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Death of former editor known for his campaigning

A former regional newspaper editor who was known for his campaigning and love of exposées, has died.

Peter Harland edited the Yorkshire Evening Press in York before joining the Telegraph & Argus in Bradford – after being sacked from the former paper following a critical editorial.

During his six years at the T&A he was named Campaigning Journalist of the Year, after leading a strong fight over anomalies in the Criminal Justice Act.

He also continued a tradition of giving the city’s Muslim population a voice which included a column in Urdu, and 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.

In 1973 he moved to London to join The Sunday Times, later taking charge of setting up new computer typesetting technology, which saw him clash with print unions.

During an 11-month shut-down of The Times and The Sunday Times in 1979 he tried to negotiate between the two sides. The papers eventually re-opened without the new technology – only for subsequent owner Rupert Murdoch to circumvent the unions by transferring production from Fleet Street to Wapping after Peter had left.

In 1981 he took early retirement from his post as managing editor (new technology) at Times Newspapers and spent time setting up papers in Sri Lanka.

After his return he founded Bookwatch, a company to track book sales, used to compile weekly best-sellers lists.

Ray Fitzwalter, who was a young reporter under Peter at the T&A, said: “I would describe him as a brilliant inspirational editor, witnessed by the fact we won four national awards in five years.

“The time we worked in Bradford together was a very dramatic period and it demonstrated what a tremendous news area the city was.”