National editors mixed with journalism students as the London Press Club offered a rare glimpse inside what chairman Doug Wills has termed ‘vertical Fleet Street’ – Kensington’s Northcliffe House.
Home to seven of the UK’s leading newspapers, the world’s most popular news website and the country’s newest television station, the doors are rarely opened to the public but last night’s event, held in association with the Media Society, saw a full house in the building’s indoor balcony.
Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands was the guest speaker, speaking with Phil Harding on what it takes to produce the paper that was in May named the Daily Newspaper of the Year at the London Press Club Awards. Following the dramatic decision to go free five years ago this month, the Standard has been one of print media’s more remarkable success stories. Sands said the secret was rewarding Londoners – who she said had a long-standing pride and loyalty for the Evening Standard – by sticking with quality journalism, which is where previous free papers like the londonpaper failed.
Press Club and Media Society members, as well as a number of journalism students, were joined by representatives of the Independent, i and Mail titles, all based in the building, as well as London Live, which broadcasts from studios two floors below the balcony. This included Chris Blackhurst, Independent editor Amol Rajan, The Mail on Sunday managing editor John Wellington and London Live’s head of news Vikki Cook.
Attendees were treated to a ‘blind’ wine tasting courtesy of cutomer-funded, online wine retailer Naked Wines.
The event was the latest organised by a resurgent London Press Club. Over the past year the Club has hosted forums, Q&As and social evenings in venues ranging from embassies and the Telegraph offices to Stationers’ Hall and the British Library. This month’s Press Club Ball raised a record £40,000 for the Journalists’ Charity and featured appearances by HRH the Countess of Wessex, Boris Johnson and Lord Rothermere.
The Club recently reintroduced monthly first-Tuesday drinks evenings, with the next one taking place on November 4, while on November 25 it joins again with YouGov to host a debate entitled Business, Politics, Media – Who Do You Trust? at Glaziers Hall.