Friday, September 28, 2012

Derek Jameson i.m.

He wasn’t a big name in New Zealand – though he did appear on TV a few times over the years – but former tabloid editor Derek Jameson, who died on 12 September, was a huge name in Fleet Street. At the Daily Mirror he invented the Page Three girl and later, at the Daily Star, newspaper bingo. A Cockney who never lost his accent, he survived a terrible, five-to-a-bed childhood to become a committed left-winger and opera fan. So, an interesting man.

The Daily Telegraph obit is here; the Guardian’s here. It begins:
The story goes that when the working-class Derek Jameson, who has died aged 82, was the newly installed editor of the Daily Express in 1977, the paper’s patrician managing director, Jocelyn Stevens, bawled him out on the phone during a morning editorial conference within earshot of Jameson’s own staff. Jameson put the phone down on him in mid-sentence. In seconds, Stevens was back, telling James in tones of deadly menace never to put the phone down on him again. Jameson knew that his staff were wondering what he would do. “Wanna bet?” he is said to have asked Stevens, and put the phone down again.
Stevens declared to Jameson on his first day that he detested all journalists. Jameson cheerfully replied that he had only been a few hours in the place, but had already discovered that all journalists similarly detested Stevens.

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