This industry definitely attracts its fair share of characters – and I seem to have worked with nearly all of them.
When I first started, the chief sub-editor was a crusty old bloke who’s bark was definitely worse than his bite. But he also barked like a rottweiler.
Mind you, it was back in the late 80s. Being terrified of your chief sub was in every cadet’s position description. I think they recruited them straight from Duntroon.
My first sports editor was a big bloke, with an even bigger heart.
Every Sunday, after we’d finished writing up our footy reports, he’d take me home to the family roast lunch. And he had a family the size of your average football team.
I could never work out which child, in-law or grandchild I was breaking bread with but it never really mattered – they all welcomed me with open arms and more roast spuds than you could poke a fork at.
Our chief photographer back in the day was renowned for being able to talk under water with a mouthful of marbles.
And although I never found it, he must have had a soapbox hidden around the office somewhere because he was never off it.
We had a columnist who wore bowler hats, carried a cane and was the epitome of debonair. It was like Charlie Chaplin had been dropped into our office, without the moustache and definitely not mute.
The day sub-editor was also a big bloke, hence his nickname Bear. But he also had a heart of pure gold under a very gruff exterior.
He could tell a trembling journo off for misusing an apostrophe one minute – corporal punishment in journalist world – and buy them a beer and tell them bawdy bowling club stories the next.
(Okay, I made that last bit up – bawdy and bowling clubs go together like the Western Australian Liberal Party and Pauline Hanson.)