Ref NoOHP/100
TitleKatharine Whitehorn
Date8 August 2001
Extent2 minidiscs, 4 cds, 1 file, 6 AIFF files (1.68 GB)
Creator NameWhitehorn; Katharine Elizabeth (1926-2021); columnist
DescriptionInterview with Katharine Whitehorn, columnist for the Observer. Conducted by Sarah Ryle on 8 August 2001. Also includes a data sheet containing biographical details about the subject and information about the recording and notes made by Sarah Ryle.

Summary contents of interview (with rough timings):

Disc 1:
Track 1
00.20 Introduction
01.00 Introduction of a women's page at the Observer
02.00 Offered role whilst working at the Spectator on her own column. Initially turned down role.
02.35 Took up role of fashion writer
02.50 Had previously covered Paris fashion week for Picture Post
03.20 Decision to change direction of fashion section
04.50 Success of fashion section with readers
05.00 Upset of advertisers over her writing
05.40 *
06.25 Remembers Anne Scott James at the Daily Express
06.55 Strength of women's writing
08.20 Legacy of George Seddon
08.35 *

10.50 Older figures at the Observer
10.58 Remembers Terry Kilmartin's book reviews
11.25 Interest in reader traffic figures
11.30 Remembers departure of Women's editor, Beryl McAlhone
13.20 The Observer the first paper to go into sections
13.35 The Observer 'Daylight' section
14.10 Climate of intellectual discussion at the Observer
14.50 Lack of hierarchy and access to David Astor
17.00 Incident when writing economic coverage
17.59 *
18.30 Felt the personal intruded on the professional
19.30 Newspapers editors as managers
19.45 Remembers Tristan Jones

20.10 *
20.49 Husband, Gavin Lyall, working at the Sunday Times in 1960s
21.15 Lyall offered work at the Observer
21.30 Differences between the Observer and the Sunday Times
22.45 Discussion of Donald Trelford
23.44 Remembers Kenneth Obank and his determination to print Nikita Khruschev's speech denouncing Joseph Stalin
25.00 Departure of Astor
25.39 Grammar in the newspaper
26.35 How the Guardian viewed the Observer
26.44 Drinking at the Observer
27.30 Use of hotels and taxis when covering news stories
28.30 Astor years and uniqueness of the Observer at this time
29.10 Stand against self censorship
29.48 Simon Jenkins on self censorship whilst editor at the Times

30.00 Remembers Seddon
30.30 Brief stint in editing
31.15 Invited editors wives to lunch to measure their views of the women's page
33.45 Decision to stop working on the fashion column
34.20 Began her own general column
35.00 The history of women's journalism
36.00 Opinions on lifestyle columns
38.45 Felicity Green and the feminisation of Fleet Street
39.20 The place of women's pages in newspapers today

40.00 How women's pages dealt with personal effects of news
42.00 How she wanted to change fashion coverage to make it personal
43.00 Fashion today

Track 2

Disc 2:
Track 1
00.25 Personalities at the Observer including Kate Trelford
02.00 Donald Trelford's relationship with Kate Trelford
04.00 Disapproval of city pages
05.25 Invited to dinner with Trelford and Lajos Lederer
07.10 *
07.55 Trelford's effect on the newspaper
08.30 Trelford's visit to Rhodesia
09.40 Failure of the midweek edition

10.10 Strength of the women's pages
10.35 Non-news features considered less important
11.15 Strength of the Guardian weekend magazine
11.35 Importance of women's input
15.00 The working week at a weekend newspaper
16.20 Takeover by the Guardian and its effect on the structure of the working week
16.40 Remembers Patrick O'Donovan and John Gale
17.40 John Naughton taking over Clive James as television critic
18.00 Her and Naughton leaving the newspaper
19.00 Dislike of actions of Jocelyn Targett

20.20 Opinion of Edie Riley on valedictory article headline
20.45 Response of Will Hutton to appointment of Roger Alton as editor
21.40 Joining Saga magazine after leaving the Observer
22.30 Observer circulation and the approach of Targett
24.00 Need for the Observer to stand by its core values
25.40 Visit to China with Margaret Thatcher
27.20 The future of the Observer
28.30 Remembers the ideas of Adrian Hamilton
29.00 The Observer as the contrary voice
29.40 The Observer stand against the private finance initiative

30.05 Socialising with Observer staff
31.20 Leaving parties including Gritta Weil leaving
32.15 Attempts of Anthony Howard to maintain the standards of the newspaper
32.40 Working from home
Access StatusOpen(part)
Access ConditionsRestricted - access to edited copy via GNM Digital Repository
Related MaterialOral history with the same subject at the British Library: https://sounds.bl.uk/Oral-history/Press-and-media/021M-C0638X0019XX-0001V0


FormatElectronic record
CD recording
Printed document
Minidisc recording
CopyrightGuardian News & Media Ltd and Katharine Whitehorn

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