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January 21, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 8:50am

Belfast Telegraph editor steps down after five years with return to reporting

By Charlotte Tobitt

The editor of the Belfast Telegraph is stepping down after five years to return to reporting as editor-at-large for Belfast.

Gail Walker took the helm at the daily newspaper in 2015, becoming its first ever female editor. The paper marks its 150th anniversary this year and was named daily/Sunday title of the year at the Regional Press Awards 2019.

The paper, owned by Northern Ireland’s Independent News and Media, has a circulation of 32,500 copies, of which about 7,000 are free, according to the latest available ABC figures.

Walker’s new role will involve producing “in-depth quality journalism and insight into a wide range of subjects relevant to life in a post-Brexit Northern Ireland,” an INM spokesperson said.

The company said the search for a new editor-in-chief of the Belfast Telegraph will commence shortly. Walker will remain in post until an appointment is made.

Walker said she had “immensely enjoyed” her time in the editor’s chair, which she said had been a “great privilege”.

“I’ve been very fortunate to work with a great team of colleagues and friends who every day produce some of the finest journalism in Northern Ireland,” she said.

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“Over the past five years we have broken many exclusives, kept people at the heart of every story and campaigned for the return of the Assembly.

“I’m very much looking forward to my new role as editor-at-large, which offers a terrific opportunity to spend more time on the subjects that really matter in Northern Ireland.”

Walker started her career as a graduate trainee at the Belfast Telegraph in 1990 and was previously the paper’s deputy editor (features).

INM was bought out by Belgian media group Mediahuis last year in a deal worth €145.6m (£123.7m).

INM publisher Peter Vandermeersch congratulated Walker on five “successful” years as editor.

“She and her team can be proud of the quality of the journalism which kept Northern Ireland informed and engaged during the turbulence of Brexit and the absence of the power-sharing government in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Picture: Independent News and Media

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