On July 30th we said goodbye to Janice Field, the manager of the sheltered housing estate at Ribblesdale in Dorking.
Janice is retiring after working for the charity for a few days short of eleven years. Her popularity among the residents was shown by the crowded Pickering room where a lunchtime get together was arranged with canapés, cakes and a glass of something to send her off in a proper manner.
We wish her and her husband, Graham, a happy retirement as they move to be closer to members of their family.
Fears from within the media about government threats to press freedom are not yet shared by the general public, a YouGov poll carried out for a London Press Club/Society of Editors debate on the subject has shown.
Almost half of those from the media surveyed believe that freedom of the press is under threat from the government, compared to just 19% of the public, the biggest gulf in the whole poll. Last night’s event 800 years on from Magna Carta, do we still have a free press? saw a capacity crowd, primarily made up of media and legal professionals, at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel for an at-times heated debate.
The old school tie counted for nothing as former Reigate Grammar pupils Sir Keir Starmer and Sun associate editor Trevor Kavanagh faced off on a panel that also included Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg and YouGov president Peter Kellner and was chaired by Media Show presenter Steve Hewlett.
Starmer, previously head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was first praised by Kavanagh for agreeing to come to the debate despite his role in Operation Elveden that saw the proscecution of Sun journalists on allegations of inappropriate payments to police. But the magnanimity did not last long, with Kavanagh describing the prosecutions as a political vendetta in retaliation for the paper’s attacks on Gordon Brown, which Starmer, now Labour MP for Holborn and St. Pancras, denied, stating that he would have resigned if he had ever come under any political pressure. Starmer called for a simple, overarching public interest defence to be built into law.
Asked by Sun political editor Tom Newton Dunn from the audience whether he would say sorry to around 40 Sun journalists and their families, Starmer said he understood the sentiment but declined to apologise.
Ginsberg, who worked as a journalist around the world before heading the international campaigning organisation, cited media plurality as “absolutely essential” to a free press and something that should be kept in mind when drawing up new editorial standards. With opinion in the YouGov poll split on whether Britain should have its own version of the US’ First Amendment, Kellner said it would be a mistake to do so, or to relax libel laws.
Kavanagh also argued that Elveden was in part inspired by the failure to charge any Sun journalists on phone hacking, adding that the News of the World was closed on the basis of inaccuracy from The Guardian and didn’t rule out the paper being resurrected.
“This is such an important issue so I am in admiration of the nerve, stamina and restraint from all the panel and terrific chairing from Steve Hewlett,” said London Press Club chair and Society of Editors president Doug Wills. “The evening was made possible by the generosity of Grange Hotels and YouGov and we are delighted to have raised over £700 for the Journalists’ Charity.
24 06 2015
Stuart has retired as the Charity’s welfare officer, a post he has held since 1970. The picture (to the right) shows Stuart being represented with a copy of his original application form from 1957.
Stuart was born on June 30, 1935, only child of Mary and Robert McCartney and lived for the first few years of his life in South Carntyne in Glasgow. But when Adolph Hitler started his shenanigans, his parents bundled him off to his grandparents in Dumfries and Galloway…for his safety one has to add.
To this day, Stuart loves to point out to any friend he happens to lure into the area, the mile long walk he made each weekday through the fields and main road from his grandparents farm to Hoddom Primary School in Echlefechan. On his return to Glasgow after the war, his father, a World War One veteran by lying about his age when he joined the Navy, had changed role as a time served plumber to that of a policeman rising to head the CID in the old Glasgow Police Force.
Many of Stuart’s early police contacts were men who had worked with or knew Bob McCartney. After school at Whitehill Senior Secondary, Stuart joined the old Evening Citizen as a copyboy, then copy taker and finally news reporter under the legendary Jimmy Brough.
It was Jimmy who nicknamed him Bullet. Many have argued the reason for the name but we have to take Jimmy’s version. He said Stuart was the fastest thing on two feet in the Editorial. Sometimes too fast. Jimmy used to recount the time he sent Stuart on a major story and watched in amazement as the young reporter vanished before the end of the briefing. Jimmy had to go to the third floor windows and yell to him as he ran across Albion Street to a waiting car: “Stuart, wait for the photographer”
National Service then intervened and on his return he met and married Irene Greenshields. The young couple wanted to buy a home in Garrowhill but the Citizen wages would not support a loan from a mortgage company and Stuart heard there was a job going in the Scottish Daily Mail. There he worked under Shannon Dickson and then George Sinclair who he always said was his second great tutor. But his heart was still in Albion Street and when Jack Cupar, then news editor of the Daily Express knocked on his door in Garrowhill, Stuart showed him his Daily Mail pay-line and went back to the street for £1 week extra. Jack, along with George and Jimmy shaped what we know as Bullet.
You all know him as a friendly approachable chap but he has his moments and will knuckle down to no man. Writing football for the Sunday Express he criticised Celtic’s style of play. Jock Stein was not amused. At the next press briefing, the great man snarled at Bullet: What right have you to write about Celtic like that? I’ve been checking up on you, McCartney. You’ve never played football at senior level.”
The room was silenced until Bullet replied: “I’ve never killed anyone either, Mr Stein. But I’ve successfully reported murder trials at the High Court.” Stein never said another word. Sometime his quick response works against him. Watching a football match on Setanta, he became more and more frustrated by “did” and “done” and “gone” and “went” being constantly misused. He telephoned the company. “Can’t you get commentators and interviewers who understand the Queen’s English?” he demanded. “I don’t want this crap coming into my home.” They cut him off at halftime.
It’s not the only time he failed to see a match through. Sitting watching his beloved Rangers play their old rivals at Parkhead, he looked out the window to see a large Labrador defecating on his newly mown lawn. He raced from his armchair…much as Jimmy Brough described…got the offending item on a scoop and trailed said dog for more than an hour round Bishopbriggs. Eventually it entered a well appointed detached villa… the local Church of Scotland manse and when the minister opened the door Bullet emptied the scoop on the doorstep with words “I believe this belongs to you.” And woe betide anyone who mildly criticises him. His old friend Bill Aitken tells of visiting him for dinner forty seven years ago. About ninety seconds into the visit, with outer clothes still being collected but with no sign of a refreshment, Bill, possibly unfairly, enquired if Stuart had forgotten to apply for a drinks licence. Bullet was stunned, then said: “You will never say that to me again, you bastard.” And he never did.
The following visit a crystal glass with a treble whisky and the requisite amount of water was placed on the doorstep. Bill reckons he and his wife Moira have been guests of Irene and Stuart more than a hundred times since. And to this day, a glass of whisky is picked up before they ring the doorbell. It only failed once, when Bill stupidly told his golfing colleagues at Cawder about the practice and that he was going to Stuart’s that very evening. The glass was there as usual. The whisky was gone. To his credit, Bullet replaced it within ninety seconds.
This event has been postponed. More news to follow shortly
Robin Burgess is one one of the regional newspaper industry’s big men bringing his own brand of passion, integrity, wisdom and love of excellent journalism to our trade. A man who set the highest standards of performance and behaviour he has always applauded hard work, humility, accuracy and strength of resolve.
He has been the main man at Cumbria Newspapers for 30 years. He is the fourth generation of his family to run the business. His great-grandfather started as a reporter on the Cumberland News in the 19th century, rising to editor and, eventually, buying into the company. His son, grandson and then great grandson, Robin, all succeeded him. After a short service commission in the Army, Robin was trained by Emap in East Anglia, before returning to Cumbria in 1976 and taking over as chief executive in 1985. During his tenure the CN group has thrived … it acquired titles, grew its revenue and moved into magazines, radio and, of course, digital publishing. And while other independent newspapers sold outn to the bigger groups, Robin kept CN fiercely independent and locally owned. Even during the difficult years he remained a trenchant supporter of great newspapers, great journalism and great journalists. The number of awards that his papers have collected, especially at the regional awards, over the years are a testament to his commitment to the quality of his titles. They punch well above their weight. Robin also has an eye for spotting a good editor and persuading them to shun the big-city lights to work in the far North West. Keith Sutton, Neil Hodgkinson, Donald Martin, David Helliwell – to name but a few.
Robin is respected not only for his immense journalistic role but for his community and charity responsibilities. He is steeped in Cumbria life – Chairman of Trustees of The Lake District Calvert Trust, Trustee of Carlisle Cathedral Development Trust, President of Cumbria DeafVision and church warden at All Saints Church in his home village of Scaleby.
His editors, though, talk mostly of his passionate support for his newspapers, his magazines, his journalists and his beloved Cumbria. Robin is a real newspaper man – who loves the big stories and investigations and loves it even more if they have an impact on local people.
This award is sponsored by Gorkana
19 04 2015
Ricky’s long career in journalism included 25 years as Foreign Editor of the Daily Telegraph, directing 40 foreign-based correspondents and 80 stringers across the world. He was a member of the Charity’s council from 1980 to 2013 and chairman in 1994 and 1995.
Ricky Marsh, who has died aged 88, was for 25 years The Daily Telegraph’s foreign editor, calmly directing more than 40 foreign-based correspondents as well as home reporters sent out to cover specific stories – and some 80 stringers – around the world.
It was an efficient, predictable and comfortable operation, untrammelled by budgetary restraints, but requiring shrewd judgment on existing stories and their likely development. Marsh and his foreign room team in Fleet Street were supportive and sympathetic to those in the field as long as their stories were filed and postings were kept manned. When a correspondent in Sudan could not contact the office, he rang Marsh at home in Brighton at 3am to say he had not been killed, as the World Service claimed. “You’ve already filed this, of course?” was Marsh’s immediate reply.
Marsh bore with the interventions from the Telegraph’s managing director Peter Eastwood. But when the paper’s Russian specialist was sent to cover a Scottish Nationalist Party meeting the day that Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the Soviet Union, he shouted at the news desk: “You silly buggers! I want him in Germany now… today!”
Unlike reporters on other papers, Marsh’s men in the field did not have their expenses queried; they were never told how and what to write, and could report on offbeat subjects, such as the popularity of Boeuf Stroganoff in Iran after the toppling of the Shah.
Ernest Henry Marsh was born on August 26 1926 and gained the nickname “Ricky” – after Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the mongoose in The Jungle Book – when he was in the Scouts. He went to Ilford County High School before joining the Ilford Guardian on 7s 6d (37p) a week. With senior staff leaving for the Forces during the war, he was soon running the reporting on the Dagenham Post before being called up to serve underground as a “Bevin boy” in the Nottinghamshire coalfields, from which he was released after a year because of poor eyesight. He was then commissioned into the Royal Army Corps Service and became a PR officer in postwar Germany.
On being demobbed Marsh worked as a news agency reporter for British United Press and Associated Press before joining Reuters, where he received a tip about Winston Churchill’s imminent resignation. This was officially denied for some days, prompting his editor to joke: “Either Churchill goes in 48 hours or you go,” until the prime minister finally resigned.After five years as diplomatic and political correspondent, Marsh crossed Fleet Street to join the Telegraph, though an old hand warned he would not like it. But in 1961 he became foreign editor and went on to supervise the coverage of the fall of the Berlin wall, the Kennedy assassination, the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia, Watergate and the wars in Vietnam and the Falklands. So dedicated was he to his job that he always slept with the radio on.
When Conrad Black purchased the paper in the mid-1980s, Marsh was moved to managing editor, a job for which he was ideally suited as a discreet executive who would never offer open criticism, whatever he thought privately. He took part in union negotiations, became the ombudsman and guardian of correct procedure. When a Canadian airliner was forced to land in Communist China then sent on to Hong Kong in a news blackout, a correspondent traced its passengers to a hospital where he donned a white coat to conduct his own ward round. Told about this years later Marsh gasped: “Oh, I don’t think the Press Council would have approved of that.”
In retirement he went to Glyndebourne at least twice a year, was a fan of Brighton football club and kept in touch with his correspondents’ widows. He continued to read The Daily Telegraph in hospital until the day before his death.
Ricky Marsh married, in 1956, Kay Ramsay, with whom he had two sons.
Ricky Marsh, born August 26 1926, died March 31 2015
We are delighted to announce our special guest speaker at this year’s West Midlands celebrity lunch will be Robert Peston, the BBC’s multi-award winning Economics Editor.
When: Friday October 16, 2015
Time: 12.30 start. Ends 15.00
Where: Banqueting Suite, Edgabston Cricket Ground, Birmingham, B5 7QU
Individual tickets : £48
Table of 10 : £450
Ticket price includes a three-course meal with a reception drink and tea or coffee.
To book: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/journalists-charity-west-midlands-lunch-with-robert-peston-tickets-16577166752
Queries or to request an invoice please email: firstname.lastname@example.org