More Thrills Than Skills – A Half-Life in Journalism, Part 113

Over the next few weeks, is to publish, each weekday, extracts from the memoirs of Scottish war correspondent, Paul Harris. ‘More Thrills than Skills: A Half-life in Journalism’, is to be published March 1 next year, by Kennedy & Boyd, Glasgow, and available from

I wasn’t too sorry to get my own marching orders. I was relieved that there would be no more grappling with the intricacies of the ‘official view’ on a myriad of international stories. No more tediously re-writing The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for North Korea every time it popped up in a story, every day. No more keeping a sharp lookout for subversive news agency references to Maoist rebels in Nepal, visits by Japanese politicians to temples commemorating their war dead, or any copy a trifle critical of Iran. But visits to Beijing or Shanghai by African politicians had to get big licks. The President of Togoland’s visit merits front page treatment throughout China. This was all hardly my idea of a news agenda.

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