Geoff Brown: crime correspondent for Scottish Television

One of Scotland’s best-known and most capable televison journalists, Geoff Brown, has been found dead at his home in Edinburgh.

Brown, 42, left his high-profile post at Scottish Television two years ago. He had a history of problems with depression and alcohol dependence.

He began his career on the Alloa Advertiser weekly newspaper after studying journalism at Napier College, Edinburgh.

He was destined for a broadcasting career which began at Radio Forth and then at BBC Radio Scotland, before joining Scottish Television in 1987.

As a regular on STV’s flagship news programme Scotland Today, Brown had the home affairs brief before becoming the station’s crime correspondent and eventually chief news correspondent in 1999 – promotions in recognition of his outstanding broadcast talent.

A spokesman for the Scottish Media Group, which owns STV, said: “Geoff Brown was an extremely talented broadcast journalist who covered some of the biggest Scottish news stories of the past 20 years.

“As crime correspondent for Scottish TV, he reported on all of the major court cases of the late 1980s and 1990s.

“He was a gifted broadcaster who had the ability to take a complex story and explain it to viewers.

His death is a loss to Scottish journalism.”

Among the major stories which he covered were the tragedies at Piper Alpha, Lockerbie and Dunblane.

Writing in The Herald, Jon Keane paid tribute to Brown’s talents. “Death always brings a particular kind of sadness, made all the more acute when accompanied by relative youth and a sense of a talent wasted.

“He could deliver lengthy, complicated pieces to camera in one take. He wrote simply and with a minimum of fuss allowing the picture to tell the story.

“He delivered scripts beautifully with that trademark voice: rich and warm, impeccably timed; inflection at just the right moment.

“During his time as crime correspondent he covered a particularly grisly period in the history of his native city. In an age when court reporting is a dying journalistic discipline, Geoff turned it into a television art form.

“Few, if any, who have graced our screens can boast to have reported the intricacies of our criminal courts with better accuracy or more style. He had the kind of relaxed authority that was the envy of colleagues and brought him the admiration of viewers.

“Geoff Brown had a long and painful battle with alcohol. Like so many others it was to get the better of him. His behaviour, perhaps inevitably for someone with a public profile, attracted severely negative tabloid headlines.

“It would be wrong to allow these headlines to be his legacy. He leaves behind a solid body of journalistic achievement. He packed more into a short career than many do in a lifetime of work.

“His friends, with a rueful shake of the head, will always lament the waste and the contribution that might have been.”

Divorced from television journalist Suzi Mair, Brown is survived by a son and four daughters.

Hamish Mackay

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