Born: August 17, 1926 Died: September 29, 2013.
Walter Greenwood, who has died aged 87, was a notable journalist and a major force in journalism training. Among his former pupils were Sally Magnusson, Andrew Marr, James Naughtie and the Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, who said being trained by Walter Greenwood was like being taught playwriting by Alan Bennett or football by Bill Shankly.
Mr Greenwood spent most of his career working for Thomson Regional Newspapers and Trinity Mirror, and as a law training consultant for Press Association Training. He also worked for the National Council for the Training of Journalists for almost 40 years, making him one of the longest-serving contributors to the organisation's work.
He was born in Dewsbury in Yorkshire and after attending the local grammar school, joined the Dewsbury Reporter. When war broke out, he volunteered for the RAF but instead served time down a mine as a Bevin Boy. After the end of the war, he returned to newspapers, becoming deputy news editor of the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette.
He joined Thomson in 1969 as assistant editor (training) and helped launched the highly influential training programme, which came to be seen as one of the best of its type. At centres in Newcastle and Cardiff, he helped train many hundreds of young journalists and he continued to play a part in the work of the Newcastle centre, now being run by Press Association Training, to the end of his life. Just a month ago, although by now living in a care home because of his health, he was still checking papers for media law examinations for trainees at the centre.
For years Mr Greenwood also guided editors and reporters on newspapers and in broadcasting operations, nationally and regionally, through the legal dangers which often threatened to sink their stories.
The Greenwood way was to know as much law as the lawyers so that if you published you might be damned but you would rarely be sued. He always understood that what an editor wanted to know was not why a story should not be published but how it could be.
He was an assistant editor at Thomson Regional Newspapers when he began co-editing McNae's Essential Law for Journalists with Tom Welsh. His period at McNae's covered 13 editions of the book.
Until recently, Mr Greenwood's duties also included heading the National Council for the Training of Journalists' law board. His work with the NCTJ started with him spending his first term on the North East regional committee in the 1960s, then chairing the NCTJ media law board in the 1970s. He was persuaded to return for a second term as law board chairman from 2004 to 2006.
He was also a consultant to Media Lawyer when it was launched by founding editor Mr Welsh, and continued as a consultant when the title was bought by the Press Association.
In the 2010 British Press Awards, Mr Greenwood became the first recipient of the Journalists' Charity Award, recognising outstanding achievement by a journalist. Also in 2010 in received the NCTJ's Chairman's Award in recognition of his contributions.
Mr Greenwood essentially never retired and his interest in the law and in the work of training journalists never dimmed. When asked to recite a sentence of more than 30 words while being assessed following a recent stroke, he told his fellow law tutor Pat Hagan: "I gave them the briefest of introductions to the law of defamation."
His interests included a love and appreciation of wine, particularly good red wine. He was also an active member of his church.
He and his wife Doreen - the couple had no children - lived in the same area of Newcastle for many years.
One aspect of his life much treasured by his colleagues was the fact that even into his eighties, he would be popping around running errands and doing small acts of kindness for his so-called older neighbours.
His wife Doreen survives him.
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