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Take Five: Paul Deal

Each week HTFP asks a leading regional press figure five set questions about their career – including how it started, their best story or headline, and which other journalists and publications they most admire.

This week: Paul Deal, left, former editor of the Northants Evening Telegraph and the Bath Chronicle.

If you would like to take part in the series, email us on editor.htfp@and.co.uk.

What was your first job in journalism?

I was the first trainee hired by the Evening Echo (Basildon and Southend), aged 17, in 1971.

Who or what inspired you to go into journalism?

As a 12-year-old in 1966, I did a paper round in Plaistow, East London. I remember reading the front pages and thinking what a great job it would be to write the news. I went to see George Lynn, editor of the Stratford Express, and he said: “Look, son, come back when you’re a bit older”.

What would you rate as your best story, headline or picture?

Best headline: “Patten out, Tories in”, Bath Evening Chronicle, election special, 1992. Chris Patten, Tory Party chairman, was surprisingly defeated as Bath MP by a Lib Dem. We had a memorable front page picture of his wife in tears on the Guildhall steps beside her defeated husband. The twist was that Patten’s efforts as chairman paid off and the Tories were re-elected. We ran a bumper election special with full colour and graphics and it sold like hot cakes.

Who would you rate as the best journalist you have worked either with or for?

This is difficult because I have had the privilege of working with, or for, many first rate journalists. I must put David Williams, launch editor of the Evening Echo, at the top (and not just because he gave me my first job). Honourable mentions to: Nicholas Herbert (Former Editorial Director, Westminster Press), the late Bob James, Peter Sands, Allan Prosser and Jim Worsdale.

Apart from your own title, which other newspapers do you most admire?

The Times.

  • Paul Deal worked in the regional press for 23 years including stints at editor-in-chief of the Northants Evening Telegraph and Bath Chronicle. He also spent 15 years with BBC News in London. He now works in corporate communications for Wiltshire Police.