Thursday, November 02, 2006

In Memory of Lou Cummins.

I was among the many, many people who gathered at St. Nicolas Church in Newbury this afternoon to celebrate the life of Lou Cummins, former editor of the Newbury Weekly News and my first editor.

The memorial service was a fitting send off and as the audience captured the diversity of his friends and associates, so the speakers captured the unique characteristics of the significantly larger than life editor.

He was obnoxious, an aggressive bully who preyed on the spirit of fresh faced young journalists - and he was a talented editor who taught me much of the skills that serve me so well now. Not least the tenacity that being a journalist requires.

Infuriatingly he would send you back to your desk to phone someone 'one last time' after you insisted that you had exhausted every avenue. Inevitably he would be right, you would land a story and have learned a lesson.

It was fun to see many former colleagues, most of whom recalled such immortal lines as "what you need Morgan is a punch in the f***ing throat", bellowed across the newsroom during one of my visits when I really should have been in school - "being educated to be a better person."

I saw Lou a few months ago and we chatted for longer than I ever spoke to him as my editor. He was more challenging than he ever was as an employer, and more friendly too. Lou was never going to be two dimensional, but that, as it turned out to be, last encounter I had with him introduced me to a rich and deep man. Albeit one who tormented me so long ago!

1 comment:

Sarah Rhoads - The Virtual Office Secretary said...

I didn't know Lou personally but my father did (having run Broughton Tyrrell in Newbury for som 45 years and being a JP).

I can recall many stories of the man, most of which I shouldn't commit to print but what I can say is that he was instrumental in the success of the Newbury Weekly News. Let's hope his memory lives on as does the spirit of the paper. The current editor has much to live up to.