Reporting the world as we found it? It was an unfamiliar idea, but a good one

'My most striking memory of The Independent comes from the time before it was published'

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The Independent Online

My most striking memory of The Independent comes from the time before it was published, when the staff were occupied with the production of dummy issues, brought each day to the threshold of being printed.

One day, John Price, kingpost of the home news desk, was sending a young reporter out to cover a story. She had joined the paper from one of the Tory tabloids. She paused at the door and turned to John: “What quotes do you want?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Go and find out what they say.”

“Oh,” she replied, took a moment to digest this unfamiliar idea, and left to do the job.

There are two ways of covering news. One is to decide in the office what the story is, and send the reporters out to find that story. The other involves sending the reporters out to look at the world and bring back what they find out – and then printing what they write. The former procedure is much more common than you might think – and not only in Tory tabloids. The latter is a more reliable way of telling truth, and it’s what I believe The Independent stands for.

Guy Keleny has worked for  The Independent since 1986