Tributes to Chrissie Barker

Many tributes to Chrissie Barker, who passed away on Friday after a battle with cancer, have come into Campaign. Here are many of them.

Michael Chamberlain, editor Campaign 1976 -1978

"I was fortunate enough to be in the editor's chair at Campaign when Chrisse came for interview all those years back in 1976. The rest, as they say, is history. Chrissie was a star, both as a reporter and as a person. We stole her briefly for Marketing Week before she returned to Campaign becoming editor in the industry she truly loved.  Chrissie had great flair and will be missed by all. We will all cherish the memories."

Mike Townsin, husband
"Chrissie loved life and was loved and respected, both personally and professionally, by the many friends and colleagues whose lives she touched. Above all, she loved and cherished her family and I do not have the words to convey how much we will miss her."

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive, WPP Group
"We were much looking forward to Chrissie joining us at WPP but, unbelievably, it's now not to be. I had the highest possible personal and professional respect for her. She was always well-informed, always incisive, always enthusiastic, always fun to work with. But our great sense of loss must be as nothing compared to that felt by Mike, Luke and Georgie. We send them our deepest sympathy."

Lord Tim Bell, chairman, Chime
"Chrissie Barker was fabulous. I liked her a great deal and I shall miss her a lot. We first met when she was a junior reporter for Campaign. I was working at Saatchi & Saatchi and what Campaign said mattered a great deal. Chrissie was a rather aggressive Australian journalist who wanted to write stories and wouldn't really accept being put off. She was always dead straight and I thought wrote clearly and accurately. Having said all that, she was also great fun ands a joy to spend time with. Campaign in those days was the pulse of the industry and its stories were a reflection of both the business itself and all the characters in it. I think Chrissie was an important part of the magazine's character."

Robin Wight, founding partner, WCRS
"Chrissie: Ebullient, feisty and insightful...it's almost unbelievable that you are still not amongst us. Even though years have passed since I lobbied for coverage in Campaign for the fledgling WCRS, you remain unforgettable.

"Not the least forte profile you did of me with the headline along the lines of 'Is Robin Wight as clever as he thinks he is?' At the time I was upset as I read Chrissie's skilful slicing up of my swollen ego. In fact, Chrissie was demonstrating a professionalism that helped build Campaign's reputation well above what is normal for a trade newspaper. She refused to accept the spin of an ebullient adman - and rightly so.

"It was this hard-nosed professionalism, concealed beneath Aussie charm and exuberance, that enabled her to see through of us in the nicest possible way.

"No wonder she was grabbed by Fleet Street soon after she left Campaign. And by the sagacious Sir Martin Sorrell shortly after that. She may be gone, but she will not be forgotten."

Maurice Saatchi, founding partner, M&C Saatchi
"To lose your life at only 52 is a tragedy. It is shocking that anybody should be robbed of their future in such a brutal way. That is particularly true when the victim was such a special person who had given so much to her company and her industry. Christine was the living embodiment of all that is best in her profession - skilful news judgement, landing scoop after scoop each week; tough investigation to get the truth about the great events of her tie; and scrupulous fair comment on those events. Christine joins the many wonderful people struck down by this most cruel of diseases. It is terribly sad."

John Perriss, former chairman, Zenith Optimedia
"Despite the privilege of first-hand coaching in spin from the masters of the art, Charles Saatchi and Lord Bell, Campaign editors were always a challenge. Particularly if you came from the 'media ghetto'. Fortuitously, Chrissie's editorship coincided with two of the most enduring media stories - ads on the BBC and the launch of Zenith Media (probably leaked to Chrissie by Mill Muirhead) and subsequent unbundling of media.

"Her sense of a newsworthy story was excellent, her charming but persistent questioning togh but fair and Chrissie had an enduring interest in people and talent. Our weekly interchanges were never dull. She will be much missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her."

Bill Muirhead, founding partner, M&C Saatchi
My time as chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi coincided with Chrissie's as editor of Campaign. We got along straight away - probably because we were both Australian and both fairly direct. I called her 'Scoop' because she was relentless in pursuit of a story. She never gave up and was totally determined to get to the truth. Some times she would be the bearer of bad news - a client firing the agency. Her advice (which I follow to this day) was not to try and tough it out - move on, time will sort it out.

"And she had something rare in her profession as a journalist and editor - she loved the subject she was covering. Advertising was left in a better place from Chrissie's coverage. She wanted advertising to do well. She was a loyal friend to the industry."

Jeremy Bullmore, former chairman, JWT London
"Like modesty, integrity's a quality better demonstrated than professed. I don't suppose Chrissie Barker once used the word about herself, nor did she exude it self-consciously. She just practised it, evenly and instinctively, in everything she did.

"The world of advertising intrigued her endlessly. She reported it, represented it and married it. She delighted when it was good and inventive and was constructively critical when it transgressed. She was no groupie.

"I knew her in two of her manifestations, at Campaign and at JWT, and was greatly looking forward to working with her in a third, at WPP. Like so many others, I feel cheated by her cruelly early death."

John Hegarty, chairman and worldwide creative director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty
"Chrissie was the first female editor of Campaign. And some would say the strongest. As a journalist, she was absolutely tenacious without being vindictive, a rare skill.

"But, most of all, she had a wicked sense of humour which made dealing with her a delight and a pleasure.

"I remember showing her the first cut of Levi's Launderette back in 1985. Her words ring in my ears to this day - 'The world's just changed".

"She had an unerring eye for the next big thing. A somewhat essential quality for any successful editor."

Sir Frank Lowe, founder, Lowe Howard-Spink
"I remember Christine as if it was yesterday. She was a pioneer in the early days of Campaign, and to those of us at Collett Dickenson Pearce and Boase Massimi Pollitt trying to start the creative revolution, she was truly important.

"Campaign took over from the truly dead hand of Advertisers' Weekly and World's Press News. Magazines which simply reported the press handouts they received - who had won what, which agencies had written what and who was the new advertising manager of whatever company (nowadays I think they are called Ad Supremos). And all this without the remotest interest in whether the work was any good or not.

"Christine and the team at Campaign truly believed that they had a mission to help improve the quality of advertising. To promote good agencies while criticising those that didn't seem to care very much as long as they kept the accounts.

"She was indeed a leader in advertising journalism at a time when Campaign was the newest and most exciting thing on the block, not just here in the UK, but around the world."

Bernard Barnett, former editor, Campaign
"Chrissie pretty well defined what a newshound was. As a reporter, she had the Australian terrier instinct and never let up in a story until she was satisfied she'd covered every angled. When I was her editor, if we had something particularly difficult to try to stand up I would give it straight to Chrissie. When she was editor, she presided over the newsiest content in Campaign's history. But her talents went a lot deeper than that; she always had an eye for the industry's issues and their implications, and gave them the probing coverage they needed. As a person, she was simply lovely."

Rufus Olins, managing director of Haymarket Brand Media and former Campaign journalist
"What I remember about working with Chrissie is what fun she made it, even when her back was against the wall. She had a winning combination of energy and good humour which saw her (and all of us) through potentially treacherous situations. The anecdote of her chasing the joint chief executives of Saatchi & Saatchi around the office with a bunch of gladioli, trying to whip the truth out of them, was not apocryphal. Chrissie would do almost anything for a story, but somehow she got away with it and made countless friends at the same time.

"Chrissie edited Campaign through one of the most exciting periods in the history of advertising and she did it with passion and style. At JWT she remained an extremely popular figure in the advertisig community and she will be hugely missed by me and everyone who worked with her."

Simon Bolton, former chief executive, JWT UK group
"Chrissie meant everything to me. She was my coach, my counsel, critic and - when necessary - commandant. She had a wicked sense of humour, she made me laugh and focus in equal quantities. I will miss her spirit. The sneaky bitch once told me she was younger than me. I believed her and so did everyone else! Pure class."

Amanda Veysey, PA to Simon Bolton
"Chrissie was truly THE most inspirational, funny, cheeky, thoughtful, raucous, wonderfully dressed person. I learned an awful lot from her and treasure the memories. We have lost a true friend and a very special lady."

Adam Swann, consultant and planner
"I remember Chrissie for exquisite taste in jewellery and for her immensely interested manner. Chrissie was a very popular character at JWT and I am very sad at this news."

Lindsay McMurdo, communications director, Ogilvy Group UK
"As a fellow hack and then fellow agency PR, Chrissie was always something of a role model. She combined an innate love of the industry with a healthy and wickedly humorous take on its many foibles. Her presence anywhere was an absolute guarantee of laughter. It's a shocking loss."

Sarah Hazell, director of corporate communications, Grey Global Group, Europe, Middle East and Africa
"I have admired Chrissie's professionalism throughout my career. So it was a real joy to get to know her personally through the WPP clan. Such a great sense of fun coupled with quiet wisdom and a generous heart. Chrissie will be much missed."

Harriet Marsh, former JWT communications executive
"Chrissie was always so stylish, sweeping into the office looking fantastically stylish and funky. I think her favourite magazines were Campaign and Vogue! Probably not the last Campaign editor you can say that about. She was also extremely sharp, funny, determined, uncompromising and her PR role mantra was 'information is our currency'. Her frustration was against people who 'just don't get it' - the 'it' being what makes a good story. She loved the wheeling-dealing of PR in the same way that I imagine she loved getting an exclusive news story."

Stephen Foster, former Campaign journalist
"Chrissie always seemed indestructible, coming over from Australia in the 70s and happy to play up to her self-chosen image as a real-life, although much younger naturally, of Barry Humphries' immortal Dame Edna Everage.

"As a writer on Campaign she combined a ferocious news-gathering talent with the ability to get on with the people she would persecute on press days."

Samantha DiGennaro, Founder, HYPR
"Chrissie Barker was one of life's very special angels. She graced everybody she touched with the gift of warmth, love, laughter, and joy. Her magnetism attracted friends and fans from all over the world, but was only one facet of this amazing lady's appeal. Anyone who knows Chrissie knows that her energy, pluck, optimism and spirit go unrivaled. Chrissie  was unique, quirky, outrageous and simply FUN. 
 
"She had this great 'Chrissie laugh'. The hearty, throaty howl that always left the people around her smiling. No matter how bad the day, Chrissie continued laughing, continued smiling, and kept everyone around her smiling. She was a great listener and, in the true spirit of a mother, put others before herself.
 
"Chrissie was also a best-in-class Communications professional who could plant a 50-ft tree in Rockefeller center and not leave a thumbprint. JWT was very fortunate to have her relentless loyalty and commitment for so many years. More important, she offered the gift of humanity in the workplace.
 
"To me, Chrissie was a colleague, a confidante, a friend. She taught me, looked out for me, laughed with me, and always had my back.
 
"Chrissie, for everything you were and everything you stood for, I will always love you. You will maintain a place in my thoughts, in my memories, and in my heart.
 
"This world is a happier place because of you. Your legacy and spirit will live on in more ways than I could possibly express."


Gail Kemp, former Campaign journalist.

"When we met for lunch in February Chrissie told me that she was about to leave JWT to take up her new role at WPP. As ever, she was full of humour and joie de vivre;  lunch was a wonderful time of laughter and memories, and of optimism as well.
 
"Chrissie trained me on Campaign. Bernard Barnett hired me as a cub reporter when Chrissie was Chief Reporter and until I got to know her well, I was totally overawed by her presence, her glamour and her sheer dynamism.  She was an indomitable force in the newsroom, the toughest and most tenacious news reporter with a fantastic Australian vocabulary that was a constant source of entertainment - 'He kept giving me the hairy eyeball' was a favourite complaint, I seem to remember! Yet Chrissie could also be the most sensitive and caring of colleagues, generous with her time and her knowledge.  She epitomised everything that made Campaign great at that time - ballsy, glamorous, fearless, straight-talking, never satisfied with second best. 

"I can still hear her impressing on me the need to convey 'the five Ws and the H' in the first two paragraphs of every story - that was the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.  I remembered those words - in that wonderful Aussie voice - every single time I wrote a story.  And I find it incredibly sad that I shall never hear her voice again.  She was a fantastic role model for me and for many other journalists, combining a serious and successful career with devoted motherhood, moving apparently effortlessly within the communications industry as it changed over the years.  She taught me a huge amount and I will always be grateful for her friendship and her support.  The industry is poorer for her loss and, like so many former colleagues, I will miss her greatly."

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