Belfast Telegraph

The Belfast Telegraph is now a multi-platform media brand. The reorganisation of resources which started in 2020 continued in 2021 as we hired some of the best talent in Northern Ireland. Sam McBride, Allison Morris, Lisa Smyth, Aine Toner, Ciaran Dunbar, Sharon O’Neill have all been recruited and all have a significant impact on what we produce over seven days a week in print, online, on our podcasts and on video.

Sam McBride’s series of exposes on the treatment of vet Tamara Bronckaers has had ramifications throughout the Northern Ireland civil service. She blew the whistle about animal suffering and abuse of the livestock traceability system in Northern Ireland and ended up being hounded out of her job for her troubles. She received a £1.25m settlement from DAERA, unbelievably sparking an ill-fated government appeal, along with an "unreserved" apology after an industrial tribunal found she was forced out of her job. In Lisa Smyth we have the most diligent of health correspondents who has shone a light on Northern Ireland’s hopelessly underperforming NHS, uncovering scandal after scandal. One particularly shocking example was the story of an agency worker, hired by the Belfast Trust to work with children, even though he was awaiting trial for attempted murder. Our reporting delivers subscribers as well. Sam’s column on the tragic death from Covid of Paul Hamill, a DUP councillor, who was duped by Covid misinformation brought in 81 subscribers. It is not just online though we have made progress. We relaunched our Weekend magazine in April 2021 with a brand-new look, to widespread acclaim. We have also shown how we can accord the big occasions the coverage they, and our traditional print audience, deserve. The day after Queen Elizabeth II’s death we had 50 pages in our newspaper and we saw an uplift in sales of over 60%. Similarly our extensive coverage of May’s Assembly election put on 10% extra sale for us. And while we saw a print sale increase that day, it was online where the election elevated us to a new level. Our coverage, complete with state-of-the-art graphics, was faster than anywhere else. We had reporters at each of the counts and their hard work paid off as we accumulated 1.8m pageviews over the two days of counting. We have become the go-to place to read about Northern Ireland politics and before during and after the election campaign it was us who broke the stories that matter. With political editor Suzanne Breen and a top team of columnists and reporters, our coverage has become the envy of our rivals. We have seen a 5% growth in pageviews in 2022 to date, compared to the same period last year. This has been achieved while also delivering ambitious targets to grow our premium audience, picking up 12,000 subscriptions since January 1st 2021 with 7.7k paying customers currently in contract.