Hugh Lambert

Final editor of the Irish Press

Hugh Lambert, the last editor of the Irish Press, died in Dublin after a short illness. He was 61.

Journalism
was in his blood. His father had been a printer with both the Irish
Press and Irish Times. Hugh began his career as a sub-editor with the
highly successful Evening Press in the 1960s. In 1971 he also became
film and TV critic for the Sunday Press, then the biggest circulation
national Sunday in the Republic. Subsequently becoming features editor
of the Sunday Press, he was appointed production editor in 1980.

On
the departure of the celebrated editor of the broadsheet Irish Press,
Tim Pat Coogan, Hugh became editor of the daily in 1987. Within six
months he was given the task of transforming the Press into a tabloid
but the paper was already in considerable difficulty through lack of
investment and the company had entered into a disastrous association
with the American Ingersoll company. Coogan had made his opposition to
the tabloid version of the Irish Press clear so for Hugh, it became
evident that he had been given a poisoned chalice. The tabloid format
was not one which regular readers took to. Moreover, the task of
transforming the Irish Press from within proved almost impossible, with
reporters remaining broadsheet in approach and reluctant to embrace the
style of the tabloid format.

The only colour available on
antiquated printing presses was the red used in the paper’s masthead.
The last issue of the Irish Press appeared in May 1995 and Hugh, along
with many colleagues in the Irish Press group, was left jobless.

After
spells with the fledgling Leader, and later the short-lived Evening
News, Hugh joined the Irish Times, initially on the ‘Education and
Living’ supplement.

Hugh Lambert is survived by his wife Angela and sons Alan, Paul, John and Sam. He was predeceased by a daughter, Anna Victoria.

By Des Cryan

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