Richard Scott: Journalist and Scott Trust chairman

 

Being born into a powerful dynasty, with the expectation that you will eventually rise effortlessly within it, can be a mixed blessing.

Richard Scott, grandson of the legendary Guardian editor and proprietor CP Scott ("Comment is free but facts are sacred") made the most of his privileged inheritance and was able to play a role in preserving the newspaper as an independent liberal voice. In 1966, when both The Guardian and The Times were in dire financial straits, Richard's cousin Laurence Scott, chairman of The Guardian, conceived a plan to merge the two titles, in part to thwart Roy Thomson's ultimately successful bid to acquire The Times. There was strong opposition to this within The Guardian, spearheaded by the editor, Alastair Hetherington, who would have lost his job had the merger taken place.

Richard Scott, then the Guardian's Washington correspondent, was also chairman of the Scott Trust, charged with safeguarding the paper's heritage. He gave Hetherington his wholehearted support and eventually Laurence abandoned his plan, soon forfeiting much of his power within the company. Although it is doubtful whether the merger would have happened even if Laurence had pursued it – there were strong reservations at The Times as well – Richard's stand earned the gratitude of colleagues and secured him a reputation as the paper's saviour.

He articulated his view of the Trust's mission a few months later, when he declared that the Guardian "is not in business for the sake of business; that we are not an ordinary commercial firm animated by normal commercial motives; that the company has to be commercially viable, not in order to make profits, but so that we may continue to publish The Guardian".

Born in 1914, educated at Gresham's School in Norfolk and Christ's College, Cambridge, Scott experienced tragedy in 1932 when he saw his father, Ted Scott, drown in a boating accident on Lake Windermere after he himself had swum to safety. Ted had become editor of The Guardian (then The Manchester Guardian) three years earlier, when CP Scott was eventually persuaded to retire after 58 years in the post.

After Cambridge, Richard did not immediately join the family enterprise but took on a variety of roles, including stints at the British Council and the Foreign Office, until he was appointed the Manchester Guardian's diplomatic correspondent in 1947. He was made chairman of the Trust in 1956, the year Hetherington was appointed editor, and the two men quickly became allies.

His first marriage broke down soon after he moved to Washington in 1963. There he and his second wife, Anna Walmsley, set themselves up in grand style, in a house in Georgetown with an indoor fountain and a floodlit garden where influential guests, including many of Washington's power élite, would sip cocktails and watch the flickering fireflies. Confident but unassertive, Scott was popular in the American capital. He and Anna, a consummate cook and hostess and a talented artist and potter, entertained frequently and generously, sometimes inviting visiting Guardian journalists and executives to stay with them in Georgetown or at their weekend retreat in Maryland. "I regarded him as more of a diplomat than a proper reporter," says a former colleague.

His strength as a correspondent was in analysis and opinion rather than in the nitty-gritty of news gathering, and he savoured the freedom of comment over the more demanding discipline of facts. The paper's foreign news desk in London would be frustrated by his reluctance to provide fast copy on the day's developing stories; yet his position on the Trust deterred them from remonstrating with him too severely. Moreover he had a fraught relationship with Alistair Cooke, the paper's New York correspondent, whom others also found hard to deal with.

Scott left Washington in 1971 for a three-year assignment as Paris correspondent before giving up active journalism on turning 60, when he bought a vineyard near Limoux in southern France. He remained chairman of the Trust until 1984, and frequent business trips caused strains in his marriage: Anna told friends she felt trapped, looking after the vineyard while he went back and forth to London.

When they divorced he stayed in France, where he married a local woman, Christiane. She and Anna survive him, as does Tamara, the daughter from his second marriage.

Richard Farquhar Scott, journalist: born Norfolk 16 May 1914; married firstly Ruth (marriage dissolved; one son, deceased), secondly Anna Walmsley (marriage dissolved; one daughter), thirdly Christiane; chairman, Scott Trust 1956-84; died 11 November 2011.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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 General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game