Clive Pulman: Welsh journalist and training chief for Thompson Regional Newspapers

Clive Pulman, reporter, editor and journalism mentor, has died aged 68, after suffering heart and lung problems.

Born in Wales in 1934, Pulman did national service between 1953 and 1955 before returning to briefly work at his father’s wholesale business but, deciding it wasn’t for him, joined a Merthyr news agency.

After leaving the South Wales Echo as a reporter in 1962, he became news editor of the Reading Evening Post in 1968.

In 1970 he moved to Cardiff to teach journalism for Thomson Regional Newspapers, as it was then called, returning to the Reading paper as deputy editor in 1972. Five years later he returned to Merthyr to become editor-in-chief of the Celtic Press Group, and later became managing editor.

After a year at the Free Press of Monmouthshire group, Pulman was asked in 1985 to move to Nairobi to be managing director of the East African Standard, which he did, spending eight years there with his wife June.

In 1993 he retired to Merthyr.

He is survived by his wife and their daughter, Deborah.

Tony Berry writes: Clive Pulman’s arrival in 1985 as news editor of the Pontypool-based Free Press of Monmouthshire group was a cause for some anxiety. Alone in the Chepstow district office and not long out of journalism college, I was sure this newsman would find me out.

Soon after joining the company, Clive called in to meet me in Chesptow one morning. “Show me around the town,” he ordered.

We stepped out into the High Street and walked up the hill. After 300 yards he stopped. “Let’s go in here,” he said, indicating the George Hotel. “You’ll have a pint?” he half asked, half told me. As he sipped his orange juice and lemonade, he instructed me: “Keep the copy coming, but don’t bore me. Try to surprise me and make me laugh. OK?” Some weeks later, Clive phoned and was told by an advertising girl that I was at Chepstow races. “You mean Chepstow Magistrates?” “No, Chepstow races,” she repeated.

On my return to the office, he barked down the phone: “I want two page leads out of that race meeting – and a winning nap for next week.” Clive loved mischief. The editor at the time was an ambitious Labour councillor who, not wanting to jeopardise his political career, was solidly behind the miners’ strike. When he was on holiday and Clive was holding the fort, an editorial appeared which suggested the NUM leadership ought to ballot its members on whether to go on with the strike. Result: dozens of angry miners picketing the Free Press office and the editor on his return having to square things with the brothers. (The editor, Don Touhig, is today a minister in the Wales Office.) For a wet-behind-the-ears journalist with bugger-all experience, Clive was the ideal news editor.

He didn’t just tell you when you’d got something wrong; he explained why it was wrong and how you could get it right next time. And all without making you feel a total prat. I never found out why Clive chose to join the Free Press at that stage in his career, but I’m certainly glad that he did.

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