The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

Well, the remarkable thing about the Sunday Times, and it also applied to the Times when the Times was taken over by Lord Thomson, Roy Thomson, in 1966 -- 1967, was that the ownership of the paper absolutely insisted on the political independence of the paper, absolutely insisted, when I went before the board meeting to be appointed editor, that I would never let a Thomson commercial interest interfere with the conduct of the newspaper. It was actually an editor's dream world of freedom, subject to the constraints of the economy and, of course, truth and accuracy and the law. And so it was a -- the reason why the Sunday Times was very successful, it wasn't any magic powder I had, it was the fact that in the freedom to appoint really first class people, to give them their head, I would have the support of the chairman of the company, Sir Denis Hamilton, and behind him of Roy Thomson.

Roy Thomson wan a wonderful person. He used to have an old card in his pocket and he'd read it out and it said:

"I swear that I will never interfere with the editorial policy of a newspaper."

When people complained to him, he then put the card back in his pocket and said, "You wouldn't expect me to go against my own word, would you?"

So the atmosphere of total freedom subject to quality and independence was enormously exhilarating.

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