The death of Bill Deedes last week saw the passing of a colossus in the world of journalism, an icon to many who aspire to write well. He was 94 and halfway through his regular column for the Daily Telegraph.
Despite being 76 years with the DT, all the newspapers carried the news of his death. – those 76 years represented over half of the acknowledged time, 150 years, that there has been a popular press. The stories that he reported on are covered in GSCE syllabii and he was both a close friend to the great and good and a philanthropic good friend to the less fortunate.
However, for me his lasting legacy is being the model for the character William Boot in Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop. I read this in my early teens and, despite his ineptitude, it gave me the idea that being a journalist could be a great profession.
Deedes was a journalist who did not see the need to sensationalise what he wrote to attract an audience, what he commented on was always pertinent, reasonable, interesting and, at times, extremely moving. A quiet man with a big voice in print who will be missed by all those who appreciate good journalism.