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Belfast Telegraph

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

The Belfast Telegraph is a daily newspaper published in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Independent News & Media, which also publishes the Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent and various other newspapers and magazines in Ireland. Its editor is Eoin Brannigan.[1] 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. Local editions were published for distribution to Enniskillen, Dundalk, Newry, and Derry.[citation needed]

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

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.

Its editor, since April 2020, is Eoin Brannigan.[1]


The Belfast Telegraph was named as Best UK Regional Newspaper of the Year 2012 by the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards.[13]


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,[14] to 31,340 for the same period in 2019.[15]

Year (period) Average circulation per issue
2002 (July to December)[14]
2009 (January to June)[16]
2010 (July to December)[17]
2012 (January to June)[18]
2013 (January to June)[19]
2014 (July to December)[20]
2015 (January to June)[21]
2016 (January to June)[22]
2017 (July to December)[23]
2018 (July to December)[24]
2019 (July to December)[15]


  1. ^ a b c Slattery, Laura (24 April 2020). "Eoin Brannigan appointed new editor-in-chief of Belfast Telegraph". The Irish Times. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  2. ^ Mayhew, Freddy (24 April 2020). "Irish Daily Star's Eoin Brannigan named editor-in-chief of Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life". Press Gazette. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  3. ^ "The Social Geography of Violence During the Belfast Troubles, 1920–22" (PDF). Retrieved 16 November 2018. 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 16 November 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  5. ^ Dyson, Steve (23 April 2015). "Dyson at Large: Religion drives UK's biggest regional print market". Hold the Front Page. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  6. ^ Gosling, Paul. "Belfast's Newcomers". Global Journalist. Archived from the original on 29 April 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2021. 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. ^ Unsworth, Monika (3 August 1999). "Reading between the lines". The Irish Times. Retrieved 26 January 2021. the Belfast Telegraph which could be described as a tabloid with unionist leanings
  8. ^ McGrath, Brendan (9 February 2000). "Bids lodged for upcoming sale of 'Belfast Telegraph'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  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!". Belfast Telegraph. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ a b "Circulation – Jul to Dec 2002 – Belfast Telegraph – Evening" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Circulation – Jul to Dec 2019 – Belfast Telegraph" (PDF). Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  16. ^ "ABC Figures: All regional dailies fall in circulation – Journalism News from". HoldtheFrontPage. 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  17. ^ Greenslade, Roy (18 February 2011). "Belfast Telegraph sales fall further". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  18. ^ "Dailies down in latest Northern Ireland ABCs". Press Gazette. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  19. ^ Greenslade, Roy (22 August 2013). "Irish Times sale falls by 9% and Irish News overtakes the Belfast Telegraph". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  20. ^ "UK regional dailies see sales decline by average of 10 per cent year on year". Press Gazette. 25 February 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Ireland's newspapers suffer continuing slide in circulations". The Guardian . 21 August 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  22. ^ "ABC Figures for island of Ireland announced – Journalism News from". HoldtheFrontPage. 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Circulation – Jul to Dec 2017 – Belfast Telegraph" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  24. ^ "Circulation – Jul to Dec 2018 – Belfast Telegraph" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2020.
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Belfast Telegraph
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