Paul Dacre quietly bid farewell to Daily Mail staff yesterday with a letter thanking them for their “selfless, superlative journalism” and calling them “Britain’s finest team of professional journalists”.
Dacre, who has edited the Mail for 26 years, is stepping down to become editor-in-chief of publisher Associated Newspapers – and noted in the first line of his valedictory letter: “I am not leaving”.
In his letter, pinned to the staff noticeboard yesterday and published by the Spectator, Dacre said he had decided not to make a speech in the newsroom because it’s “not my style”.
He added: “I didn’t want to set a precedent and make the paper late.”
Geordie Greig will take up the editorship of the Daily Mail from next week. He moves from sister title the Mail on Sunday, which he edited for six years, and will put out his final edition of the paper on Sunday.
He will be replaced at the Mail on Sunday by Daily Mail deputy editor Ted Verity, who yesterday sacked columnist Rachel Johnson as he begins to make his own mark on the newspaper.
In his letter, Dacre said he was writing “to thank each one of you from the bottom of my heart for all your selfless, superlative journalism”.
“Many things (mostly risibly and contemptibly inaccurate) are written about the Mail,” he said.
“But what no-one can deny is that this floor houses Britain’s finest team of professional journalists who, over the decades, have produced much magnificent journalism.”
Insiders have described Dacre’s avoidance of the official Fleet Street “banging out” and slow withdrawal from editing the paper as a “soft exit” – punning on Dacre’s fierce support of Brexit as Daily Mail editor.
Paul Dacre’s “letter from the editor” in full:
“There was never going to be an easy way to say goodbye and thank you. Particularly as I am not leaving.
“So sincere apologies to those of you who thought I should have said a few words from the floor. Frankly, it’s not my style and in all my years as editor not something I’ve ever done. Besides, I didn’t want to set a precedent and make the paper late!
“Which is why – and you’ll have to forgive the formality of this open letter – I am now writing to thank each one of you from the bottom of my heart for all your selfless, superlative journalism.
“Only those of us lucky enough to have worked on a great daily newspaper understand the grinding, exhausting tyranny of the clock in the adrenaline-fuelled quest, six days a week, to produce a perfect paper and experience the creative euphoria of occasionally achieving that.
“You – the superb professionals on this floor – know both the exhaustion and euphoria. Again, I thank every one of you for your awesome stamina, your superb technical skills, your joyous creativity, your infinite patience with my exasperating foibles and your dedication to defending our readers’ interests.
“Many things (mostly risibly and contemptibly inaccurate) are written about the Mail. But what no-one can deny is that this floor houses Britain’s finest team of professional journalists who, over the decades, have produced much magnificent journalism.
“To have worked so closely with all of you producing that journalism – and, hopefully, making this country a little better place to live in – has been a joy and a privilege. I salute each and every one of you.”
Picture: Daily Mail