Martin Lawson, former ‘great’ TV news producer, dies aged 68

Former television news producer Martin Lawson has died aged 68.

Lawson, whose career included significant periods at the BBC, TV-am, Sky and AP, died on Friday September 23.

He was also a founding partner of the Carlisle News Agency in the late 1970s, which expanded to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the early 1980s.

Away from the news, he was a big fan of music up north. As owner of the Front Page nightclub in Carlisle, he helped attract music legends like Ronnie Scott, Jack Bruce, Steve Marriott and Bert Jansch to the city, as well as championing countless young bands.

In 2020, he published a well-received club story, Live at The Front Page.

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He established Paint It Red magazine in Newcastle and a sister record label, recruiting budding talent and promoting them across the region.

John Ryley, head of Sky News, said: “Martin was a terrific journalist who played a big part in building Sky News’ reputation for accurate journalism.

“He was wonderfully direct – and a warm, funny, kind person who helped shape the careers of so many in broadcasting.”

Former Sky presenter Lisa Aziz said: ‘I remember Martin being such a solid editor and producer to turn to for advice as a novice journalist and newsreader at the time on TV-am and Sky News – often gruff and scary but always right!

But much more than that he was funny and kind and had a wonderful way with words… I remember I approached him to start a radio station in UAE a few years ago and I will never forget their desire to get involved and support the company.

Former CNA reporter Jay Williams, who became director of the South West News Service, said: “Martin was a real one-off. He was a laser-focused news editor, able to instantly detect the intro and gist of the most complex story.

“He was great company and had an incredibly dry sense of humor. He was also a great lover of music – from folk to jazz to rock – and a true champion of music in the North. Both young musicians and Cub reporters owe him a debt of gratitude.

He is survived by his wife Barbara Gibbon, former director of production and operations at Sky Creative.

Pictured: Martin during a visit by then Prince Charles to the BBC Look North newsroom in the late 1980s

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