Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I don't mix much with journalists. I go into The Sunday Times offices about once a year and I rarely attend gatherings of hacks unless not to do so would have career implications. But last night I went to a farewell party for Mark Skipworth, head of news at the ST, who is going to the Telegraph. I couldn't call Skip a friend, I can only remember a couple of non-professional conversations with him - one involving Emmylou Harris. Skip likes Schubert and Emmylou, as do I, as do all sensitive people. I haven't worked with him that much, since I don't work for news that often, but he has been involved as, so to speak, master of ceremonies for some of my most satisfying assignments - the Pope's funeral, the '03 Rugby World Cup Final and Diana's funeral. I'll always remember the measured tone of his phone calls - carefully balancing his awareness of the constant possibility that I might crack and fail to meet his terrifying deadlines with his need to convey the appalling consequences if I did. Skip, you will gather, smells of journalism. He talks excitedly of scams, scoops and stunts. He ran the news show with benign scepticism - benign because he loves journalism, sceptical because he knows journalists. Like all truly serious people, he finds life and people funny. Skip is old school, a man from the great days before marketing and advertising tightened their grip on the business. I shall miss him. I hope the Telegraph people know what they've got.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 10:07 am