Respected veteran of NI journalism


Norman Armstrong, Born: June 6th, 1934 Died: January 14th, 2013.Journalist Norman Armstrong, who has died in his native Omagh, made his mark as long-standing editor of the Tyrone Constitution. His death breaks a living link with Irish journalistic history, as he was one of the few surviving staff from the long-defunct Northern Whig.

However, it was with the “Con” that he is most identified. The Con was traditionally a strongly unionist paper. Armstrong began the process of gently repositioning it. One initiative of which he was particularly proud was to introduce GAA coverage.

As a man, Armstrong had an old-style courtesy. To his journalists he stressed clarity of writing, sound grammar and the absolute need for accuracy. That made the Con a training ground for many who have made an impact in the Irish and UK media.

He was born in Omagh in June 1934 . After completing A-Levels, he began in 1952 as a trainee reporter with the Con.

After three years he moved to Belfast and the “Whig”. His next move three years later was to the Belfast Telegraph, where he spent six years.

In late 1964 he returned to Omagh and the Con, first as deputy editor and then as editor. He was editor through the the Troubles. He also acted as correspondent for Northern, Irish and London media.

Outside of work, he was a founder of Omagh Junior Chamber of Commerce; a long-time member and former president of Omagh Rotary Club; and a member and former secretary of the quarterly board of the Methodist Church’s Omagh and Fintona Circuit.

Retirement allowed him to indulge his love of Donegal.

He is survived by his wife, Jean; children Alison (Coleman), Susan and David; sisters Margaret (Wilkin), Phyllis (Duffield) and Myrtle (Campion-Smith); brother Tommy; and grandchildren Simon and Sarah (Coleman).

* This article was amended on January 29th to correct a factual error.