Harold Evans’s newspaper memoirs
A golden age
Sep 17th 2009
From The Economist print edition
My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times. By Harold Evans. Little, Brown; 528 pages; $27.99 and ￡25. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
《我的报业人生：追忆似水年华》，哈罗德•埃文斯（Harold Evans） 著，Little, Brown出版，528页，27.99美元或25英镑。可从Amazon.com，Amazon.co.uk购买。
SIR Harold “Harry” Evans remains one of the great figures of modern journalism. For this reason, and because the kind of campaigning, reporting-based work he stood for is threatened as never before, his autobiography, written as he turned 80, is both gripping and timely.
The book opens with an account of Sir Harry’s rise from an upper working class home in Manchester. After an early setback of failing his 11-plus exam, his story is one of relentless ambition and determination. He left school at 16 to become a cub reporter on a local weekly. In love with journalism, he started a newspaper for the 800 men stationed with him in Wiltshire while doing his national service in the RAF.
Returning to civilian life in 1949, Sir Harry attended a lecture by a rather condescending executive (your reviewer’s father) from the ineffably superior Manchester Guardian, who grandly informed his audience that it was not possible to explain world events without a knowledge of politics and economics gained from reading the likes of Macaulay and Keynes. Inspired, and against considerable odds, Sir Harry wangled himself a place at Durham University. With a degree came the offer of a job at the Manchester Evening News, then one of the country’s most powerful provincial newspapers and, with its eight editions every weekday, one of the most demanding. It was here that Sir Harry acquired his hallmark virtuosity in almost every aspect of newspaper production. From reporting to editing to layout, there was no newsroom job he could not do.
1949年重返平民生活后，哈罗德（Harry）爵士参加了一位来自《曼彻斯特卫报》（Manchester Guardian）相当谦逊的主管的报告会，他告诉他的听众，如果没有通过阅读麦考利（Macaulay）和凯恩斯（Keynes）等类似人的著作而获得的政治和经济学知识，是不可能解释世界事件的。受此影响，哈罗德（Harry）爵士在杜伦大学（Durham University）为自己谋了一个位置。获得学位后，他获得了一份来自《曼彻斯特晚报》（Manchester Evening News）的工作，它是当时英国最有影响力的省报，这份报纸在工作日有八个版面，是要求最高的报纸之一。正是在这里，哈罗德（Harry）爵士学到了报纸业几乎所有的事情。从报道、编辑到排版，他无所不能。
A two-year break travelling America on a Harkness scholarship might have resulted in a career change. But at 32 he returned to England and was offered the editorship of the Darlington-based Northern Echo, a somewhat dated paper that still sold 100,000 copies daily across north-eastern England. Sir Harry speedily re-energised it with a revamped design, sharper reporting and editorials that addressed local issues. But what probably caught the eye of Denis Hamilton, the successful editor of the Sunday Times in London, was Sir Harry’s flair for investigative and campaigning journalism. The young editor bravely ran national campaigns in his regional paper when he believed there was a wrong to be righted. His battle to force a reluctant health service to introduce countrywide screening for cervical cancer may have helped save the lives of thousands of women.
哈克尼斯奖学金（Harkness scholarship）支持的两年美国短暂旅行，给他职业生涯带来转变。32岁时，他回到英国，成为辐射达林顿（Darlington）地区 《北方回声报》（Northern Echo）的编辑，这是一份古老的报纸，在英国的东北部仍有100,000的日销售量。哈罗德（Harry）爵士通过改进的设计、更尖锐的报道以及对本地事件的评论使它重新焕发了活力。但是可能吸引Denis Hamilton这位伦敦《星期日泰晤士报》（Sunday Times）的成功编辑眼球的是哈罗德（Harry）爵士调查和做新闻的天赋。当他相信有错误需要改正时，这位年轻的编辑勇敢地在他的区域性报纸中发起全国性的运动。他要求将乡村也纳入子宫颈癌的医疗保障范围内，这项措施可能已经拯救了数千名妇女的生命。
Hamilton brought Sir Harry to the Sunday Times and soon after, in 1966, made him his successor. Highly profitable, with a circulation of over a million and a formidable editorial staff, the Sunday Times was a wonderful stage for Sir Harry to perform from. He was also fortunate in his proprietor, the Canadian Lord (Roy) Thomson, who was steadfast in his belief that readers would pay for independent journalism.
Hamilton将哈罗德（Harry）爵士带进了《星期日泰晤士报》（Sunday Times），很快，在1966年，指定他为他的继承人。对哈罗德（Harry）爵士来说，盈利高，发行量超过百万，拥有令人惊叹的编辑队伍的《星期日泰晤士报》（Sunday Times）是一个非常好的平台。他非常幸运地拥有Canadian Lord (Roy) Thomson这样的业主，持有读者会为独一无二的新闻买单这一坚定信念。
Sir Harry quickly founded a full-time investigative unit to expose important scandals and carefully reconstruct major events. He believed teams were the key to investigative work because they enabled journalists to follow many trails (some inevitably false) and deploy a wide range of expertise in often technical material. A team is also likely to be more dispassionate than a single reporter on a mission.
Recalling his 14 years at the Sunday Times, Sir Harry gives compelling accounts of big stories, such as the paper’s unmasking of Kim Philby’s full damage as a spy; its noble campaign to win decent compensation for the victims of Thalidomide; and its efforts to report what was happening in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, from the treatment of internees to the shootings on Bloody Sunday. Such stories involved long, costly and wearying challenges to political and legal authority. Writing about the Thalidomide affair, for example, often meant hazarding a jail sentence or a heavy fine for contempt. These were risks that Sir Harry bravely took, changing the law in the process. The paper “had to be ready to commit the resources for a sustained effort,” he says of its lengthy investigations. “No campaign should be ended until it had succeeded—or was proved wrong.” He left his beloved Sunday Times in 1981 after the paper and its daily sister were bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News International. Persuaded to take up the editorship of the Times, he soon found himself butting heads with Murdoch executives. But his passion for anti-establishment causes made him a fish out of water there regardless.
回想他在《星期日泰晤士报》（Sunday Times）的14年，哈罗德（Harry）爵士报道了很多大事件，比如揭露Kim Philby作为间谍的罪行；为Thalidomide受害者争取合适的补偿金；从解决问题的高度尽力报道发生在北爱尔兰的事件，包括从战俘的治疗到血色星期天的枪击。这样的报道是对政治和法律权威的挑战，且过程漫长，花费高昂，令人疲倦。举例来说，报道Thalidomide事件常常意味着入狱或重罚，哈罗德（Harry）爵士勇敢地改变法律进程，这是有风险的。他对漫长的调查谈了自己的看法，报纸“不得不做好长期努力的准备”。“所有运动都不应该结束，除非已经取得了成功或被证明为错的。”1981年，他离开了深爱的《星期日泰晤士报》（Sunday Times），报社和它的姊妹日报被Rupert Murdoch的《新闻国际》（News International）收购。被劝说接受《泰晤士报》（Times）的编辑职位后，他马上发现自己与Murdoch的主管们是死对头。他的反对行为使他如离水的鱼般不得其所。
Sir Harry then turned his back on English journalism. He went on to make a second career in publishing in America and as a writer of popular history. But he happily admits to playing second fiddle to his much younger and nowadays more famous second wife, Tina Brown.
The book has its faults. Chums are often granted sycophantic epithets (“irrepressibly creative”), which Evans the editor would have rejected. It also leaves readers with a depressing question: is the kind of important, risky, expensive journalism that Sir Harry exemplified still possible? Katharine Graham, a former publisher of the Washington Post, once observed that the best guarantee of first-class journalism is a strong bottom line. But the commodification of news on the internet has meant that this is something few newspapers have. Sir Harry remains optimistic, believing that the potential of the internet outweighs its threat. He suggests that with the right financial model, “we will enter a golden age of journalism.” Readers of this book may well conclude that the golden age of journalism has come and gone.
这本书有它的不足。Chums are often granted sycophantic epithets (“irrepressibly creative”), which Evans the editor would have rejected。它留给读者一个郁闷的问题：做哈罗德（Harry）爵士经历过的那种重要的、有风险的、昂贵的新闻业是否仍有可能？Katharine Graham，《华盛顿邮报》 （Washington Post）的前任出版商，曾经说道，做好一流新闻的一个强烈底线是要有一个最好的担保人。但是在互联网上新闻的商品化具有报纸不具备的特点。哈罗德（Harry）爵士仍然乐观，相信互联网带来的机遇大于挑战。他建议使用正确的金融模型，“我们将进入新闻业的黄金时代。”这本书的读者可以得出这个结论，新闻业的黄金时代已经来了又去。
注：eleven-plus ，初中入学预试（英国私立学校对十一岁至十二岁入初中的学生举行的预试, 以决定未来教育应为文科还是理科）