Alex Massie

The Executive Problem

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In its way, this anecdote - culled from AN Wilson's touching eulogy for the great Hugh Massingberd is a very telling illustration of how, regardless of technological changes, newspapers have got themselves into such a mess:

Part of the secret of Hugh’s overwhelming charm was in his vulnerability. He played up the moments when he had been humiliated, and made jokes about them. But he also really did mind. Just when he thought the new obituaries page had got off to a flying start, a thrusting ‘exec’ on the Telegraph complained to him that there were too many heroic brigadiers with absurd nicknames, and moustachoied wing-commanders. ‘Why’, asked this person, ‘can’t you write about more young people on the obituaries page?’ Hugh’s response was a mild: ‘I’ll see what I can do’.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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