i Editor's Letter: So this is goodbye


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The Independent Online


So this is goodbye. Stefano has kindly let me have this space this week to make my excuses and leave, as we hacks like to say. After 35 years of producing newspapers, I am exchanging the confines of the newsroom for wide open spaces of the Gloucestershire countryside, and a new career as a freelance gardening writer.

Will I miss it? I'll miss the people. Daily newspaper folk become a kind of extended family, fused together by the white heat of deadlines, the frustrations of news gathering and the desire to beat the hell out of the competition.

So much has changed since I started as a trainee on the Evening News in Edinburgh. In those days, the copy was set by compositors in hot metal, from typewritten sheets written either by reporters or spewed out from the teleprinters serving the big news agencies.

In those days, the unions ruled Fleet Street, both in the newsroom, and in the composing room. Many of my editorial colleagues started work at 16, while a printing apprenticeship took five years.

Today, most journalism entrants have a masters degree, while computer technology has revolutionised both printing and news-gathering.

Journalists have not had a good press recently, but I like to think that the majority – and certainly those on the i and its sister paper, The Independent – still have a lively sense of social justice and an even livelier sense of the ridiculous.

And while the world has been trying to write an obituary for newspapers for the past 10 years, we're still here – as i can triumphantly testify.

Where there are intelligent readers, there will always be a demand for the ability to find a good story and communicate it clearly. Goodbye, everyone, and God bless.

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