Wednesday, 25 April 2018: Mr Wesley Acheson, Editor, Tyrone Constitution
Having congratulated Probus on being such a thriving club, Mr Acheson indicated that his talk would be about the Tyrone Constitution – its past, present and future. The “Con” was established in 1844 by Mr John Nellis to serve the local community, a commitment which has withstood rapid advances in how newspapers are printed. In the mid-nineteenth century the paper was produced on hand presses in Omagh; today it is all done on computer and the paper is printed electronically in Belfast. Wesley shared that he had joined the staff of the Tyrone Constitution in 1974 straight from school and recounted some of the stories he had covered as a cub reporter. Regrettably “The Troubles” produced more stories that one would have wished for, the biggest being the Omagh bomb in 1998. The paper’s coverage of this tragedy was so sensitively handled that the editorial team was honoured with a national newspaper award at a ceremony in London. To show how the paper evolved down the years Wesley had brought with him copies of the “Con” from 1867 to modern times. Early “Cons” cost 5 pence and were purchased mainly by well-heeled citizens who could afford the price. The front page was filled with adverts, some of which would raise a smile if printed today. However the “Con” remains focused on the local community in which it continues to enjoy trust, respect, and support.