My Mentor: Sarah Miller On Max Hastings

'He's had his fair share of ups and downs and that makes him the better an editor'
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The Independent Online

He was innovatory; he was dynamic and he was also incredibly decisive. I think he was prepared to take a risk. He's someone who really appreciates the efforts of his journalists to get a story and never lost sight of that when he was editor.

In conference he would sit behind his large antique desk - he'd usually been in since about 6.30 in the morning, pounding away at his keyboard, typing a leader. He'd already done a day's work by the time that most journalists turned up. And then he would leave at quarter to six and just leave you to get on with it. He was shrewd enough, as all good editors are, to appoint talented deputies and executives, notably Don Berry, Veronica Wadley and Emma Soames. Martin Newland, now the editor, was the number three in the newsroom then.

You never felt Max breathing down your neck. What you felt was a kind of presence that you wanted to live up to. He would lope around Canary Wharf's extraordinary building, as it was then when not much else had moved down there, and stop off for chats and say how terrific he thought something was.

He made you think beyond the ideas to how it would be packaged, but he also allowed you to be surprising. If he was taken with a quirky idea which wasn't mainstream, he would listen. The Telegraph blossomed under his editorship: it put on circulation, it put on sections and it allowed its features to breathe.

He is also immensely kind and humane - he's had his own fair share of ups and downs in his life and I think that makes him the better an editor.

Sarah Miller is editor of Condé Nast Traveller