Headline Challenge - the year so far in quirky headlines

The Northern Echo:

9:10am Friday 22nd May 2015

The Headline Challenge is played out every week day between The Northern Echo and BBC Tees. You can play along by following @echopeterbarron and @alibrownlee on Twitter.

Mating in Saltburn...

The Northern Echo:

9:53am Tuesday 12th May 2015

THANK you to the ladies of Saltburn Methodist Monday At Eight Club, and assorted guests, who had me as their guest speaker last night and paid me with a generous cheque to the Butterwick Children's Hospice.

An important local place in the new media world

The Northern Echo:

1:24pm Friday 8th May 2015

THERE have been many elections to cover in my 35 years in newspapers but the latest was extraordinary for all kinds of reasons:

Everyone loves a cock-up

7:18pm Thursday 7th May 2015

DARLINGTON found itself at the centre of unwanted national attention today when the Ukip candidate was missed from the ballot papers at one polling station and 89 votes had already been cast.

The talk of the town

The Northern Echo:

2:17pm Tuesday 5th May 2015

RAY Mallon’s final civic duty as the Mayor of Middlesbrough was to present acclaimed artist Mackenzie Thorpe with a richly deserved lifetime of achievement award from his home town.

The night our football writers danced in tutus

The Northern Echo:

7:34pm Wednesday 15th April 2015

THE death of Irish crooner Ronnie Carroll was reported this week and prompted a memory from Darlington and Stockton Times deputy editor and Darlington Football Club fan Andy Brown. During one of the Quakers' recurring cash crises, this time in the early eighties, there was a fundraising campaign to raise £50,000 to ensure the club’s survival. The appeal was backed by the Evening Despatch and The Northern Echo. One of the fundraisers was a variety concert at the Civic Theatre. Among the ‘attractions’ was a dance performance, in tutus, by, among others, Despatch and Echo football writers Dave Lewis and Jim Gilchrist. Top of the bill was Ronnie Carroll. His most famous hit was Roses are Red, and he twice represented the UK at Eurovision, in 1962 and 1963, with Ring-A-Ding Girl and Say Wonderful Things, finishing fourth both times. The £50,000 was raised and Quakers lived to fight another day.

Making a difference - 16 years on

The Northern Echo:

6:31pm Wednesday 15th April 2015

AN invitation to be guest speaker at the Ladies Luncheon Club at Rudding Park Hotel, near Harrogate, last week was an opportunity to not only raise some more money for the Butterwick Children's Hospice but to underline the importance of campaigning journalism. The Northern Echo campaign which followed the death of much-loved friend and colleague Ian Weir, at the age of 38, was given as a powerful example. Ian, an award-winning photographer at the Echo, and dad-of-two, died 16 years ago because he had to wait eight months for an "urgent" heart bypass operation at what was then South Cleveland General Hospital in Middlesbrough. At the time, the average waiting time for a heart bypass in Britain was12 months. Across the rest of Europe, it was three months. Ian's untimely death inspired a Northern Echo campaign – led by the paper's health editor Barry Nelson –  which resulted in British waiting times being brought in line with the rest of Europe. As Tony Blair's local paper, we couldn't be ignored and the national press joined in the calls for action. Ian's local MP Alan Milburn happened to be Health Secretary and he did what had to be done. After telling this story to the ladies at Rudding Park, June Stevens stood up and said: "I'd like to thank Ian Weir and The Northern Echo for saving my life." When June needed a heart bypass four years ago, the operation was carried out within three months. She is one of countless people who are in the debt of Ian Weir.

News in briefs

The Northern Echo:

5:15pm Wednesday 15th April 2015

MY children are more or less grown up now so I don't have a lot to do with Spongebob SquarePants.

You couldn't make it up...

The Northern Echo:

9:35am Tuesday 14th April 2015

MY favourite story of the day falls into the "you couldn't make it up category".

Too good to check

11:28am Thursday 2nd April 2015

THERE is a rather shameful phrase used in newspaper offices: “Too good to check.”

Top Ten songs for Sir Paul McCartney being inspired in the loo

The Northern Echo:

9:31am Wednesday 1st April 2015

A story about Sir Paul McCartney finding song-writing inspiration in the loo generated a record entry for our daily Headline Challenge.

Blankety-Blank... the Tory candidate's gaffe that acts as an election warning

The Northern Echo:

2:49pm Monday 30th March 2015

WITH the General Election just weeks away, editors are being hit by a snowstorm of press releases from eager candidates.

Is this the most tenuous local angle on the Clarkson sacking?

The Northern Echo:

5:07pm Wednesday 25th March 2015

WE all like to try to get local angles on big stories but I can't help feeling the Cheddar Valley Gazette has stretched things a bit too far.

The Maori the merrier!

The Northern Echo:

3:41pm Wednesday 25th March 2015

Me and my big mouth...

Running into an inspiration

The Northern Echo:

10:18am Thursday 19th March 2015

ONE of the nice things about being a local journalist, and being part of the community you serve, is that you run into stories all the time.

Making the most of our Victorian market

The Northern Echo:

11:46am Wednesday 18th March 2015

I CAN'T help feeling there is a worrying development for Darlington inside today's Northern Echo.

Memories of the Angel's erection...

10:08pm Tuesday 17th March 2015

THANK you to the members of the Wear-Tees U3A for their warm welcome at Bishop Auckland Town Hall today - and for their generous cheque for the Butterwick Children's Hospice.

It's a kind of magic...

The Northern Echo:

2:04pm Monday 16th March 2015

ILLUSIONISTS have always fascinated me - and this week I'm intrigued to be at the centre of a magic experiment.

Infants down the pit for 16-hour shifts...today's poignant history lesson

The Northern Echo:

7:20pm Tuesday 10th March 2015

WHEN so many things are wrong with the world, it's worth reflecting on how far we've come.

Infants down the pit for 16-hour shifts...the lessons from the past

6:45pm Tuesday 10th March 2015

WHEN so many things are wrong with the world, it's worth reflecting on how far we've come.

Peter Barron
From The Editor's Chair

The Northern Echo: Peter Barron

Commentary of the week's news and events from the editor of The Northern Echo, Peter Barron.

Peter also writes about the heartaches & belly laughs that go with being a father of four in his weekly Dad At Large column


The Northern Echo: Peter BarronPeter Barron
From The Editor's Chair and Dad At Large columns from The Northern Echo's editor.

The Northern Echo: Mike AmosMike Amos
Stories of the characterful people and colourful places that make the North-East.

The Northern Echo: Rob MerrickRob Merrick
Weekly political commentary from our man in Westminster.

The Northern Echo: Chris LloydChris Lloyd
Strange and trivial fascinations in a quest to understand today’s world.

The Northern Echo: Peter MullenPeter Mullen
Topical and controversial weekly column from The Rev Dr Peter Mullen.

The Northern Echo: Sharon GriffithsSharon Griffiths
Opinion from the region's best known woman columnist.

The Northern Echo: Ruth CampbellRuth Campbell
Ruth on the heartaches & belly laughs that go with being a mum.

The Northern Echo: Harry MeadHarry Mead
An offbeat view of the week's events and how they affect the region.

The Northern Echo: Richard MasonRichard Mason
An irreverent look at life as an increasingly-middle aged thirtysomething.

The Northern Echo: Mike BartonMike Barton
Durham Constabulary Chief Constable Mike Barton's monthly column on policing.


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