The death of Sir Harold Evans in New York at the age of 92 removes from the scene a world-famous trailblazing journalist who made a mark as an investigative media man with contributions in many other fields including educating the youth for a career in journalism.
The first half of Evans’ career was as a greatly admired editor in Britain. The second half of his life was lived as the rich president of publishing company Random House in New York.
His exposure of the thalidomide children brought him much acclaim the world over. His campaign to win better compensation for children affected by the drug is perhaps one of his greatest achievements, and his efforts for families affected by this drug will live on past his own mortal death.
This author had the opportunity to meet him in Delhi in the 1970s during an international conference and became his admirer at once. He was always prompt in his responses in spite of his busy schedule as the editor of reputed newspapers.
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Sir Harold was knighted for his contribution to journalism. His books on the profession drew much praise as did his campaigns to highlight issues such as drug companies’ roles and human rights issues.
Evans also worked for Rupert Murdoch for a while. He was editor of The Sunday Times from 1967 to 1981, and its sister title The Times for a year from 1981 in Great Britain until he was forced out Rupert Murdoch.
Sir Harold was married to Tina Brown, who is a well-known journalist in her own right. She was editor-in-chief of Tatler, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker magazines. Tina is still working and produces a podcast “TBD with Tina Brown,” in which she interviews politicians, actors, journalists, and newsmakers.
Harold and Tina moved to the United States in 1984 where he became an American citizen, retaining dual nationality.
Perhaps his best book for a budding journalist is on good writing titled “Do I Make Myself Clear?”
Sir Harold always wanted to be a journalist and left school at the age of 16. He then took a class in shorthand, a class where he was the only male. And as they say, the rest is history.