Ouch.. that’s gotta hurt: departing reporter calls Telegraph execs “Gollums”

Quite a writeup of a Telegraph leaving party at Media Guardian (free registration required; we like being retro) [no registration! huzzah!]:

[Departing reporter Stewart] Payne told of 30 exhilarating years as a news reporter, during which he was sent to more than 100 countries.

However, he was damning about the place he leaves behind and especially the decision by the paper, which once had such regional strengths, to axe the two bureaux.

Managers tried to force both correspondents to abandon their posts and work from London. “Why has my job and David’s gone?” Payne asked.

“It has nothing to do with multimedia platforms and the hub and spoke newsrooms. They still have their place in a changing world. It has everything to do with the personalities of the people who are now in charge of news-gathering.

“The Telegraph I joined was a paper full of individuals, characters. The new regime cannot cope with that. They are one-dimensional control freaks who work to a formula. Their minds are not big enough and their shoulders are not broad enough to accept that district men were employed to share some of the burden of news editing.”

He added: “I have found myself working for humourless individuals, the Gollums of the newspaper world, craven and driven and with no flair or character.”

As he says, the idiocy of this is that you don’t have to be in the office to do work – in fact you save more time. Every piece of information that you need can be delivered through a browser and email and IM (with video) and a phone.

What you don’t get in the office is the office politics, and the buckets of poo being dropped on your head by the newsdesk which has just had similar poured onto it by the editor in the afternoon conference.

As a friend mentioned to me, every time you come in it seems like someone is leaving (and certainly at the recent Indie unofficial 21st birthday recently there were many more ex-Telegraph people than now-Telegraph people): “You’d have thought they’d *notice* that there’s a distinct sense of deserting rats about the place, but the Good Ship Barclay Twins sails on regardless,” the friend noted. Hmm.

Of course, it’s leaving parties which give you the best stories..


  1. No registration required AFAIK.

  2. I thought Gollum had both flair and character.

  3. Reg is dead, baby, reg is dead. Party like it’s 1995 :)

  4. Aww, what happened to the registration?

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