I’d just finished DJ’ing as news broke of Nelson Mandela's death. That gave us 90 minutes...

The sheer exhilaration of producing a newspaper against a tight deadline is unique

Share
Related Topics

Morning all. It was nearly 10pm on Thursday night, and I’d just finished DJ’ing at the office Christmas party. Stefano Hatfield, the editorial director of London Live – the capital’s television station, which launches in the spring – summoned me on the dance floor, whipped out his iPhone, and pointed to his Twitter stream. Nelson Mandela was dead.

We rushed back to the office, by G-Wiz, taxi, motorbike and whatever else was at hand. By the time we got here, Linda Taylor, our production editor, had been on to the print sites and got an extension to our deadline. So that would mean – on a day when we had already produced an extra supplement for the Autumn Statement – we had 90 minutes to pump out the best commemorative edition we could. And with that – Whoosh! – we were off.

Mandela’s long illness meant, like most news organisations, we had lots prepared. That includes the magnificent 48-page supplement in your newspaper today. We also had a number of pages that you read in yesterday’s newspaper. Alas for us these were in the wrong style, having been produced before our recent redesign. By sheer chance, we finally got round to updating them in sympathy with our new look on… Thursday morning. Goodness knows what we would have done if they had remained in the old style. Those of us in newspapers are much more dependent on luck than we like to admit.

Nights like this are what we thrive on. I don’t say that we take pleasure from a great man’s death; far from it, in fact. But the sheer exhilaration of producing a newspaper against a tight deadline is unique. How has the world reacted? Which correspondents should we send to South Africa? What shall we do for the front page?

This last question vexed me. We had lined up a picture of Mandela’s fist, but decided this was a sad moment about a noble soul, not a moment to agitate for revolution.

Such a giant news story overshadows all else including – unfortunately for George Osborne – the Autumn Statement. In the other allegedly big news story of the week, the details of Nigella Lawson’s private life became public.

I hope you think that our coverage has been proportionate. There has been an element of witch-hunt about the hysterical coverage of her. A feature of our culture is the demented pursuit of anyone  famous who is suffering in public, whereby their pain is used to make the rest of us feel better. At root this is an extremely sad story about the losses and loves of an extraordinary woman. This newspaper won’t lose sight of that. Have a great weekend.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Why it won’t be the i wot won it – our promise to you

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
A relative of dead Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman reacts after seeing his body at Dhaka Medical College in Dhaka on March 30,  

Atheists are being hacked to death in Bangladesh, and soon there will be none left

Rory Fenton
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor