Gordon Smart is a Scottish journalist who until November 2016 was deputy editor of The Sun newspaper, and now presents the evening show on Radio X.
I met Gordon when he was a reporter on the Bizarre column, which was at the time probably the biggest showbiz column in the world. If I had to guess it was probably around 2004, but I was out a lot in my twenties so timings are a bit hazy. Since then Gordon has gone on to edit Bizarre, edit The Scottish Sun up in Glasgow, and then be returned to London to be deputy editor of the main paper.
When I knew I was going to be introducing him to new people I’d always tell them the same thing: “My friend Gordon is coming down later. He works at The Sun – but he’s a good guy.”
Because let’s be honest, The Sun can get a mixed reaction from people. Sadie and I weren’t going to talk about the negative side of it, our podcast is about how creative people make things, and whatever your view on tabloids, it’s interesting to hear how a newspaper is put together from the editor himself.
Gordon however brought it up, and openly discussed the darker side of working for a paper that can illicit some pretty strong reactions. He spoke about his increasing uneasiness with the job, and the reasons he left the paper in 2016. He spoke about the thin line between reporting the news and intruding on people’s lives, and some of the people that he has an uneasy relationship with now.
What comes across however is a man passionate about journalism, a man who started his first newspaper as a kid, breaking the story that his teacher was in the original line-up for Wet Wet Wet. He’s a great talker and a fascinating guest.
Gordon took us through a day in the life of a newspaper editor, explained the challenges, the technicalities, and which bits are a bit boring.
He talks about interviewing technique and offered advice on how to interview people, which lets be honest, Sadie and I could do with. He also basically said I wasn’t mental for baking Rick Witter muffins. So there.
Oh, and we asked Hasler what the worst thing she’s ever done is. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening.