A doyen of journalism training who co-authored the industry’s media law bible for more than 30 years has died aged 87.
A former assistant editor at Thomson Regional Newspapers, he moved into journalism training in the 1960s, helping found the group’s training centres in Newcastle and Cardiff.
Despite suffering ill health, he continued to play a part in the Newcastle centre, now run by the Press Association, and was still checking papers for media law exams at the centre until a month ago.
Tony Johnston, head of Press Association Training said: “Walter Greenwood was a dedicated, influential and moved loved figure in journalism training and media law for nearly half a century.
“As co-editor of Essential Law for Journalists he cared passionately about ensuring that journalists could stay within the law but still get their stories published.
“Even as his health worsened his appetite for news and his desire to keep in touch with changes in the law never waned. He followed the careers of every trainee who passed through his hands and had a phenomenal memory that allowed him to recall every name, every face and every law exam result going back nearly 50 years.
“He continued to work with the trainees in Newcastle right up until 12 months ago, setting and marking exams. We will all miss him greatly.”
Mike Dodd, legal editor at PA added: “The Greenwood way was to know as much law as the lawyers so that if you published you might be damned but you would rarely be sued – an approach which has served generations of journalists well.
“He always understood that what an editor wanted to know was not why a story should not be published, but how it could be.”
Walter began his career as a reporter with the Dewsbury Reporter series, and later joined the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette as deputy news editor.
Until recently he was also the head of the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ law board, helping set the standards of legal competence expected of all trainee journalists.
NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher said: “Walter began his association with the NCTJ in the 1960s and remained an advisor on our media law syllabus and a contributor to the ubiquitous McNae’s which he co-authored and contributed to for more than 30 years.
“He was regarded with great affection and esteem by all who worked with him. Modest, good humoured, a true gentleman, totally professional and committed to standards, he loved newspapers and was passionate about journalism and training.
“I’ll never forget his kindness and support, and will always be grateful for his wise counsel and honest advice.”