at the paper say they were not shocked to see him go.

One
Telegraph journalist said: “I don’t think it was a great surprise to
anyone here, people have seen it coming for some time. I think there’s
a lot of sympathy for Martin himself because lots of people have been
brought in over his head, and in the end people thought he was in a
fairly unsustainable position.

“If you are an editor and have an
editor- in-chief brought in above you with a brief to impose his vision
on the paper as an editor, you would have to wonder ‘what was wrong
with my vision?’.

“A lot of journalists liked him and respected
him as being a real newspaper news man and someone who came in when the
paper was in a huge amount of difficulty.”

Editor-in-chief John
Bryant is understood to have taken over day-to-day running of the paper
until a successor has been found. Newland is currently taking a break.

His
challenging editorship has included dealing with the resignation of the
owner amid claims of embezzlement, a six-month bidding war for the
paper, massive editorial job cuts and a staff vote for strike action.

Before
editing the Telegraph his career working for Conrad Black was similarly
stressful. He launched the National Post for him in Canada seven years
ago only to get sacked after the paper was sold, leaving him stranded
in Canada without a job.

He is understood to be proud of holding
the Telegraph together through the last two years and to have steered
it through a relaunch last month.

His former boss, Deedes, said:
“I think he was a very, very good editor and I’m very sad that he has
drawn stumps. He was a really good colleague to have and will always be
someone who I’d like to share a trench with.”

Meanwhile,
journalists at the Telegraph NUJ chapel are awaiting the PHOTOGRAPH:
PHIL ADAMS 6 FEBRUARY 1967 40 YEARS OF PRESS GAZETTE results of their
pay claim, which was submitted three weeks ago.

They are arguing
that journalists deserve a “productivity bonus” for maintaining
profitability at the paper despite the loss of 90 journalists in
February and the trauma of the sale process last year.

They are seeking a six per cent rise – or at least £2,250 a year – whichever is greater.

Telegraph
Group father of the chapel, John Carey, said: “We are looking for a
reward for what we have achieved in extraordinarily difficult
circumstances.

This period of turmoil for the Telegraph has
probably been even worse than the Times’s move to Wapping in 1984,
because this has gone on for years.

“Through all this turmoil the
staff of the Telegraph have continued to produce the best-selling, most
profitable quality newspaper in Britain.”

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