Obituary: Veteran Times journalist Dennis Dwyer

Dennis Dwyer, who spent 25 years at The Times, ending his career on the paper as a commissioning editor, has died aged 78.

Both popular and respected in the Times’s special reports department, he was charming, clubbable and avuncular, offering encouraging words to colleagues, maintaining standards and sharing fully in the fun – and frustrations – of producing countless pages for the paper.

Dennis William Dwyer was born in Kensington, west London, on 20 August 1930. His family moved soon after his birth and he attended the local grammar school in Kingsbury, north London. He served 18 months of National Service in the RAF before entering journalism.

Having been editor of Engineering News, he joined the Sheffield Telegraph as its industrial correspondent, a job he held for four years. He was promoted and sent to London to run the paper’s office in the capital.

He married his wife Sue, a policewoman, in August 1961 after a three-year courtship that began when he managed to fall over her feet two nights running in a crowded carriage on the Bakerloo Line of the Tube.

He was very soon headhunted by the Times, joining the special reports department in 1969. Special reports – which tend to be dependent on advertisements – are sometimes described by colleagues in marginally more glamorous departments as “advertorial”.

But the Times’s department of Dennis Dwyer’s era was so much more than that. Its substantial (broadsheet) pages pioneered serious coverage of computers and technology in the 1980s, when Google and Microsoft were unheard of – and commissioned a range of features with a focus on international and domestic business.

The scope of subject matter and the space that was devoted to it could only be dreamed of by today’s City editors. The department generated serious income for The Times.

Dennis Dwyer played a major part in that success, not least by his generosity of spirit and his unerring kindness. While not remotely stuffy or especially old school in outlook, he sprinkled conversations with “Dear boy” and “Dear Girl”.

A foray out of the office on Concorde saw him return to his reporting days after the flagship plane had to turn back mid-flight. The consumate journalist, he quickly filed the story to the newsdesk.

As well as being highly regard for his professionalism – he would immerse himself in the task at hand and could rarely be distracted – Dennis Dwyer was also popular socially.

He is described by a former colleague as “one of the last gentlemen journalists, confident in their ability so never feeling the need to shout, swear and bully, he just got on with the job and did it well”.

“He was a very kind bloke and generous – and never flinched from buying a round.”

After retiring in 1994, Dennis and his wife Sue, to whom he devoted himself for more than 50 years, moved from Bushey, Herts, to Hove, where they became avid fans of Sussex Country Cricket Club. In later years he confessed that he was glad his Fleet Street days were in the past.

He died after a long illness and is survived by Sue and his sister Joy.

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