Fiona Beaumont - Freelance and former chief sub-editor, Family Circle and TV Times

Fiona
Beaumont (née Ross), one of the finest magazine sub-editors of her
generation, has sadly died after a short illness. She was 58.

Fiona
brought a self-effacing charm to the rigours of the relentless
deadlines she navigated for so many years. She was a meticulous
professional and her ability to spot a literal, an inaccuracy or a
wrong spelling was second to none.

She worked at TV Times from
1985 to 2004 – the last two and a quarter years as chief sub-editor of
the programmes section of the magazine, on which she had been deputy
chief sub-editor for the previous nine years.

She decided to
leave IPC last September and embarked on a successful independent
career. She was heavily in demand because her qualities were quickly
heralded around the freelance village and recently she worked for News
International, Radio Times and The Daily Telegraph.

Not only was
she a super sub and leader of people, she was a great colleague who
took it upon herself to make life and working conditions as good she
could for all around her.

TV Times editor Mike Hollingsworth paid
this tribute: “Fiona was TV Times through and through. In the
19-and-ahalf years she worked on the magazine, first as a down-table
sub, working her way up to chief sub, she put her heart and soul into
her work.

“She was a first rate journalist, who was a true expert
in her field, putting in long hours and much care to ensure copy was
perfect before she passed it for press.

“She was a stickler for
accuracy, kind, considerate and great fun. She earned ahuge amount of
respect from her colleagues and a lot of affection from her staff. All
of her friends on TV Times will miss her tremendously.”

She once
had the task of cutting an article written by a particularly irascible
film critic who, as a formidable writer, treasured his every word.
Fiona had to brandish her delicate scalpel quite ruthlessly to make the
article fit the allotted space and she dreaded the publication date
when he would inevitably see his purple prose cut so much.

In he
came to work and turned to his article straight away. Fiona, wrongly
unsure of her immense abilities, feared the tempest would erupt so
asked him what he thought of her subbing efforts.

His reply was short and to the point: “I hadn’t even noticed you had cut a word out.” That was how good she was.

Fiona
was born on 12 April 1946 in Glasgow. She moved to Galashiels aged 13
and entered Edinburgh University in 1964, graduating with an MA in fine
art. In September 1968 she joined DC Thomson in Dundee as an editorial
assistant, where she benefited from the tough but thorough training as
a sub-editor. A year later she moved to London to become a sub-editor
on Woman’s Weekly Libraries, condensing romantic fiction titles from
publishers such as Robert Hale into pocket-sized paperbacks.

In
September 1970 Fiona joined Woman as a sub-editor and then became a
senior sub-editor. She remained at IPC until July 1975, having moved on
to become a beauty writer, researching, interviewing, merchandising and
organising photographic sessions.

She moved to Thomson magazines
in 1975 where she was chief sub-editor of Family Circle for four years
before joining Independent Television Publications as a features
sub-editor and writer on TV Times, during which time she edited a
spin-off TV Times diary.

In May 1981 she left to become a mother
and housewife but still worked as a freelance. She began her career
anew in 1985 on the programmes section of TV Times.

Fiona is
survived by her daughter Esther and son David from her marriage to
Chris Beaumont. The world of journalism is a poorer place for her
passing.

Dean Bartram

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