My Biggest Mistake: Ray Josephs

MY BIGGEST mistake was leaving London for a girl back home in the States. It was in the 1930s, and as a result I missed the journalist's dream of reporting some of the great events affecting Britain, Europe and the world in the decade that followed. And I didn't get the girl.

I had gone to London in the hope of remaining for an unspecified period. Instead, I spent most of the decade covering the big, but less significant, stories in the US. Finally, at the end of 1939, I got my chance to go abroad for my then hometown newspaper, the Philadelphia Bulletin. There were limits to my brief. Go for five weeks. Rather than stories of international significance, find ex-Philadelphians who have gone to the Amazon or the Andes, and report on them.

So, single and unattached, I cruised down the Pacific (it was before commercial aviation in that region) and sought out a surprising number of hometowners in ancient cities and distant plains. Then came Buenos Aires. No thatched cottages there. Instead, to my amazement, a metropolis with broad boulevards and imposing architecture - truly a Paris in Latin America. There was a British community. Its members were third and fourth generation; they owned or ran banks, railways, utilities and the meat packing plants that were the source of much of the beef so popular in Britain. There was also a great English-language paper, the Buenos Aires Herald.

Two things happened. First, I was invited to dinner at the home of the Herald's publisher. He asked what I thought of the newspaper. I replied: 'Serious, but dull. No personalities. No gossip. No colour. No life.' He responded: 'If you're so smart, why don't you stay in Buenos Aires and see what you can contribute.' Two weeks later, my daily column, 'Personal But Not Private,' began running on Page 3, and to my great relief it was a hit.

At about the same time, I was introduced by a Dutch banker friend to a senorita. Ten months later, after a courtship that was properly chaperoned, she became my bride - and I reported the event in my column. We are still married after 53 years and live in New York.

It was not only love that worked out. While in the city, I helped set up the first Latin American news bureau for Time magazine, sent stories to the Chicago Sun-Times and other dailies, and the show business weekly Variety. Through the entertainment world, I got an early lead on Evita Duarte, who later married military strongman Juan Peron, and my reporting on life in their dictatorship became my first bestseller, Argentina Diary, and relaunched the foreign correspondent's career I had aborted years before in London.

From there, it was on to re-emerging Japan, where I set up what in its heyday was the largest independent network of public relations consultancies in the world. Using what I had learned in all those years - about how the busiest and most successful people accomplish far more than others in less time - I wrote my book on personal time management, How to Gain an Extra Hour Every Day, which has just been published in an original British version.

Still going strong in my eighties, I continue to capitalise on the mistake made all those years ago.

Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Quantitative Risk Manager

Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments