Belfast Telegraph

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Belfast Telegraph
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Independent News & Media (a subsidiary of Mediahuis)
Founder(s)William & George Baird
EditorEoin Brannigan [1][2]
Political alignmentCentrism
HeadquartersBelfast Telegraph House
33 Clarendon Road
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Sister newspapersSunday Life
Belfast Telegraph offices, July 2010

The Belfast Telegraph is a daily newspaper published in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Independent News & Media. Reflecting its unionist tradition, the paper has historically been "favoured by the Protestant population",[3] while also being read within Catholic nationalist communities in Northern Ireland.[4][5][6]


It was first published as the Belfast Evening Telegraph on 1 September 1870 by brothers William and George Baird. Its first edition cost half a penny and ran to four pages covering the Franco-Prussian War and local news.

The evening edition of the newspaper was originally called the "Sixth Late", and "Sixth Late Tele" was a familiar cry made by vendors in Belfast City Centre in the past.

Its competitors are The News Letter and The Irish News but local editions of London-based red tops also compete in this market, selling at a cheaper price than the "Tele".

Sometimes described as having "unionist leanings",[7] and operating an editorial policy supportive of "moderate unionism",[8] the Belfast Telegraph was bought by the Dublin-based Independent News & Media group in March 2000.[9]

The Belfast Telegraph was entirely broadsheet until 19 February 2005, when the Saturday morning edition was introduced and all Saturday editions were converted to compact.[10] The weekday morning compact edition was launched on 22 March 2005.[11]

In 2015, the Telegraph launched the magazine supplement Family Life.[12]

The paper now publishes two editions daily, Belfast Telegraph final edition and the North West Telegraph which is distributed in Derry.

Editor Gail Walker reportedly resigned in January 2020.[13]


The Belfast Telegraph was named as Best UK Regional Newspaper of the Year 2012 by the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards.[14]


Reflecting a decline in newspaper sales generally, circulation of the Belfast Telegraph has declined as of the early 21st century, from 109,571 for the period July to December 2002,[15] to 31,340 for the same period in 2019.[16]

Year (period) Average circulation per issue
2002 (July to December)[15]
2009 (January to June)[17]
2010 (July to December)[18]
2012 (January to June)[19]
2013 (January to June)[20]
2014 (July to December)[21]
2015 (January to June)[22]
2016 (January to June)[23]
2017 (July to December)[24]
2018 (July to December)[25]
2019 (July to December)[16]


  1. ^ "Eoin Brannigan appointed new editor-in-chief of Belfast Telegraph". Irish Times. 24 April 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Irish Daily Star's Eoin Brannigan named editor-in-chief of Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life". 24 April 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  3. ^ "The Social Geography of Violence During the Belfast Troubles, 1920-22" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-11-16. the Belfast Telegraph has been seen to represent unionist political interests and has always been favoured by the Protestant population
  4. ^ "The Belfast Telegraph". Archived from the original on 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  5. ^ "Steve Dyson reviews the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and News Letter". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  6. ^ "Belfast's Newcomers". Global Journalist Magazine. Archived from the original on 29 April 2006. It is not overtly pro-unionist, though it lies slightly in that direction. For example, it usually uses the unionist expression "Londonderry" in favor of the nationalist term "Derry," but it still sells well in Catholic areas
  7. ^ "Reading between the lines". Irish Times. 3 August 1999. Retrieved 26 April 2020. the Belfast Telegraph which could be described as a tabloid with unionist leanings
  8. ^ "Bids lodged for upcoming sale of `Belfast Telegraph'". Irish Times. 9 February 2000. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Independent News and Media acquire the Belfast Telegraph". RTÉ News. 17 March 2000. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Belfast Telegraph expands Saturday coverage". Belfast Telegraph. 9 February 2005. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Ulster wakes up to new early Telegraph". Belfast Telegraph. 21 March 2005. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  12. ^ "New Family Life Magazine Launches!". April 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "Belfast Telegraph editor steps down after five years with return to reporting". 21 January 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  14. ^ Canning, Margaret (28 May 2012). "Belfast Telegraph is named best regional daily in the UK at prestigious awards ceremony". Belfast Telegraph. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Circulation - Jul to Dec 2002 - Belfast Telegraph - Evening" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Circulation - Jul to Dec 2019 - Belfast Telegraph" (PDF). Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  17. ^ "ABC Figures: All regional dailies fall in circulation - Journalism News from". HoldtheFrontPage. 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Belfast Telegraph sales fall further". The Guardian. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  19. ^ Gazette, Press (23 August 2012). "Dailies down in latest Northern Ireland ABCs". Press Gazette. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Irish Times sale falls by 9% and Irish News overtakes the Belfast Telegraph". The Guardian. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  21. ^ "UK regional dailies see sales decline by average of 10 per cent year on year". Press Gazette. 25 February 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Ireland's newspapers suffer continuing slide in circulations". The Guardian. 21 August 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  23. ^ "ABC Figures for island of Ireland announced - Journalism News from". HoldtheFrontPage. 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Circulation - Jul to Dec 2017 - Belfast Telegraph" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  25. ^ "Circulation - Jul to Dec 2018 - Belfast Telegraph" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2020.

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