Legendary Press Association political journalist Chris Moncrieff will be guest speaker at the Society of Editors’ annual dinner in October, when much of the conversation will turn to the Hutton Inquiry and local difficulties between the government and the BBC.
Moncrieff, 71, has been at Westminster longer than any MP now sitting in the House – he was appointed to PA’s parliamentary staff in 1962.
“Chris is still spinning enthusiastically around Westminster, but I do not believe he has ever put spin into a story,” said PA editor and Society of Editors president Jonathan Grun.
Scoops, scandals and political rows are meat and drink to the veteran journalist, who embodies the traditional reporter’s trademarks of a dogeared notebook and pencil and an immaculate shorthand note to go with them. He has been at the heart of all the big stories since Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister.
“I am sure he will have some valuable insights into the extraordinary events of the past year,” said Grun.
The gala takes place at the Imperial War Museum on Monday, 13 October. It is the social highlight of the SoE conference that opens on the evening of Sunday, 12 October, with the Society of Editors Lecture. This year, the lecture will be given by Sir Christopher Meyer, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, in the splendour of St Bride’s, the journalists’ church in Fleet Street.
The inquiry into the Iraq dossier affair and the war that followed will feature high on the agenda of the conference that will be based at the Meridien Russell Hotel in London until the morning of 14 October.
Speakers have been booked from across the media to discuss the big stories of 2003. They include Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan and the editor of The Independent, Simon Kelner. Regional editors speaking include Terry Manners of the Western Daily Press, Nick Carter of the Leicester Mercury, Hannah Walker of the South London Press and Mike Gilson of The News, Portsmouth.
For more information, contact the Society of Editors on 01223 304080, or visit the website at www.societyofeditors.org.