Defining success in journalism

Gibbs, who died in 2011, was renowned for his tenacious belief that he was only ever one step behind the missing peer. Not that he minded, however, because he spent a great deal of his employer’s money travelling the world while failing to get his man.

Reflecting on the matter after 30 years of fruitless journalistic endeavour, he explained that he had adopted as his motto an observation made by the canny Sunday Express editor John Junor: “Laddie, you don’t ever want to shoot the fox. Once the fox is dead there is nothing left to chase.”

Gibbs wrote: “With that in mind I regard not finding Lord Lucan as my most spectacular success in journalism. Of course, many of my colleagues have also been fairly successful in not finding Lord Lucan. But I have successfully not found him in more exotic spots than anybody else.”

Indeed, he had. He failed to locate him after three weeks in Cape Town, which was handy because Gibbs, a South African, was able to visit friends and relatives. Nor did he find him in Macau or Hong Kong or the Bahamas.

The point which all journalists have to remember. It’s really not about the journalism, nor the journalists. The game is about filling in the white spaces in between the advertisements. Speaking truth to power and all that malarkey is the lie told to the self to make mirror watching possible.

12 thoughts on “Defining success in journalism”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    “Laddie, you don’t ever want to shoot the fox. Once the fox is dead there is nothing left to chase.”

    I believe that is the motto of the fusion people as well.

    Who thinks that employees are mostly concerned about their own well being? Even if they are civil servants?

  2. Ah, the good old days…spending a great deal of our employer’s money travelling the world, visiting friends and relatives, partying, eating and drinking whatever isn’t nailed down.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Bernie G. – “Ah, the good old days…spending a great deal of our employer’s money travelling the world, visiting friends and relatives, partying, eating and drinking whatever isn’t nailed down.”

    You have to be a politician or a civil servant to get that these days.

    Good old days.

  4. He failed to locate him after three weeks in Cape Town, which was handy because Gibbs, a South African, was able to visit friends and relatives. Nor did he find him in Macau or Hong Kong or the Bahamas.

    I never knew Gibbs, or read any of his articles. But based on the above, I feel a tremendous sense of non-erotic love for that man.

    Mr Ecks – Jack McGee never caught up with The Hulk either.

    A murder which Lord Lucan can never prove he or the creature didn’t commit. So he must let the world go on thinking that he too is dead, until he can find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him.

  5. Journalism? A nice place to go in the evening for a chat with your mates and a sit down in the warm. I still think it’s amazing that there is always just the right number of words to fill all that white space, even if sometimes they aren’t the right words.

  6. The self-regard of journalists is remarkable. Note how al-beeb or The Times will run prominent features on journalists attacked or injured while pursuing their story.

  7. I believe that is the motto of the fusion people as well.

    That is exquisitely dry wit, SMFS. You are a man of many parts.

  8. I understand that in Australia 300 out of 350 climate scientists’ jobs are being made redundant: well, the science is settled.

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