My Mentor: Conor McNicholas on Steve Sutherland

I was really green when I took over the NME in 2002, and without Steve Sutherland I would have crashed and burned. I first met him at the launch of NME.com 11 years ago. I was working on an internet magazine and a press release came through about the launch. I thought: "It's rock'*'roll, it's going to be a good bash, and you never know what might happen."

My intention was not to meet rock stars but NME people. Bolstered with Dutch courage, I introduced myself to Steve and we just kind of got on.

It was almost a year later when I next saw him, when Pulp were playing Finsbury Park. The NME was suffering a hangover from Britpop – the world had moved to dance music and the magazine hadn't followed it swiftly enough. Steve was looking for dance music heads and asked me to do a couple of weeks on the newsdesk, and gave me a list of questions about where the NME was going.

I was keen, but it was like pulling teeth. By the time I left, I said to myself I would never darken the NME's doors again.

A few years later, I was offered the editorship of Muzik and went back to IPC. Steve had left NME, and eight months later they asked me whether I'd be interested in applying for the editorship – they needed someone who was passionate about magazines, not just music.

Steve really looked after me in the first six months. There wasn't a single situation he hadn't been through himself, and he is really strong in a crisis. The NME is so visible; if you get it wrong, a lot of people know about it. He taught me how to have conversations with artists and learn about the brand. To this day, if you've got a cover or a feature and run it past Steve, he's always going to add value to it.

He was in my office last week arguing about the Radiohead album. Although we don't socialise a lot because we both have kids and work very different hours, he is someone who, even if I were to move on in future, I know will always be a very good friend.

Conor McNicholas edits NME; Steve Sutherland is editorial director, special projects at IPC

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate Start - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders