Echo celebrates 130 years: Online and in print, our ethos has never changed 

The Echo is 130 years old tomorrow and has much to celebrate, says MAURICE GUBBINS, Editor of The Echo and EchoLive.ie
Echo celebrates 130 years: Online and in print, our ethos has never changed 

Maurice Gubbins, Editor, The Echo. Picture Dan Linehan

ON June 14, 1892, the first Evening Echo was sold on the streets of Cork.

From the start, this newspaper operated on a very straightforward principle: Local news for the people of Cork.

It is a formula which has earned loyalty from the people of the city and county over the past 130 years, and we will mark our 130th anniversary tomorrow.

We have presented that news during times of revolution, civil war, world war, recession, recovery, boom and bust. We are very proud of our heritage and tradition and very proud of our city and county.

The Evening Echo changed from an initial three evenings per week publication 130 years ago to six times weekly, from broadsheet format to compact tabloid, but the theme of the content is always the same — news and sport which is relevant to Cork people. That is just as true for The Echo and EchoLive.ie as it ever was. Our website receives around a million hits every week.

In our pages, the triumphs and tragedies, the debates and disputes, the nitty-gritty details of daily life in Cork have all been faithfully recorded.

Over the years, Echo reporters and photographers have attended the events which have mattered to Cork people, from sporting victories at local, national and international level, to election campaigns; from terrible disasters like the Whiddy explosion and the Buttevant train crash, to wonderful occasions such as the visits of President John F Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II; and we have recorded the incredible achievements of Cork people throughout the world in sport and other spheres.

Our news vendors still put ‘the sheet on the street’ with cries of Echo! Echo! and we deliver it to every neighbourhood. 

We like to say that we are deeply connected to every street, every club and organisation, every community in Cork.

The Echo has always reported and analysed the business of the various local councils and has provided the most extensive coverage of the courts. We do this because we know they matter in the daily lives of our readers. We like to think our paper has contributed to the social sphere and community life of Cork. Now our website EchoLive.ie is doing exactly the same thing.

In our reporting of news and sport, we stick closely to the facts. When comment is required, we are unflinching in our championing of Cork’s interests. When communities are facing trouble or have an issue they need sorted out, who do they call? People know that local authorities, government departments, big companies and organisations will all engage with problems highlighted by The Echo. This is so because we have always spoken out for the people of Cork. Other media may feature them but we put journalistic resources into investigating and exposing the issues they need resolved.

Reliable news is not cheap and we have invested heavily in our professional news gathering network. Our reward has been the trust of the people of Cork.

From that first Echo of June 14, 1892, the amount of change has been incredible. More change has happened in the past 20 years than in the previous 100. Twenty years ago e-mail was a novelty and home broadband a dream. Now communication with downloads onto mobile phones and tablets brings news from all over the world as it happens.

What will the future bring?

The changing demands on how news is delivered will inevitably challenge The Echo to keep abreast of new technology. We have already added the chime of the smartphone to the cry of the Echo Boy to bring the latest Cork news to you, the reader.

It has been my privilege to be editor of The Echo for the past 20 years and my promise is this: Our ethic will remain the same —Cork news and Cork sport for Cork people.

Look out for a special 130th anniversary supplement free with The Echo tomorrow, with articles appearing online at EchoLive.ie.

We are also running daily articles from various talking heads across Cork who want to pay tribute to our 130th anniversary – starting tomorrow with the writer Cónal Creedon.

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