Close-Up: Obituary - Legacy of a man who set an industry standard

Campaign's first editor, Michael Jackson, helped change the face of industry magazines by refusing to kow-tow to his readers.

When Haymarket acquired World's Press News, the title was what the publishing company's then chairman Michael Heseltine described as "a classically awful trade magazine".

Haymarket's vision for the title was to turn it into the UK's equivalent of Advertising Age. To do that, Heseltine and his business partner, Lindsay Masters, sought an editor whose skills had been honed on the national press. Michael Jackson, who died on 30 August after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease, was that man.

Jackson was Campaign's first editor. Masters recalls a six-month hunt for the right person, followed by almost instant recognition that he'd found the man for the job when he met the bluff Yorkshireman in late 1967.

And although Jackson wasn't responsible for the magazine's iconic design, he did come up with the name and he stuck with it in the face of reticence from senior management.

Although his was a short editorship, lasting just over a year, Jackson arguably created the tone and approach that remains integral to the magazine today: the highest Fleet Street journalistic standards; investigative, independent and always impartial.

Jackson left in 1969, handing over the reins to Peter Elman. He then went on to forge a career for himself writing about real ale, his lifelong passion. But the legacy that he created at Haymarket endures, as is demonstrated by the tributes that follow.


- Robin Wight chairman, Engine - "In Campaign, Michael created the template for the modern professional communications magazine. He transformed a press release-stuffed servant of the ad business into an independent, vigorous and professional industry appraiser. The template was created by his originality and his robustness. I remember that he was always very direct - he didn't suffer adland bullshit. He wasn't from the industry; he came with the standards of national media. That was the brilliance of Campaign."

- Jeremy Bullmore member, advisory group, WPP - "The effect of Michael Jackson's Campaign was immediate and lasting. It made us sharper, more self-aware, competitive, acquisitive, conscious of personalities, gossipy and gong-happy. Most of this was good."

- Lord Saatchi co-founder, M&C Saatchi - "I was so sorry to hear of Michael's death. He was the midwife at the birth of Campaign. He breathed life, style and tone into what was a straightforward commercial proposition."

- Winston Fletcher head of the Advertising Standards board of finance - "In the early days, the ad world had been used to a sycophantic press: what the sector didn't want published wasn't published, and there was no investigative journalism. Campaign changed this, and it was in part Michael Jackson. The industry was aghast at a trade title that didn't kow-tow to it. Ad people were fascinated by it, but derided it as sensationalist. Not true Campaign was reliable from the start."

- Peter Mead chairman, Omnicom Europe, vice-chairman, Omnicom Group - "World's Press News, was the poor relation to Advertiser's Weekly, which we always read first. Suddenly, out came this glossy magazine and destroyed it. Campaign was remarkable from day one. It was fresh and new, and I guess that was down to Michael Jackson."

- Lindsay Masters, former chairman, Haymarket - "When we acquired World's Press News, Haymarket had never had a news-based publication. How you gathered news was a mystery to me. I interviewed a lot of people over a long period of time. When I met him, I knew he was our man. It it was clear he loved the business and understood it well. Michael had a great sense of humour, which appeared in the magazine. He was a wild man, very chaotic, but great fun. His character defined Campaign for many years."

- Robert Heller, former editorial director, Haymarket - "Michael had many of the attributes needed for a good launch leader. He established an editorial momentum on the paper that it has never lost. He was not the easiest person to deal with and you had to take a lot of rough with the smooth. But he was great at making things work on an adrenaline high."

- Michael Heseltine, chairman, Haymarket - "Michael was one of the people who made Haymarket's reputation. He brought a quality of editorial direction to specialist publishing which was very rare in the 60s. He was dynamic, energetic, opinionated, wilful and a great asset to the company."