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Bullish Gilson marks five years at Bel Tel

The editor of one of the UK’s top five-selling regional dailies has marked five years in the job with a bullish interview about its audience growth.

Mike Gilson took over at the Belfast Telegraph in September 2009 having previously edited The Scotsman, The News, Portsmouth and the Peterborough Telegraph.

The paper now boasts a 48,000+ daily sale and three million unique users on its website plus 5,000 subscribers for its iPad version.

Said Mike: “The stuff that’s written by our journalists is probably seen by more people than would have seen the work of their predecessors. That’s the truth of the market we’re in today.”

In the interview, Mike described Northern Ireland as a “great place for journalism” saying:  “Everything in Northern Ireland is still contested. There is still a vision for the future to be played for and that makes journalism here more exciting.”

The full interview can be seen here.


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  • September 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Not sure the Bel Tel editor’s enthusiasm is warranted.
    Bel Tel editor Mike Gilson today reflects on being in charge for the past five years.
    Bel Tel editor having seen his full-time staff of around 120 when he started to half that, he has a pop at the BBC and government press officers.
    He states in the interview: “I’m not a BBC basher but it is a big, monolithic beast and I don’t think it’s healthy for a big public sector broadcaster to dominate journalism in what is a relatively small place…”
    On government PRs he adds: “Journalists are outnumbered about one to 10 by government press officers. That is an unequal battle.”
    When you allow de-skilling of journalists, getting rid of photographers and employ new staff on a casual and low pay basis…do you have the right to complain about other areas of our trade that offer better job prospects, terms and conditions?
    He goes on to say in this glorified PR blurb: “There are all the half-truths out there on social media and everyone’s got an opinion. Our job is to focus on giving people the facts…”
    He fails to mention company reported a loss of £28.2m in 20011 and £10.9m in 2012 (both losses blamed on impairment of investment).
    We don’t know what the losses are for 2013 because Bel Tel only offered abbreviated accounts (a single page) to Companies House in Belfast.
    Am sure the loss of nearly a quarter of the Bel Tel circulation (paid at full price) may not have improved look of the profit and loss ledger for 2013.
    Will we get the facts?
    BTW ABC figures for Belfast Telegraph (Jan-Jun 2014) reports daily average paid at full price sales at 31,271…a huge difference from 48,000 daily+ sale.

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  • September 10, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Two muppets above with axes to grind and too much time on their hands

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  • September 10, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Oh dear. Obviously hit a nerve there.
    The figures speak volumes.
    Signed, Swedish Chef.

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