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Gaelic broadcaster and 'beacon of Scottish journalism' dies, aged 78

Martin Macdonald worked as a presenter, reporter, producer and editor during five decades in media.

Martin Macdonald: Important legacy of nurturing and promoting Gaelic.
Martin Macdonald: Important legacy of nurturing and promoting Gaelic. BBC Alba

A Gaelic broadcaster described as a "beacon of Scottish journalism" has died, aged 78.

Martin Macdonald worked as a presenter, reporter, producer and editor during more than 50 years in the media.

The Skye-native was awarded the prestigious Barron Trophy in recognition of his contribution to journalism in 2004. He was found dead at his home in Inverness earlier this week.

Mr Macdonald started his career at the Inverness Courier and Oban Times before joining the BBC as a Gaelic producer in 1965.

He later became editor of current affairs programme NorthBeat and served as the BBC's Scottish editor at Westminster in the 1970s.

Allan MacDonald, chairman of the Bord na Gaidhlig, said: "Martin Macdonald represented and led a generation of broadcasters and writers who shone a light on Gàidhlig as a vibrant, energetic, living language and culture and focussed their talents bravely in a direction Gàidhlig news and current affairs broadcasting benefits greatly from today.

"Martin was singularly adept in English also, particularly in relation to the Highlands and Islands, and in that sense takes his own unique place as a beacon of Scottish journalism."

Mr Macdonald wrote a popular weekly column for the West Highland Free Press for many years.

Editor Ian McCormack said: "Martin was a columnist for us for many years, an accomplished writer in both English and Gaelic.

Bonn Comhraidh: Presenter on first Gaelic current affairs TV show.
Bonn Comhraidh: Presenter on first Gaelic current affairs TV show. BBC Alba

"He was a true professional who could always be relied on and was a great champion of the Highlands and Islands."

South Uist-born STV North editor Donald John MacDonald added: "This is tragic for his family and my thoughts go out to them.

"Gaeldom has also lost one of its most eminent journalists and broadcasters. The work Martin did in nurturing and promoting the Gaelic language will be one of his most important legacies."

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