Jack Myles

Jack Myles, former assistant editor of the Sunday Mail who has died at the age of 70, was a key player in the technological revolution that started in Glasgow and swept through the rest of Britain's newspapers early in the 1970s.

He was night editing the Daily Record when it made the leap from a hot metal operation, with clattering linotypes in Hope Street, Glasgow, to a new plant featuring computer typesetting and web-offset printing, just a mile away at Anderston Quay.

Many people would have been daunted by this leap into the unknown, but not Jack.

Known for his capacity to make sound, fast decisions, he revelled in the switch and the opportunities it gave the paper.

Although the technology wasn't what we know today (there was still a caseroom producing punched tape, and pages were pasted up, not composed on screen) the transformation in the Record enabled it to set a blistering pace in Glasgow's perennial circulation wars.

With colour news pictures, the Record went on to sell well over 700,000, eclipsing the once mighty Scottish Daily Express.

Jack's career began in Dundee, when he joined DC Thomson's Sunday Post straight from Grove Academy. After national service in the Marines he returned to Scotland. A stint subbing on the London evening The Star added more polish to his professionalism and sharpened his ability to turn stories round quickly.

He moved to the Evening Citizen in Glasgow, then to the Daily Record, by then part of the Mirror empire. His sharp headlines and punchy writing soon saw him elevated to chief sub.

When the editor instigated a Mirror-type system which saw Jack rotated out of his chief sub slot two or three nights a week to sit on the back bench, he opted instead to stay as chief sub.

That saw me — his deputy — operating on the back bench and issuing instructions a couple of nights a week, and taking orders from Jack the other nights. Amazingly it worked, helped by Jack's unfailing good humour.

Jack moved ahead to become night editor at Anderson Quay and later moved to the Sunday Mail as assistant editor.

He had a freelance role editing The Scottish Miner and developed his freelance operations after leaving the paper under a Maxwell deal in 1988.

Jack is survived by Edna, whom he met while working at DC Thomson, and three sons.

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