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Echo keeps its readers in the picture

Deputy Editor of the Liverpool Echo, Tony Storey, has told readers: “Believe it or not, it’s quite rare to hear the cry – ‘Hold the front page’ in the Echo newsroom.”

But he went on to explain that it was heard three times recently.

In his regular column he told how, in common with other regional dailies, the Echo was on the telephone to Downing Street after it was announced that the first pictures of baby Blair were to be released at 3pm on Monday.

This was too late for the day’s main edition and gentle persuasion by Echo picture editor Steve Shakeshaft, and others, finally resulted in the release being brought forward by 90 minutes. This managed to catch both the Echo’s afternoon editions. “But it was nail-biting stuff,” said Mr Storey.

Another near thing involved Echo photographer Andrew Teebay, who was assigned to cover an air drama at Liverpool Airport. He was refused permission to go beyond the emergency services cordon. Seconds before the stricken plane landed in a shower of sparks, he climbed on top of a pub wall to take dramatic pictures which were later used on the front page of a national newspaper.

Another photographer, Eddie Barford, was also involved in some drama after the Echo chartered a light aircraft from which to photograph a huge fire on an industrial estate. Time was critical and dense smoke from the fire meant there was a risk of an air exclusion zone being set up by Liverpool Airport.

Luckily, Eddie and reporter Philippa Bellis were able to take off and their words and pictures were filed back to the Echo just in time for the day’s last edition.

  • Following the Blair baby photo release, Society of Editors’ director Bob Satchwell said he would be dropping a note to the Prime Minister’s chief press secretary, Alastair Campbell, asking him not to regard 1.30pm as a precedent for releasing future photographs.

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