IoS 1000th issue: 1999-2001, Janet Street-Porter

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Couldn't edit a bus ticket? Don't make me laugh. I started the Pink List, beefed up our arts coverage and fought hard for better rural access

My appointment in June 1999 caused great anxiety among the chattering classes – I can't imagine why. Kelvin MacKenzie said I couldn't edit a bus ticket, exactly the kind of pathetic putdown I'd expect from his track record on The Sun. I was hardly a newcomer: having started my journalistic career as a columnist on the Mail in 1969, I'd spent 10 years as a TV executive at the BBC, running 35 series with a multimillion-pound budget. I'd regularly presented political programmes as well as running live, news-based output, but reading critics such as Roy Greenslade, you'd think that the Indy's bosses had lost their marbles, and handed the paper to an airhead who'd be putting frocks and froth on the front page.

I've always been passionate about the countryside, and lived in North Yorkshire for 30 years. My other big love affair has been with the arts – having trained as an architect, I firmly believe they enrich our lives in so many ways. During my time as editor we increased our coverage in both these areas, with columnists such as Will Self, Jonathan Meades, Jo Brand and Salman Rushdie. We covered rural affairs more widely than before, campaigning for Ministry of Defence land to be opened up for the public to enjoy in our "Forbidden Britain" campaign, and highlighting the secretive way the Government was trying to introduce controversial GM foods into the UK, predicting they would have a detrimental effect on the landscape as well as our health.

Our coverage of GM issues won environment editor Geoffrey Lean many awards and led to wider press coverage of green issues as well as anticipating the popularity of organic food. The countryside also had its share of disasters during my time at the IoS – widespread flooding caused immense distress in November 2000, and was followed by the foot-and-mouth outbreak in March 2001, with shocking images of burning pyres of cattle.

Readers responded strongly to our "Passenger Power" campaign, and filled the pages with their horror stories at the hands of public-transport operators. The Paddington rail crash in October 1999 only underlined the need for reform.

I'm proud of introducing the Pink List in August 2000 – the first time a national newspaper had highlighted the positive contribution gay men and women make in so many aspects of life.

I also enjoyed interviewing the Prime Minister in September 2000, immediately after the fuel crisis, which saw the country grind to a halt as lorry drivers and farmers protested at the rising cost of petrol. In spite of the dent in his popularity, Blair seemed eager to talk on a wide range of subjects, but he couldn't resist showing me new baby Leo, who was asleep on the duvet on their bed.

Despite foot and mouth and the fuel protests, the Labour Government was returned by a landslide in June 2001, and I decided to step down as editor. The newspaper had taken over my life for two years, and I'd thoroughly enjoyed it, and the circulation had even risen, so sod the critics.

Click on the image above to see Janet Street-Porter's selection

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
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

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Display Account Manager

£25,000 to £35,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Company Our client are th...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director

£80 – 120K : Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director – Ad tech - £80 – 120K...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum