Mike Glover's Six of the Best: 'The interview is more important than the writing'

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Mike Glover was editor of the Bradford Telegraph & Argus and Yorkshire on Sunday, editor-in-chief of York & County Press, and editor/publisher of The Westmorland Gazette. He now runs Lakes & Bay communications – in this feature, published first in last week's Press Gazette – Journalism Weekly, he named his 'six of the best'. To receive your free copy of  Journalism Weekly every week fill in your details here. Best editor I came in on the tail-coat of a generation of superb regional editors: My own mentor Terry Quinn at Bedford and Bradford, Alan Prosser at Darlington, Keith Parker at Wolverhampton, Barry Williams at Nottingham and Plymouth, Geoff Courtney at Coventry and Portsmouth, Ian Beales at Bristol, Bob Satchwell at Cambridge and others. Nationally, there are three who stick out as innovators: Harold Evans, who invented the modern Sunday Times, David English who took the Daily Mail tabloid and Kelvin Mackenzie of fun-loving The Sun. If I had to pick one I would choose David English for setting the template for the most successful newspaper of the age. Best newspaper The Sunday Times is the paper I most admire for its comprehensive, knowledgeable and entertaining content, both editorial and advertisements; and the one I would most like to simulate. Best story you have worked on The biggest, most difficult and important to get right was undoubtedly the Bradford City Fire of 1985 just after I was appointed assistant Editor, one-man back bench, at the Bradford Telegraph & Argus. Staff saw the horror as fans, some lost relatives. The community was traumatised. If we had got that one wrong we would never have been forgiven. As a reporter, probably following police and ambulances to Britain's first sardine-can robbery and standing by an open window of a police car listening to the radio spell out how the robbers had got away with £250,000, a huge amount in 1976, after using a chainsaw to open up the security van. Best magazine Without doubt Private Eye which has been a staple of my reading diet for 40 years. It breaks endless exclusives, scythes through hypocrisy, exposes corruption and makes me laugh every fortnight. Best reporter Clive Crickmer, North-East reporter for the Daily Mirror, who inspired me how to find stories in the Classified section of my own paper, write concise copy and keep my humanity while covering the sometimes disturbing vagaries of human nature, all while having fun with the best job in the world. He was also a great cricketer and had the best party trick I ever saw: standing on his head while drinking a pint of bitter.

Best tips for aspiring journalists The interview is more important than the writing. It is being interested in people and their behaviour which make a good journalist. Be inquisitive. Let the interviewee tell the story, by asking ad nauseum: And what happened next? While at the same time being alert to challenge their version of events. Remember all five senses.

'How high were the flames when you arrived? Could you feel the heat? What did you smell? What did you taste? What did you hear?'If you do that job properly the story writes itself. Avoid hyperbole and comment, except in quotes. Let the readers decide how they react to the facts. Get it first, but first get it right.

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