Peter Harland, former editor of Bradford’s Telegraph & Argus and
a man at the centre of a major dispute in British newspaper history,
Born in Shipley in 1934, Peter Harland was in his early 30s when he became editor-in-chief of the T&A.
he later played a key role in the industrial dispute over the
introduction of new computer typesetting technology at The Times
During his editorship of the T&A from 1967
to 1973, Harland established a reputation as a campaigner with a love
of exposÃ©s. After leading a strong fight over anomalies in the Criminal
Justice Act, he was Campaigning Journalist of the Year in 1968.
He also continued a tradition of giving Bradford’s Muslim population a voice, which included a column in the paper in Urdu.
at the T&A, he held posts in the city with organisations such as
the Bradford Area Development Association and as governor of Friends of
Cartwright Hall, Bradford. He was also president of the Guild of
British Newspaper Editors.
He left Bradford to move to London
where he joined The Sunday Times, later taking charge of setting up new
computer typesetting technology, which saw him clash with print unions.
son of the Archdeacon of Rochester, Harland was a keen churchgoer and
during the 11-month shutdown of The Times and the Sunday Times in 1979,
his faith came into its own as he tried to negotiate between the two
The papers eventually reopened without the new technology
– only for subsequent owner Rupert Murdoch to circumvent the unions by
transferring production from Fleet Street to Wapping after Harland had
Harland was educated at Leeds Grammar School and Denstone
College in Staffordshire. He read history at Sidney Sussex College,
Cambridge, where he edited the student paper Varsity in his final year.
took up his first editorship at the age of 31 at the Yorkshire Evening
Press in York. But he was sacked following a critical editorial, giving
him the opportunity to take over the helm of the T&A a week later.
1981, he took early retirement from his post as managing editor (new
technology) at Times Newspapers and spent some time setting up papers
in Sri Lanka.
After his return he founded Bookwatch, a company
that provides UK book sales data information which is used to compile
weekly bestseller lists.
In the 1980s, when Press Gazette was owned by Timothy Benn, Harland acted as a consultant to the paper.
He lived in Oxford and leaves his wife, Jennifer, and a son and a daughter.
Fitzwalter, who was a young reporter under Harland at the T&A and
later executive producer of Granada’s World in Action, said: “I would
describe him as a brilliant, inspirational editor, witnessed by the
fact we won four national awards in five years under his editorship.
time we worked in Bradford together was a very dramatic period and it
demonstrated what a tremendous news area the city was.”
Jo Winrow, Telegraph & Argus reporter