Echo editors are reunited

By Sarah Lagan

The past six surviving editors of the South Wales Echo got together
for the first time to discuss their favourite moments at the helm of
the Trinity daily to mark Local Newspaper Week.

Boasting 34 years of experience on the paper between them, they met at the Echo offices at Thomson House in Cardiff.

Geoff Rich, 74, who edited the paper for 19 years until 1990, recalled the miners’ strike,
while Pat Pilton, 66, who edited the paper until 1993, described how
the paper tried to involve its readers by its staunch support for the
Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice and the creation of its Junior Bluebirds
football club.

Under Keith Perch’s three-year editorship until
1996, the Echo switched to a tabloid format. Perch, 43, said: “The
paper was crying out for it. We put the emphasis on lots of hard news
and campaigning.

When we launched as a tabloid, the front-page
lead was a choice between Cardiff taking on 200 new teachers or a
gruesome murder in the city. We chose the teachers story.”

Next
in line was Robin Fletcher, 39, who was editor until 2001. He oversaw
two general elections, two British Lions tours, and the birth of the
National Assembly, but said the death of Princess Diana was “by far the
biggest story”.

Alastair Milburn, 36, who was editor until 2004,
said his biggest story was “Echogate”, when the newspaper revealed an
attempt by a council officer to get letters praising council leader
Russell Goodway published in the Echo.

Current editor Richard Williams, 37, said: “The Echo has a great pedigree and a good name throughout the industry.”

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