Part of the deal at Hay is that you get to see the odd living legend. In the field of journalism there are few as great as Harold Evans, the British-born writer who was editor of The Sunday Times from 1967 to 1981.
At 81 Evans still sparkles with wit and his recollections of his career narrate the history of modern journalism, from his days learning the craft of journalism on the Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter and the Manchester Evening New. Yet he is very far from being trapped in the past and recognises the value of modern technology “the access to information has never ever been greater … out of it may come a better kind of journalism.” He also retains his fascination for the affairs of the day, working his way through six newspapers and several news web sites every day. In fact he tried to get his interviewer Alan Rusbridger to discuss the Trafigura affair though the editor of the Guardian was firm “we are here to talk about you not me”.
We heard tales of his early days through to his sacking by Murdoch on the day of his father’s funeral. Although Evans was clear that he wasn’t going to take editorial direction from any proprietor he denied that he was a died in the wool rebel “I wasn’t rebelling against authority I rebelled against stupidity”.