Ten questions for Gordon Darroch
So who are you?
I’m Gordon Darroch, I’m a journalist, writer and copy editor. I moved to The Hague (Netherlands) in 2014. Before that I lived in Glasgow.
What kind of stuff do you specialise in?
On the writing front: general newspaper and magazine features, book reviews, legal issues, media matters, autism (see my acclaimed blog at autisticdad.blogspot.com for more details) football, rugby, athletics. On the editing front, anything that’s written in English and could be improved. Which is everything, basically, that hasn’t been written by F Scott Fitzgerald or Shakespeare.
Where might people know you from?
I was deputy production editor for The Herald Magazine from 2006 until 2009, as well as an occasional feature writer and book reviewer; before that I was a senior reporter at The Press Association’s Scottish office in Glasgow from 2000-2003. In between I had a stint as a freelancer, contributing to titles such as The Sunday Times, The Scotsman and the Sunday Herald. You can browse a sample of my work by clicking on the links in the right-hand panel.
What qualities do you bring to a job?
A strong track record in writing and editing. Versatility. Speed off the mark, a keen eye for a story and excellent shorthand. A never-say-die attitude. A winning way with words and a Swiss Army Knife of literary devices. Eyewatering pedantry. A clutch of foreign languages (Dutch, German, and at a stretch, French and Italian). A big dictionary.
What are the moments in your career you’re proudest of?
I’m currently working for STV News Online, and enjoying being in one of the few ‘old media’ organisations that grasps the opportunities presented by the internet, rather than believing it will bring Armageddon. As an agency reporter I spent a lot of time in court (on the press benches, I should add), and covering the Lockerbie bomber’s appeal at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands was an absorbing exercise. It was clear even then that the case was far from watertight and I’ve followed the subsequent fall-out keenly. In terms of resourcefulness I was delighted to get an interview with a human rights campaigner from jail in Indonesia, which was set up by sending a text message to the mobile phone they’d smuggled into their cell. And I was privileged to work with the exceptionally talented team on The Herald Magazine, led by Kathleen Morgan, when it was UK Supplement of the Year.
Any low points?
Indisputably the week I spent sitting in my car outside Jeffrey Archer’s house waiting for him to come out and make a statement after he’d been busted by the News of the World for lying in court. Eventually he sped away by car, I filed one line of copy and went home. Still, he went to prison for it, so justice was served in the end.
Anything else you care to highlight?
I edited my student newspaper at Edinburgh University; I was on the shortlist for the Guardian’s Student Journalist of the Year Awards as a sports writer (back in the days when there was only one category); I gained a Postgraduate Diploma in Newspaper Journalism from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston; my first job was on the Peterborough Evening Telegraph in 1998, and from there I moved to the Press Association in Northampton and then Glasgow.
Do you do anything outside work?
I run 10Ks. I read a lot. I write fiction. (more details of my published and unpublished stories are available at gordondarroch.wordpress.com) I listen to music and enjoy films. Very occasionally I play the cello (occasionally).
You are in a dungeon with two unmarked doors. One leads to freedom, the other to certain death. On the wall is a perch with two parrots on it. One of the parrots always tells the truth and the other always lies, but there is no way of telling which is which. You are allowed to ask one parrot one question only. What do you say?
I think you’ve run out of proper questions. And please don’t ask me any of these ones either.