My Mentor: Giles Hattersley on Eleanor Mills

'One really good lesson I learnt from her was to never, ever give up on a story'

I started at The Sunday Times the Monday morning after finishing my MA in fashion journalism. I had an internship on the Style magazine and then a researcher's job came up on the News Review, which was edited by Eleanor Mills. From being cocooned in the only part of the ST that actually smells like flowers, I found myself tossed in the deep end, sitting at the desk closest to the editor's office. It was a complete change of pace for me but I had an immediate connection with Eleanor. She is a fireball of ideas and super-confident – tougher than a cheap steak but deceptively wrapped up in soft cashmere tops. I was the only guy on the desk and thought it might be all chatting and slices of cake in the afternoon. In fact, they were all incredibly tough. Eleanor has this amazing ability to multi-task and, at any given moment, will be reading The New Republic and Grazia simultaneously, while on the phone commissioning Germaine Greer and having a nanny crisis at home, yet it all seemed so effortless. We had a really strong working relationship – we found the same things amusing and were always drawn to the same stories. She commissioned me to write something in my first week, when all I'd done before was photocopying. Then she sent me off to interview John Peel, and later down to Newquay to do an exposé of "Booze Britain". Despite all the vomit and screaming, it was great, particularly as she put it on the front of the News Review. She taught me a lot about being a boss. She uses a clever balance of "carrot and stick", which I think is crucial. One good lesson I learnt from her was to never, ever give up on a story; if you want to interview someone and they keep saying "no" you just have to keep asking until they say "yes". It felt very strange to leave Eleanor after three years because The Sunday Times was the only place I'd ever worked. Like a lot of first bosses, she was like a work parent to me, although I'm sure she wouldn't appreciate me getting mushy about it, though.

Giles Hattersley is the editor of Arena.

Eleanor Mills edits The Sunday Times News Review.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Guru Careers: Sales Director / Business Development Manager

£35 - 45K + COMMISSION (NEG): Guru Careers: A Sales Director / Business Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee