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Read this: Media Masters - Sarah Baxter

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Media Masters - Sarah Baxter…

Media matters with Paul Blanchard welcome to media Masters a series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game Sarah Baxter deputy editor of the Sunday Times so he joined the papers edited News Review before being appointed, Washington correspondent in 2005 she then edited the Sunday Times magazine until 2015 as deputy editor of the Sunday title.

She also writes a column which is taking aim at sexism in Westminster the uber behemoth and the far less attack on the Free Press before a successful journalism career he worked in publishing.

This is a copyright and then is a press officer and is held senior positions at time out the new statesman, and the Observer Sarah thank you for joining me you're welcome to be here.

So if we can walk to recreate you started out in publishing.

Did you know how did the move to journalism come about well? I decided I was sitting on the wrong side of the table.

I was as you rightly say press officer work for Virago press a feminist press in the 1980s.

I was constantly setting up interviews with great writers Maya Angelou Pat Barker Margaret Atwood they had a terrific stable of women writers, but I suddenly realised I'd rather be asking the questions that sitting on the side waiting for people to come out and you know offering them cups of tea and things like that so I thought I'd take a chance and I left the job farrago without another job to go to Android freelance and I fell into a bit of work for time out magazine grow magazine and it's a wonderful place to start because they're not so much interested in what have you done before they like? What are your ideas? What can you bring to the table? And then they'd say will have a girl and I still use that with people to de-ice a will happen.

If I like their dear.

Have a go.

I don't promise to publish it but you know we're all about the ideas in the news business.

So why not just dry, so I tried one thing I tried and

Then they wanted a woman to go and report on this new trend new trend.

Would you believe this was years ago of women boxing and I went to a pub at the Old Kent Road and that was my first commission for timeout and miraculously someone left and I've came news reporter.

So you were there watching the boxing match being paid to do that writing it up.

Yes, I loved it when I loved it was a sort of sweaty room with women with their breasts bandaged Abbey had really don't know what you make of it Newsroom what about the boxing match but then it was very much in its infancy and I just thought isn't it wonderful being a journalist and I particularly like the kind of journalism that means you knock on doors and UPA behind them not actually interviewing authors despite my background in publishing.

I admire people who have do a good daughter interview but my desire was to really is the thrill of The Chase

Really not so much writing it up as finding out what's going on in places other people don't get too close to the boxing match for a second all because what was that liking you first journalism gig wear a normal spectator would merely watch the boxing match and enjoyed.

Did you have to come of Steel yourself to have an objectivity to can I write about the things that you experiencing and look at it in a different way.

Yes, definitely remember thinking what does the reader need to know i7 experience by thought well, that's certainly want to know what it's like to be punched in the breast.

That's secondly.

How can they with stand the pain that's number 2 and then from then on what's the atmosphere like who goes to this match as one of the Spectators and and finally when the girls came in a bloodied, but unbowed out of the Ring why on earth.

Would they want to do it? That's the allegretto want you got these ingredients.

I suppose you've got the basics of an article.

It was turn out like to work for them.

This was your first proper job in the news rest proper job.

It was tremendous festival I mean we have to news reporter somewhere covering the whole of London so that was great and the guy I work with actually the news editor was a terrific investigative journalist called Andy battle who went on to work for Panorama had a lot of friends at World in Action cells quickly introduced to the thrill of investigative journalism and the satisfaction of soda hunting somebody down and exposing them and I thought that was tremendous.

I wasn't necessarily sure that that was my mate that was going to be my path, but it meant oliana got very good experience of dealing with complicated stories with issues of libel working closely with lawyers, who are still love today because they the great and neighbours.

They're not prevent us when they work on newspaper.

Do it so it was very it was a great place to learn the tools of the trade without going to join the same school and the fact that I've worked in publishing meant that I

Did know at least how to get in touch with adding let you know the one you had to get in touch with some quite will good names well-known authors who I could approach and that exposes the beginning of feeling like a commissioning editor at this point you knew already that joiners in was the career for you.

Is this was your your dipping the turn the water is in were just fell in love with it and what is it that you think that makes a successful journalist? Is it that sense of curiosity some people of said it's just share nosiness.

Yes, I'm not the easiest person about people's Private Lives but I am knows about how the world works and what goes on and I'm curious for experiences both for myself and to tell read about them.

So one of the great privileges of being a journalist is going to cover great stories big stories.

I mean when I was at time out the Berlin Wall came down and I've lived in Berlin when I was about 18 just for a few months and I

Talk to timeout into giving me time to go and watch the Wall come down and at the same time.

I said I have two weeks off.

I could do a week of finding out where the trendy spots are any spelling.

I'll do your quick guide re spelling but meanwhile.

Can I report on the wall for somebody else? I didn't know who but I wanted to go and I wanted to see if that's what they management goes an hour cold proactive, but it wasn't so who did they did he managed to sell at peace in somewhere, then I did I went with my boyfriend who's photographer and now my husband.

It was one of the stories that gave me confidence that maybe I could do this game because I was in World Media is there a wall how on earth are you going to find another angle? I had no idea of David Hasselhoff was there as well as I remember seeing looking for freedom that is honestly the Berlin Wall David Hasselhoff only I'd known that definitely have tried to find him but anyway so I had picked up very small why story saying that the study would been sent to the brown coal mines in order to keep.

Country rolling because although it was freezing and all the Miners had walked off and then to West Berlin and I thought that could look quite sort of symbolic although they thought they were helping the country.

It would look like they're the ones that sent to the cactus Iberia to dick Cole I got something to tell me where the headquarters of the stars.

He was I knocked on the door and I said can I speak to a press officer please for the stars in Blackpool having the door a bit like going to the door pentacles and somebody came out and I'm such a safe state because they didn't know what was happening for studying the secret police said ok.

Come on in and they wanted to present a good story about what good citizens thereof being and they said yeah you and your friend your photographer friend can go to the coal mines desirable Brown coal mines which of the worst environmental disasters you've ever seen great stories are freezing cold and we sold the words of.

Pictures to the Independent which Benham wonderful pictures it was mainly a photo story to be honest I can my husband is better out of it than I do but I had a thousand words of coffee and I was really proud of it almost images of how to hack games like that and it's some of our younger listeners, what remember Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers but there you are a kind of couple team words and pictures when I think it gave me the confidence to go because you know I had a friend and ditto he had someone who could write the words and sometimes.

I think we should go off again on our Adventures because I loved working with him.

Why would I but I really like that sense of plug the fact that you just went to make it happen and rewarded with an incredible story that people at doing that all the time we have wonderful young reporters now at the Sunday Times Louise Callaghan who was in Turkey for the Turkish coup.

She had taken herself to Turkey she said I think you need somebody and turkey are vascular.

We are very fast.

She's fantastic.

She was there for the Turkish coup really Rose to the Occasion can young journalist of the year has since ri?

Marvelous stories, I mean she's now on Middle East correspondent superbrave very talented but just with the nerve to go places and there are people who are a lot more Plucky and braver than me Christina lamb took herself off to Pakistan and Afghanistan as a young reporter amazing amazing amazing.

So when you're young journalist ill you're thinking of BN11 not just try something that work.

We will we will get to your advice for people start of a creator of the end, but don't let me walking to eat career.

Talk to me about what came after timeout much to my surprise.

I was asked by the New Statesman if I wanted to write about politics and cos I have loved politics all my life.

You can tell any columns.

I I am a genuine reader of your colon every Sunday thank you anyway politics to sort of my hubby passion and I think some of that probably came through time out even though it wasn't the most political magazine.

And they said would I like to join the New Statesman and I thought oh yes and didn't have a lot of photographs in if not so much scope for heading off to Bell influence, but I just thought I would I would love to do that and and I arrived at Westminster and had a terrific grounding in what it's like to be in the lobby and has given you a little bit more sympathy for politicians or is it made made you handle them knowing you know the behind-the-scenes thing coming out to Westminster for many years one of the things that shocked me go into it was just how what a complete shambles.

It was behind the scenes.

I mean now.

It's a can of everyone says that on Twitter what a shambles but it to me it was a shock going in Cos everything seemed to be reasonably professionally run outside it was a shambles.

I was there during the Maastricht Treaty so why all this brick sister feels like I'm reliving my life.

And John Major was Prime Minister Tony Blair was on the March so new labour was sort of coming along but hadn't yet? Won the election so it was a very interesting time.

I actually my respect for politicians went up not down because I had been very partisan and I realise there was good and bad on both sides and actually that was an important.

Step to being a better journalist.

I think I desperately wanted Tony to win, but I remember when John Major give his concession speech on the steps of the Conservative central office he did it with such dignity, but I actually felt sorry for him and had a huge you want to be Satan and his autobiography was one of the first political big books.

I ever read and it made me realise just how hard things are for any Prime Minister behind the scenes of any colour absolutely and he then sort of became the Forgotten Man didn't need cos he didn't want to be a backseat driver.

He's re-emerged recently because of the brexit Debate but really he was always very d.

If I'd but people did laugh at him, they thought he was you know not pushing up.

I think on the tourist site basically and you know not enough A-levels hadn't had the Education that you know somebody unit Dave politicians seem to have you know dove Cameron's the Boris Johnson's eccetera in the Toys R Us some kind of a working-class dum dum girl gets Sajid Javid for example.

They love the fact that the son of a bus driver and all that middle of fire.

It is right that things change exactly where I would certainly is doing his career No Harm whatsoever.

I think it'll be great let you know I'll join the Conservatives as soon as leader and I'm kidding how long will you stay up some far? Is there for you long time yet and I found it fascinating because it was an interesting time in politics.

It was a very male-dominated world both with.

In the chamber and the lobby though, you don't even have the Blair's babes although all women shortlists really just coming into nobody have been elected under that system till 19972 who's the old saying wasn't at the time that they were more members of Parliament called John in Parliament than they were winning absolutely and yet at the same time.

I did feel like I was part of a new wave of women arriving and trying in all different ways to do a good job and there was always the fear that you weren't getting the best stories because the blokes are in the bars swapping Pit and the male politicians were chatting you up which is why I did get very interested and peppermints just candle because I was rather dismayed to find he was still going this year's on it seems to me that Westminster is almost perfect formula for creating loneliness and mental ill-health either pass for 34 years used to work there and you know you've got all of these MPs have nothing else to do with an the lobby.

Got to stay down evening so that they can be cold to vote and there's what 10 bars and it's 70 pie pint and is no one else nothing else to do with them standing get drunk yet, and it was even worse because you've had the late parliamentary hours which uni did get somewhat reformed so people never saw their wives affairs with life sexual harassment was pretty intense frankly and not just me for me and other women journalist, but particularly for the support staff that was the appalling thing and I'm glad to say that the people finally woken up to all that well.

There's been so many incremental scandals for good and for bad like that the expenses scandal for example when the Telegraph bought the famously bought the CD of Earth all of the expenses claims that was half inch coming out great for democracy of course a great story yeah expenses scandal this really shocking and even I was shocked by it and ID be

Working at Westminster before I just thought of people really cleaning duck houses emotes and 8 pence for a bit of petrol and I wouldn't claiming pension anyone.

I couldn't agree more couldn't agree more because there's it when I was there.

There is also a series of sex scandals because that John Major had launched his back to basics campaigns with no expense about why have you done that and I just put a bullseye all the stories came out me.

This is a sprocket of is it where there's an interesting aside.

Why do you think we are more pies? I'm obsessed with the Private Lives of politicians.

Is it because the old cliché if he'd like to his wife then? He's lie to us.

Because we seem to hold politicians to a higher can asexuals standard in there, then their marital fidelity than you.

Would that mean for example if I had a colleague that I had an affair I say what's obviously terrible tragedy help him in his wife.

Get out, it's none of my business.

Why is it our business if the chief secretary to the Treasury is an affair because they always lecturing us about how to live our lives that seems to be a power imbalance as well.

I'm answering my own question here, but it's it's the whole Bill Clinton Monica Lewinsky thing isn't he even said herself that at the time she thought it was consensual but only a decade or so later.

She's just it's really just say something in the gravity that have the power imbalance not times has really changed my mum my favourite writers and screenwriters Nora ephron.

He's just wonderful had worked as an intern in Jack Kennedy's office in the white house and she lamented in her memoirs, but she was the only intern that Kennedy hadn't hit on was there something for a hungry now.

You're just expecting JFK to misbehave.

I think funnily enough some of the problems that came out of that perceived Camelot in America where you had the glamorous.

JFK and his gorgeous wife Jackie and then you lift the lid new find that it's a sort of you know seething mass of infidelity that that did change people's perceptions.

I think about dignity in the office but also the kind of that the truth underneath the hood as it were because I mean I remember the famous television debate where Kennedy was the picture of health and Nixon had a cold or something and he looked shifty people listening to it folder to Nick Smith 1 on the radio, but we were watching on television for the Kennedy woodworkers, Kennedy was suffering from huge health problems.

That's right, but he wasn't sweating away and it's looking like these cards.

Set up some people described Tricky Dicky as yet.

It's because I'm sure Theresa May's a very competent Prime Minister but a lot of people I know so-called normal people just don't like the fact the way she walks for example of the way.

She might gesturing it in a TV to his amazing.

How powerful and persuasive things like that are the unspoken things are almost no one seems to be interesting actual policy these days now and she.

But she is kind of awkward in her demeanor and I think underneath it all.

She's quite shy and it's still to self to be this leader, but I did think I mean when she did she had that very bad election campaign as I'm sure you remember when I'm behind the prime minister's debate where the prime minister wasn't there and it will that was just foolish, but I also remember that the London Bridge attacks happened right outside our office at Sunday Times about 10 on a Saturday night to rule there was a very emotional and I noticed in the days that followed people putting Post-it stickers and flowers down.

They weren't talking about hitting the terrorist.

They were talking about you know what we need is love and she couldn't emote at all.

She couldn't feel or share the pain and come out with something noble that would make us sort of feel better and bigger about the attacks and I am I thought that that's what you look too in a leader and it was very

Because in many ways she's an admirable figure, but you have to be able to communicate your ideas your emotions and your sense of leadership to the public and I think that election campaign was so awful for her because she couldn't adaptor couldn't change and she couldn't display more than she was capable of I use to hero-worship Lynton Crosby easy sat in a chair with we had a riddle on conversation with him a couple of years ago, but he made a huge mistake to Orient a presidential style campaign around someone has so deeply uncomfortable with immediate and it just threw my own history of prime minister's being a citizen.

You know there's no sunlight Tony Blair and David Cameron the distilleries in front of the camera.

He was effortless and then Gordon Brown and Theresa May just seem to have them.

They were the awkward squad.

It doesn't mean they're better or worse as prime minister, but them much less affected her communicating their ideas the public I mean when Tony Blair came out and declared that Diana was the p.

Full staff that would smoke credibly smart anyway, let's get going to be cremated in 4 years and New Statesman then what happened then I decided that it might be a good moment to move to that maybe I'd like I'd love to get as I was a little bit in a hurry to get national experience and I was also doing quite a broadcasting at the time and the Sunday Times approached me and said would I like to write for them on contract and I thought 4 years New Statesman that's probably enough and I get it was clear that turn you label was on the app.

So they were interested in someone from the New Statesman not necessarily that the Hunting Ground of Andrew Neil still editor by the time I arrived on with Rose in places editor, but we did have a good relationship.

The only thing is I wasn't quite sure what I was doing that and after a year ago offered of senior editing job at the Observer

Pizza and a proper staff job I thought give it a go and I've always thought been well.

Let's see what happens.

I'll be up for it.

So I went off to get a girl to have it wasn't the best year of my life at the Observer brick told me an awful.

Lot about term editing all you can certainly not expect a follow-up question come on then spill the beans alright.


I was hired by the late great Peter Preston wow who had just become editor-in-chief and he said I have loved to have gone on This podcast marvellous men he was editor-in-chief you said you've got this fantastic new editor coming from Scotland and you must meet him and it's all going to be great but I didn't you just put Andrew jaspan.

What I didn't know is that term and respiratory was already preparing to sort of kick Peter Preston upstairs, and if he could to get rid of her to jest.

Politics isn't it? Was it was all politics David rosewood home affairs correspondent of the times.

I remember that's right cos he's been in the chase a friend of mine.

Yeah me too actually University to get my world and and I entered into quite a sort of Vipers nest of internal politics and I just tried to keep my head above ground.

I hadn't been an editor before but I said about it with as much Gusto and as I couldn't ride to disguise my lack of experience through grassland commitment yes, and I are kept giving been given extra new jobs on top so I supposed to be comment editor nobody told me there was already a comment editor there, but I carried on commissioning pieces for comment I was then going to be running a new review section but there was going to be another person overseeing the art, but they never got that person so then it was like me or

Sabre cvrt.

Can you do with a shampoo? Can you do focus as well, so I'll do figures and by the way you're also writing the leadership and it was not only writing the leader doing Focus overseeing the review section commissioning Google gas bottle washer yet.

Are you finished finished his diary Abergavenny sleep at this time you want you wanna know I was getting quite burn to help that and then at the end of the year along with Andrew jaspan, and a host of other senior editors in a mask clear out of me know then that's only it wasn't personal values of them off you go exactly certainly be anyway.

I got quite a nice day off.

It wasn't all bad and Sunday Times got in touch with me very fast and several we like what you're doing to you want to come back and I went to.

Edit news with you and then and then I was much more experience by the time I got there and you've been there ever since I've been at the Sunday Times ever since I've had a wonderful crew.

It's Sunday Times which is sort of instructive really I think it's in my early days.

I kept leaving Sonos interest publications for more left-wing ones they mean that you know what I've done enough of that.

I'm sticking with the Sunday Times I'm a huge fan of the Sunday Times have read it.

There's some of 20 years that I haven't bought a physical copy 3rd years and years now we on the iPad but I'm a loyal Sony X reader one of the things.

I really like about it and this might even sound a name but it's got stuff in it is interesting things to read and I did actually Towers a slightly disposed Observer a couple of Picasso gone quite a few got in touch until you've been very unfair which is fair enough so I apologise to them but I do I do like the fat is an interesting engaging read where you know sometimes in other newspapers you can adjust wading through lots of pages looking for something.

Jump out again, there isn't anything I know I think it's I think her.

I'm very proud of the Sunday Times because I mean there's always something to read in every section, but there's also always a section that's on fire.

I mean the whole thing I'd like to say is on fire non-stop, but you know that's not true sections can have a fantastic week one week of pretty good one the next week, but there's always one that's really rocking and said there's always something this just fantastic to read I love it.

So what is a typical waiting for you than that mean? No that won't want to you can have the is in the Sunday Times what does this actually recently text editor The Times what does a deputy editor do well right now the deputy editor Hastings paper because the boss is away my my editor Martin ivens is away this week, so I'm in charge and it really is like conducting an orchestra.

They say I mean especially with the multi section Sunday Times and there is nothing more fun than trying to sort of bring it all to.

That would genuinely scare me being added to the Sunday Times style, be as well.

I couldn't do the only good thing about it.

Is that you have really great section editors who are all doing their bit so then it's just a question of harmonizing it.

So what do you do when you've had it because like we had Chris blackhurst to sitting there are a couple of years ago and he said he was the editor of The Independent on Sunday and he said he actually loves being a business editor love being economist, but when he was made editor.

Yeah, she hated it because there's a lot of hr and legal and management stuff videos wasn't interested in the arrow to The Right Stuff or shape and contributed stuff it been written out the people like an editor.

There is a lot of fat, but there's still just a lot of what you gonna put on the front page.

What are you going to do? That's going to stand out this week however, I have course.

I'm not I'm always in charge so I joined fine, but then I go back to being first violin right.

So want you can then use of more like first when it's like every.

On the same page we holding the tuner we coming alone together and and you really do deputises.

I mean I a brainstorm I troubleshoot I'm being slightly encounter, but I suppose even whether it's your Martin doing it is it tend to be Tim Shipman who coached the spreadable journalist Tim is brilliant, but this stuff happening in the stuff in Bolton brexit.

Everything is bound to take it every time.

We think let's not have him on the cover for one.

We think he brings in another Belter and Zoe's an unstoppable force and actually Tim and I worked together on rival newspapers in Washington and I knew how give you loads because he kept me on my toes with him sitting there few weeks already.

Give a brilliant into the on other one of the things I said to him is what I do about his writing is not only tell you what happened, but it gives you a real sense of the can a blood spot behind the scenes as well as riveting yeah and brexit is all about the Bloodsport it all.

Maybe about what deal but that's going to bed that was the pants off everybody really dumb what people really want to know is there vs.

Rivalries the entities the showdown.

It's a great narrative and he's playing it for all it's worth and he said he's a great writer Tim and he's doing a wonderful job, but don't tell him I said so happy when I think about it This podcast has it's my buyers run slattocks had loads of people from prison because deputy editor that you have to make sure that what's in the paper is relevant or readers.

How do you improve it does in the old days of course the only measurement you have the econometric was new stand how many did you sell you were ready guessing about what worked and what didn't was now with digital you can tell the dwell time of people on searching it on certain articles.

What mate? How did got to that out of the way.

They leave towards owner is there? It? Is it is almost too much information.

Well, it's very interesting because I think I've digital team has won awards for this thing called Inca that they set up which as somebody who writes the papers are polymers can be quite scary because I can see my own figures as how's everybody else is and it's all about that combination of how long people spend reading your article how many comments how many shares and even get what the proportion of male to female leaders are and obviously like every newspaper you want to make sure that women are represented to and it's it does the metrics really do tell you something they can't give you although they give you a fine detail everyday on the actual article his the Inca report that how many people Reddit acceptor acceptor you can get lost in the weeds of that? What is it and you don't want your life to be ruled by the fact that everybody read the story about sex because they do.

Everybody reads the story about the royals because they do with the wrong side of the road mean person in the world that im weird well.

We have our ups and downs everyone read about the royal wedding but they won't necessarily read about the aftermath now.

What about but but I was going to say it's what you can see a patterns emerging and the patterns that emerges people very interested in one front page scoops by Tim Shipman by insight these have high engagement.

They really work.

So you want those big powerful scoops on the invite pending incredible job exactly and then what they like a stories about people stories that engage they could be moving they can be funny, but they're about her about the the art of life really and the curiosities of life and that's funny things that happened in the silly things that happen and people really do want people stories, they want stories with warmth.

Humour sometimes a little bit mean in a bit but you can see what emerges and what engages people from those figures and I think it's important to think of the different elements of the paper as a whole that people respond to on digital and that can guide you what you mustn't do is say no because it's million people read that story about Meghan Markle Wigan on a story about Meghan Markle every week that would both pants off everyone.

What's it like to be a columnist? I mean that because I occasionally writes a column and I find it agonising to decide what I'm going to write about what's my opinion.

How that you know? How do you do it every week and also how do you do you read the comments but you're not below the Fold what are you saying? I see you get grief on Twitter as well, because you're very trident in a good way.

That's what you want from a columnist.

I want an opinion rather than just a dinner and Academic discussion of the pros and cons of something you always take a stand and I admire your writing Hughes you for that, but it seems to me at the end.

Petition for just open the Floodgates have a lot of grief.

I mean it's interesting.

I think you have to have a hard skin particularly at first when you first let me know haven't been doing the column that long I mean couple of years, but you know some people in colleges for decades and it was interesting the first few columns.

I don't quite remember them you know because somebody would say something like I can't believe you're getting paid to write this drivel mistake help for the new readers get used to you and then they start to engage with you and then you can burn through a bit with them and I do reply I don't reply invariably but I Do I Do reply bit and is the rule exactly up with other colonies on his pocket and sometimes.

They will say if it's a reasonably put objection and it's politely pub and it's constructive then of course.

I'm going to download but if it's just as you just said, how do you get paid to write this drivel?

Can a polite people and rude people on thing about having subscriber access is butter or subscribers want like you may also want to disagree with you, but they're not they're not coming to you in a sort of date determined to be hostile on Twitter that say different things in that you can set something going get under someone's skin and before you know it.

There's a pylon so but I don't I don't mind I do want my articles to be discussed and I think you just have to be just have to take it if you're going to figure out which I do in a column go to be able to take it.

I don't I don't say it's always a comfortable and how do you say how do you put a column together? Then? Are you in the shower on a Tuesday and then suddenly a thought I'll come to you and your turn that into column off.

Is it that something happened on a Friday evening and you watching the news? Is it? I'm going to write about that or do you get a steer from Martin co-edit the comment page?

Is with Martin and Sue Hill talk just the column is our talk to the colonies will find out what my colleagues are writing about I do tend to stand back and give them first dibs under so sometimes.

I think I really like to do that but Dominic Lawson or rural Camilla all Neil Ferguson ever stepping in red wines me up.

I mean oh no, that's his job that he's yes.

I mean I'm Piers Morgan the fact that im Roundup would be welcome to him and therefore don't want admit it yeah, but I would love to have you know the reader engagement shall we say that rod has but without having to wind people up with something believe everything you read something.

I'm sure he must you must be like Richard Littlejohn in the sense that he doesn't get a bit just cos he knows it's going to get the clicks.

So he knows I mean he think he knows you can take the piss out of himself a bit frankly but he also.

Policing what you saying he's not it's it's authentic if he was a phony people wouldn't my rod, do you ever change your mind because I've read some of your columns are quite strident and then get a lot of criticism and some of it have agreed with you and then I've looked at the comments that will actually has some merit there in the opposing view.

Have you ever change your mind other writing a column or as a result of the feedback that you've got I change my mind over past Minster not drastically as always sympathetic to some of the charges and thought it was but I was also like that in your hand on the neotec but as it went on I got mine one night, but in all these years nothing has changed since my time running in the 90s and I suddenly thought before I get all indignant about in her in my day what you use to put up with and this is nothing I felt more engage my felt very angry about it and I decided to sort of go all in on that lets you.

NatWest reading other people as well and listening to their experiences and thinking before I jump in with my own big to feet and talking stop talking about my own experiences.

Maybe I should listen to what's really going on and that's important and I mean it will be difficult to think of how could have caused you on that they would did you get any pushed back.

Yeah, because a lot of people think that women with making something out of nothing but the me too movement was just one long big whinge I get why people say that it's just about hoover.

It's not true.

That's the thing I've also incredibly frustrating when you get older white men lecturing minority ethnic people women about how that they've never suffered any discrimination NI on Twitter it's like you're not having any problems well.

I think you should write the calligraphy awesome columnist.

Yeah, I'll be fine.

If you feel it without being overly pompous.

I can August sense of responsibility when you're writing it, because you are going to email make an impact with whatever you say you going to cause a stir.

What is your motivation as you as you actually writing the words is it just a finish it? I certainly don't feel on allcast sense of responsibility that was overblown.

I really hate to be as pompous important thing.

I absolutely don't want to do in the column same as I want to do in the newspaper inform entertain provoke.

I don't mind anti reaction.

I don't mind people to screen with me.

I expect people to disagree with me and I dare say in I have changed my mind on many things in my life.

I started out a lot more left-wing than I am today.

So it's all sources for courses.

Do you look back at your old Collins and you can see how you've moved in your own opinions are there fairly can of steadfast all the ones that the Sunday Times I think.

It was more question of sort of finding the right sort of voice in the right style and it is it's not easier column doesn't of Spring fully formed it it sort of develops and matures and to my son still feeling my way and trying out different topics but I do love the privilege of having my say and it is very alluring and quite tempting is the real name equivalent of an in the columnist world of a can of slow news day, where like you say you very very graciously given all the best topics to your other columnists whenever necessary, what can I write about this week? This is something I mean my daughter when she was very young nothings happening.

So how do you fill the newspaper? She was genuinely like she be about 8 and she said do a better job on This podcast I see the questions that was a better question than mine.


There's nothing to write about nothing happened.

Always something there's nothing is always something about you.

I don't know there's always what have you been doing today? There's always something that someone wants to find out and they're cooked if if if there a good writers which the Sunday Times have you know how to tell a story they can spin magic other writers that you miss like a girl.

I mean I go.

I miss him terribly.

Yes, we had a combination of solar memorial come celebration Adrian at the West End Theatre that I was praying forwarding setting up.

There was a special performance of the jungle which a girl who visited as a reporter and he's even in the place even mentioned.

You know that this strange character in threes turns up in the middle of the Calais jungle and he was Sam in addition to being an

Awesome tv critic and restaurant critic use very very interesting story of refugees and as his editor of the magazine in years gone by had commissioned a few of those and you know it was very moving to be at this special performance of the jungle with Nicola Formby aka the blonde whose idea it was with the great director Stephen daldry, was there and said some nice words about Adrienne and it was a really wonderful occasion and yes, go see the jungle folks.

It's terrific and think of aging can a a gill an incredible writer and I didn't agree with him on everything last it one of these I like to have him as a restaurant review as a course cos he suffer from alcoholism earlier didn't drink.

I don't drink either and I still like the fact that he got a restaurant and review The Food without getting distracted bottle of wine.

Yes, I think he appreciated that the other thing is that I love to sort of you.

No philosophy of the table.

It was it wasn't just about the food.

It was about his whole approach.

The life just before we move on I wanted to ask about your time is Washington correspondent.

Cos we can I didn't mention that mean you did politics for the New Statesman you and Washington correspondent for how many years will actually I was first sent to New York and that's really where I wanted to go original me and I went to New York arrive New York in July 2001 and about six weeks later 911 happens are wow.

What a time to be there where were you when it happened? I was in Battery Park wow and I just miss seeing it, but I had the Boom basically I was supposed to be a degree to make a Radio 4 programme about my grandmother.

I'm half American and my grandmother had come through Ellis Island and I was going to make a program for radio for the archive hour about Ellis Island house waiting to get on the ferry and Sam literally were I was literally right there.

Yes, because I was living in Brooklyn and otherwise.

I probably would have been at my desk in Brooklyn and then the bridge.

Love shot and I've been on the other side of the river and Wii battery pack is yards away.

It was yards away and it was the most terrifying experience of my life and when those buildings came down.

I couldn't believe I wasn't going to get crushed by them.

Let me know I'll definitely got covered in dust and other debris.

It was really scary and it was just so upsetting to see the whole whole thing pre-match from start to finish when this was happening.

What did you manage to can of Stan decided as it were from the human reaction to Kala think objectives ages to cover the detail and has presumably you were going to have to write this up very quickly yeah, it actually happened on a Tuesday so first Sunday journalist if anything I had a frustrating gap as ice full of things I wanted to say it was such a stocking sensory experience and I remember finally found in adobe's mobiles work.

I finally found a landline where I could ring the desk to tell them I was there because I was sure though.

You trying to raise me up at 6.

I'm here.

I'm watching it and I got through to the Sunday Times to the deputy foreign editor there and he told me I did not for myself as in the fog of war Downtown Manhattan he told me that a plane that just hit the Pentagon at that point.

I thought my god this is World War II I felt that and didn't know what to make of it because I just seen the worst scenes of my life and had this idea that maybe what was happening in Washington was even worse anyway, the first building kingdown.

I had to basically leg it and and I have spelt with this overwhelming desire to see my family and I lived on the other side of the bridge in Brooklyn Heights and we were in any case been evacuated that way and as we were walking over these river over the east river and as we were walking towards as fast as we could away from the tree.

Centre in a huge crowds be moved the second building came down and then there's a silly haven't even come down and then a further huge dust cloud you know kept that you was going to talk to me, but they actually went straight down if you were talking remember that YouTube video think I might have to swim through I got home to my family and braced my young children mental I'm now on the wrong side of the river and had to hitchhike.

Hope your bag over with emergency services network course a report.

I should have not gone home time for children, but I think I was injured and yeah, I did eventually most get back and I think that's why I was much more engaged in the wholesale of War on terror as well, because I really felt it is nearly got me in my Nearest and Dearest anyway.

I I went Washington nowhere in 2004 basically.

I did I did have been reporting on the election and then moved to Washington immediately after the 2004 elections George W Bush the time before 9/11 was widely regarded to be an idiot one term president at best and earth on footnote and then it cost 9/11 happened and is incredibly strong response with you support it or not was was clearly meant video did she get the country United behind him? Yeah? There was a moment when everybody was United I mean a lot of history that dissipated as the war became more and more of a tricky proposition but at that time the whole of America felt United but you've not been afraid to take this controversial positions like you back George W Bush in 2004 because you you said he was the present best place for the warrant Eric I did I mean his opponent then John Kerry was talking about withdrawing troops from Afghanistan I thought that would just undo everything that have been done and in fact the search that happened a bit later on.

George Bush was helpful I think so even if the war had been mismanaged.

There was that feeling of but don't just throw it all away and in fact.

I think we did see unit with the rise of Isis how dangerous it is to pull out and leave a vacuum and I was concerned about that.

I also didn't think John Kerry was in I wasn't a big fan, but it that way but you say it's a controversial position, but if you think about it, George Bush one Tony Blair 13 elections here.

It wasn't control wasn't controversial there anyway, what's happened since is that people have rewritten history pretended that they never voted for any of that I didn't support it on never do that im the last remaining blairite and always will be yeah.

You know if you've written an article saying I'm supporting George Bush it's going to be there in the records and for some reason the person who writes my Wikipedia entry over which I should say I have no control has decided that's one of the most important articles.

And it is therefore ever thought when the chilcot report came out.

I was the only person in the British Media to write an article called in Defence of Tony Blair and remember posting it said to my colleague.

I'm going to put my tin hat on now.

He has a little nut 102, days later.

Thank you baby shower game is just using classes.

Yeah, probably got it on his wall after all the pelting that he's been receiving since I know it's ridiculous that you mentioned system made me think of a question about journalist being in more danger than ever now in the Theatre of War because Isis you know deliberately when it take prisoners the address them in the scanner fluorescent orange Guantanamo Bay think the executor live streaming.

You know they don't even respect the fact that if you wearing her flat jacket.

This is press on it that that won't give the more reason to kidnap you it just seems to me now that even the Old rules covering walk as a journalist the seem to have been set aside does cast aside can't meet so dangerous.

I mean on my foreign escapades when I was still at time out.

I went off to Casa to report on the riser.

This little-known group called hammer.

I would not be doing that on my own now as a freelance journalist.

Just just refund you have to be careful and and you know you talked about people that to him.

We miss like a girl well.

I also miss Marie Colvin what's an amazing journalist.

Yeah, I'm a very very sadly mend such an inspiring what she was what she loves doing.

Yes, but not just killed but targeted that's what we now know the words so so awful.

Yes, specifically targeted by am president Assad and his son murdered hideous henchman and murdered for doing her job.

Do you feel that sense of responsibility builder when you when you do send someone to cover a dangerous story cutter could be someone on the insight team that's going after a gangster.

It could be someone you know going to cover Syria that it they might not come back.

Always you always worry about it in.

La systems have been beefed up since Sir Maurice death and the annular member of the magazine editor having to sort of sign off people's assignments if they were going anywhere dangerous and you'd go through with the security consultant.

What are the risks? What's the roots? What is the you know? What's the Escape Plan should one be necessary and you try and look at it from every degree, but undoubtedly the nature of journalism has has changed mean.

They're still scope for fantastic foreign reporting but I do feel that dictators like I said I getting away with a hell of a lot because of the lack of reported in the field now in some ways the arrival of citizen journalist with their cellphones people on the ground able to record things smuggled out stuff to the world outside, but it's much harder to verify that kind of information.

Nothing beats sending a professional journalist and experienced person to a war zone to tell the truth about what's going on and it's incredibly hard now and particularly in various locations in you call me warned about these so-called click to this that had a muzzle the Free Press as you can't let you know how big of thread is this this stop funding hate campaign in themselves, stop funding hate campaign or pipsqueaks.

They really don't have a lot of power but there are lot of different forces trying to muzzle the press and they've hit on this clicktivism which is all very easy cos you just get people to like share retweet right through the internet it mean it's it's it's all virtue signalling it costs nothing.

It's so easy and what they do say right to an Advertiser they pretend to love them they say I'm a genuine customer which you know usually like my eye they are and say I love your product, but sadly I won't be able to buy any more.

Because you advertise with you no fillin.

The blanks Daily Mail usually has it sometimes the sun and I don't really like what Tim Martin says about brexit, but I'll still go down on a Sunday morning for my fry up.

I love Wetherspoons exactly and it's basically a free press depends on advertising.

It's never just depended on the Honest pound in your pocket good though.

That is as well and I've always argued against a pure advertising model for the Press so it's a mixture of people paying for the news and and advertises chicken in and so to try and pretend to people I can Paperchase or LEGO on if you ever they've attack but there's an army of people against them who were going to stop using their products.

It's just think it's it's ridiculous and then usually a lie, but it does Sam mean it had its brief Moment of Glory and getting people to boycott the mail and other products.

I think they're a menace but I think in the order of things there Are Worse Things going on with the present moment agreed and like you were saying was good and bad in all political parties is good and bad old newspapers.

I mean that you know decorators worst is not this again pleasant, but there's a lot that the Daily Mail does incredibly well and we only have a look at that David Cameron for justice for Stephen Lawrence's killers, and it's not just that they do well on campaigns that we approve of there's a huge section of the population that wants to read the Daily Mail just as there's a huge section of population wants through the Sunday Times all the Guardian let people choose the publication of their choice.

Why is it up to stop funding hate to try and say what people ought to be reading I mean normally what they basically think is the everybody ought to be reading the Guardian when you started out there were very few women newspapers in a big change now.

It's changing and it's definitely a difference.

I mean when I was starting out.

There is literally a phrase called the shallow end where a lot of the women were concentrated.

In features everything is at the very terms shadowing tells you everything you need to know about how women was seen as second-class citizens.

Not anymore one.

There's a proper appreciation any way of the importance of lifestyle journalism, so it's not shallow in any way and contains some of the very best writing in newspapers the idea that people only reading Sunday newspaper or any newspaper for you know the ins and outs of brexit will be wrong, but the women have been moving up into The Newsroom we've got a wonderful news editor should be great on your programme called Becky Barrow and we have many more female writers female commentators even if you creeping into the sports deaths Rebecca Myers is a round of mine.

She had to listen to This podcast I know she'll appreciate the shower time.

We had a wood chipper off so that she can get a mention exactly even the last bastions beginning.

And a good thing to but as you know we talked about Marie Colvin always a legend and an inspiration to me when I became a journalist they have always been brilliant women journalists and who I have hero worship in my tongue.

Won't your deputy editor the Sunday Times that we recently had Emma Tucker on deputy editor the times at both been incredibly Albert this Martin ivens John witherow both of them and then you don't come there be some kind of Revolution will the next editor of both of them be you and Emma well.

I'm sure the m and I would love that and but would also like to be chosen on merit.

I certainly would I doubt she say anything different but and there's no begins turnings Amazon never and there are always very talented people coming along behind you so nothing is guaranteed in life, but of course I would love their to BA1

Editor of the Sunday Times and now, I'm sure it's time for it muscular questions in this one follows on directly from what you said then.

He's is what is NXT think you'll remain at the Sunday Times for quite some time.

No one's ever really answered that anyway.

I always say who knows and knows her hand my notice in tomorrow.


No one knows what the future holds.

That's for sure and journalism one thing I found it Sunday Times is that I've loved changing jobs that I've done a lot of different jobs at Sunday Times and I think you know when I think I've been there a long time.

I'm well.

You know yes, but I've worked on newsrevue.

I've worked in New York Washington magazine now deputy editor and frankly they're still jobs at the Sunday Times that I'd like to do that aren't even the editorship although I would love that as well sometimes I hear us talking about know who should we send to be foreign Correspondents and where can I buy am involved in this with recruiting process P&O most want to put my hand up and say I would love to do that.

Zebra skinny great job so many interesting parts of the world to cover so many things going on in Britain that are exciting or at least important and so as long as you've got an appetite for finding out the new cell always be something interesting to do in journalism last question then to end on a high note what's been the best day of Eucharist of high.

What's been the thing that you've done in year journalism career of which you most proud.

I think it was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sunday Times magazine that wasn't a personal Triumph but I did feel it was an important milestone Sunday Times magazine Wood been the first colour supplement in Britain screw magazine with Ellie sitting in that chair yet and I had known the daughter of the Legendary godfrey-smith as a young girl and he had been editor of the Sunday Times magazine.

I thought what a fantastic job.

I didn't know anybody else was.

An interesting thing but there was always a big Legacy issue with the magazine.

They always be police are always what you know almost from the very day.

It was launched.

It was always better in the past the minute death rate in the singer in what it used to be in all that but with my colleagues you put on a terrific exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery that ran right up to the present day from the beginning to the present amazing photographs 300000 people came to see it and the search Gary kept extending the length of time it was open for because they loved it so much and people coming in such huge numbers and we had so many good writers who put their names on the walk and I thought it had such a good feeling and I felt like in 50 years.

You'd always been great and it was great now.

It was great then and it just the wonderful product and I felt so proud of everything that had happened.

And accomplish my felt so proud to be editing it that it wasn't in itself my dream job as a self always been interested in News politics lots of things besides features, but there was that sense of real feeling of accomplishment but term intensive standing on the shoulders of giants and history and it will blended into one that night and lots of my friends with there and legends.

We've talked about like Maria I think it was the last time.

I saw her in fact while Sarah we're running out of metaphorical tip unfortunately not and it's a compliment.

I feel it will really runny but halfway through a cake on for an hour and a quarter really but she wouldn't have to leave it there.

Thank you ever so much for an amazing conversation.

I really appreciate it.

You're very welcome right angles podcast in association with big things Media

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