GRAHAM MCKENZIE

My
newsagent is tired by breakfast time; there are at least 17 morning
papers regularly on sale here – 10 nationals plus four from Belfast and
three from Dublin. The Sun outsells our Ulster local mornings.

The
Daily Mail impresses me because it’s a clever package, but its rants
can be a turn-off. Richard Littlejohn will make it worse. You can wreck
your case by overstating it.

The Times’s business coverage
impresses me. So does The Independent’s weekly media section,
particularly the recent extended profile of Sir David Frost. And
there’s a certain fascination in reading The Guardian’s corrections and
apologies; the Irish Times does this, too.

“How can the NHS be
described as free when we all pay for it?” Jeremy Paxman asked recently
in The Daily Telegraph. Paxman is a delight. When he worked with us at
BBC Belfast, he always addressed me, public-school style, as McKenzie –
which doesn’t go down well here. But now, when I see him dismantle an
evasive politico, I shout: “Well done, Paxman.”

I don’t know how
I managed before Radio 5 began. Julian Worricker impresses every Sunday
and I love anything by Gordon Brown’s former PR henchman, cheeky
chappie Charlie Whelan. For a non-sports type like me, Eamonn Holmes,
with his enthusiasm, makes football interesting.

Locally,
I am impressed by the amount of money the BBC spends on regional
television programmes. Our province-wide commercial station, Downtown
Radio, exerts a strange fascination as phone-in host Harry Castle’s
programme veers from pothole complaints to the McCartney sisters.

I
am keeping an eye on the Belfast News Letter (circulation 28,403). If
anybody can turn it around after years of decline, it’s the new editor,
Austin Hunter. Founded in 1737, it’s the oldest continuously published
daily in these islands.

Graham McKenzie was a Daily Express
reporter, then the editor of BBC Radio News, Northern Ireland. He is
now a freelance journalist and PR consultant

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