Ref NoOHP/76
TitleJohn Samuel
Extent1 cd, 1 file, 1 AIFF file (673.7 MB)
Creator NameSamuel; John Richard (1928-); sports journalist
DescriptionSelf recorded memoir by John Samuel, sports journalist, later sports editor for the Guardian. Originally recorded on an audio tape. Transferred to CD on 16 May 2005 but the original memoir may have been conducted in the 1990s. Also includes a data sheet containing biographical details about the subject and information about the recording.

Summary contents of interview (with rough timings):

Disc 1:
Track 1
00.08 How the Guardian got into horse racing
00.18 Horse Racing introduced January 1st 1970
00.36 Felt no one ought to get a second paper for sports coverage
01.38 Growth of television changed sport from minor to major activities
01.40 Increased interest in ‘wealthier’ sporting activities such as skiing
02.42 Asked Fred Headley for a breakdown of production costs for a racing service
03.56 Headly also had to work out resources for setting race cards
04.45 Importance of printing accurate information because money was involved (betting)
05.40 Internal objections included, printing standard not up too scratch, gambling ethos and cost
06.34 The final vote to cover racing won on very narrow majority
06.57 Got the impression that Alastair Hetherington agreed on practical grounds
07.54 Discusses various people involved incl. Harry Haymer, Tom Kelly and Jimmy Holland

10.20 Discusses Derby winners
11.16 After the move from Manchester, everything consolidated in London
12.30 Racing was the only sport covered by the Guardian in the late 19th century
12.49 Racing was dropped during the period of CP Scott’s editorship
12.54 By the early 1930s there were 4 pages of sports coverage
13.10 War time reduced sports coverage
13.19 1960s saw an increased interest in sports again large
14.22 Believed sport was worth 3 pages in a national paper, 4 on weekends/holidays
14.40 Started Eamonn McCabe in sport photography
14.48 Found that readers preferred to see large pictures on the sports pages
15.45 Was instructed racing should not be at the expense of general sport
16.05 Allotted two pages for Racing and more on a Saturdays/holidays
16.50 Discuses staff on the Racing Desk

20.07 Harvey Thompson, Director of Production in London, persuaded the board that the job could be taken on
21.15 Describes the television campaign that accompanied the introduction to racing
21.54 Circulation went for 300,000 to 330,000 on the strength on the ad
22.28 Harvey Thompson’s departure to the Times
23.01 Moves on to discuss general sport
23.35 How tennis changed from summer only amateur activity to a professional one
25.54 Shortage of good staff, needed to pay better to retain good staff
28.14 Discusses writers Matthew Ingle and Steven Barley
29.00 Coverage of skiing

32.00 Had to ‘mate’ a good writer with a sporting activity
32.28 Or discover someone who was good at the sport and could be encouraged to write in the Guardian fashion
34.50 Discusses writer David Lacey
36.35 When people they often suggested a good successor

40.12 Discusses writing style and editing
42.50 Keen to keep political aspects out of sport
47.02 How the move to Farringdon road was not the success it should have been
47.23 Difficulties with production schedules
48.11 Frequently soccer results were not getting from London printers to Birmingham

53.04 Had half the space allocation as the Telegraph
53.54 Writers had a good knowledge about minority sports (i.e. snooker) but not enough space in the paper
54.24 Page changes - sports pages sometimes removed
57.08 Discusses why he moved on from being sports editor
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsAccess to recording via GNM Digital Repository
FormatElectronic record
Printed document
CD recording
CopyrightGuardian News & Media Ltd and John Samuel

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