The death of former Grimsby Evening Telegraph editor, Peter Moore, leaves the regional newspaper industry mourning one of its greatest stars.
Moore edited the Telegraph for 20 years, an era which proved to be one of the most dynamic in the paper’s history.
He led the paper through times of massive change which saw it rightfully claim its place as a leading title in the industry.
It was a story which began 61 years ago in the small East Riding village of Newbald, then moving to Beverley Grammar School and, in 1960, to the Hull Daily Mail newsroom, where he was employed as a junior reporter, but his role as such was not to last for long.
His natural skills in communication were quickly recognised and he was moved into the sub-editors’ department, learning the craft which was to shape the rest of his career.
Always a sporting enthusiast, Moore became well known in Hull and the East Riding for his coverage of horse racing.
His weekly Sports Mail column, Racing Gossip, was essential reading for followers of the sport.
From sub-editing and sports reporting, he graduated to deputy chief sub-editor in 1968 and then to chief sub-editor in 1979, when there came another move, to the office marked ‘assistant editor’.
November 1982 saw his appointment as editor of the Grimsby Evening Telegraph following the retirement of Frank Shelton.
It was to prove the beginning of a memorable chapter in the newspaper’s history.
Peter Moore epitomised what local newspapers are all about: the very slogan on the top of page one each night underlined the fact – “Local news for local people”.
During his time with the paper, the Telegraph became a trend-setter throughout the industry, demonstrating time and again that a local newspaper can be the people’s champion, campaigning on behalf of local interests and reflecting in words and pictures events – however small – in the life of the community.
Campaigns for compensation for fishermen, to provide telephones on the A180, to raise money to help old folk in cold weather and many more, helped underline the Telegraph’s role with conviction and style. And it brought wide acclaim.
But one event above all others underlined the success of Peter Moore’s reign as editor. It happened on a quiet morning in 1993.
The Telegraph was able to reveal the impending departure from office of Chancellor Norman Lamont.
It was a story in the classic newspaper tradition, one which brought the Telegraph instant international fame – and earned it the prestigious Scoop of the Year award.
In other ways too, his influence on the newspaper industry was considerable.
There are many journalists on newspapers across Britain who today owe their success to the opportunities given to them at the Telegraph by Peter Moore.
In his two decades in the editor’s chair, Peter guided the paper through massive changes in the way the paper was produced, firstly through computerisation and then overseeing its change from broadsheet to tabloid format.
Away from the office, Peter maintained his love of horse racing throughout his life, in recent years helping promote Market Rasen racecourse.
As a young man he was a keen footballer, once attending trials for Leeds United.
But it was golf which was to become his real sporting interest in more recent years, his love of the game reflecting his dedication both as a player and administrator.
He was a former popular captain of his local Waltham Windmill Golf Club.
Despite his work and outside interests, Peter remained the complete family man, devoted to his wife Carol and daughters Lisa and Stefanie.
Even in retirement, he continued to take an active interest in the Telegraph and was always keen to pass on news and ideas.
Peter Moore showed that the role of a local journalist is more than simply passing on the events of the day. It is about community involvement, as the modern Telegraph proves.
In decades to come, when the story of the Telegraph is written, his name will feature large.
His legacy is a paper which is looked on by the entire industry as a shining example of what local journalism is all about.
It is a fitting epitaph.
Tributes to Peter Moore:
Viscount Rothermere, the chairman of Daily Mail and General Trust who own Northcliffe Newspapers, the Grimsby Telegraph’s parent company, said: “Peter Moore devoted the majority of his working life to the Grimsby Telegraph. He was a gifted journalist and a natural leader who felt a deep responsibility and love for his adopted home of Grimsby. During his 20 years as editor, Peter successfully used these skills for the benefit of the town and spearheaded numerous campaigns on behalf of his readers.”
Former chairman of Northcliffe Newspapers Group, Ian Park, was a colleague and friend for many years.
He said: “For over 20 years, Peter Moore was an outstanding editor of the Evening Telegraph. During this time, the newspaper sustained its circulation and was among the best performing evening newspapers in England. Not only was he a good editor but he was a witty and entertaining companion, an exceptional manager and a man who underneath an appearance of exceptional strength, was also caring and sensitive.”
Neil Fowler, former editor of the Lincolnshire Echo and now publisher of the Toronto Sun, said: “He epitomised what a great regional editor should be – at one with his community, knowing exactly what his readers wanted and not afraid to stand up for them.
He was funny, loyal and kind. You always left him feeling better.”
Reprinted with permission from the Grimsby Evening Telegraph