Business

Newspapers in the blood for managing director Dominic

Dominic Fitzpatrick, managing director of The Irish News Group and finalist in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards
Gareth McKeown

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Gala Awards take place on October 25. This year, five Northern Ireland-based entrepreneurs are listed as finalists. Over the course of the next two weeks we will be profiling the remaining local finalists.

This week's profile is Dominic Fitzpatrick, managing director of The Irish News Group. He is a finalist in this year's Industry category of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year.

The Irish News Group is a multi-stream media company that publishes the largest regional newspaper by readership in the UK, The Irish News. The group also runs a contract print business and prints newspapers on behalf of many UK daily and weekly titles. In addition, the group owns and runs a network of local Northern Ireland radio stations, Q Radio. The Irish News dates back to 1865 when the Belfast Morning News was launched. In 1890 the Irish News launched in competition to the Belfast Morning News. The Irish News took over its rival in 1891. It is a paper with a long and fascinating history. It is now an independently owned business with deep roots in the community it serves. Its performance in recent years has been one of the best in the newspaper industry in the UK and Ireland.

Dominic grew up in the Irish News as his father Jim, along with many other families, held a small shareholding in the company. Eventually, Jim bought out many of the smaller shareholders to take editorial control. Following a business degree at university, Dominic was sent to learn the newspaper trade in the Liverpool Echo before returning to join The Irish News.

Outside of the business, Dominic has also been involved with the Press Association and finds the insight and advice invaluable, particularly around digitisation. He has also been involved in the administration of the charity, Children in Crossfire.

What were the best and the worst pieces of advice you received when starting out?

Whether in business or in life, treat people how you would wish to be treated. Worst piece of advice – every time someone says newspapers are finished – a lot of readers say otherwise.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Continuing to be relevant, commercially successful with fantastic teams in a very competitive marketplace.

What numbers do you look at every day in your business?

All our numbers are very important. We have outstanding commercial teams in all our operations. They are fundamental to our success.

What is the 'red tape' that hampers growth most?

The lack of an Assembly at Stormont is a concern. We need local politicians making decisions for the benefit of Northern Ireland and ensuring that significant projects keep moving for the benefit of our economy and wider society. We also need to bring Northern Ireland libel law into line with the rest of the UK.

Who has been the greatest influence on your career or who do you admire most in business?

My dad, Jim Fitzpatrick, who is chairman of the company. I have worked with him every day for the past 30 years.

What would make you a better leader?

More time to spend with my team. There are only so many hours in the day and I can't be everywhere, but thankfully I have strong leadership and decision making in all areas of the business.

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