Managing director, Guardian Newspapers
Few editors manage to imprint their personality on a newspaper. Arthur
Christiansen did it on the Express, Hugh Cudlipp did it on the Mirror,
Harry Evans did it on the Sunday Times. And David English did it on the
He took a failing broadsheet, living in the shadow of the Express, and
transformed it into a confident tabloid which, at the time of his death,
threatened to overtake the Mirror.
He did it through hard work, a shrewd commercial mind and a brilliant
capacity to inspire the people who worked for him by a combination of
flattery and fear. Above all, he did it through sheer journalistic
He could do everyone’s job on the paper better than they could - and
they knew it.
He crafted the paper for his age. He understood the hopes and fears of
the middle classes and he spoke to them directly and reassuringly. He
worked tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of the industry and was
central in devising a workable code of conduct that would command public
and political respect.He will be greatly missed.
Editor, Daily Mail
He reinvented the Daily Mail as a compact, quality newspaper, the like
of which didn’t exist at the time, and he defined a new form of
middle-market journalism. He enabled the Daily Mail to survive and
flourish at a crucial time when the Express was leading the market - now
it is the reverse.
He created a brand of journalism which had a huge influence on new
papers and those in the provinces. There were a huge number of evening
papers which became based on the Daily Mail’s titles.
He played a vital role behind the scenes as an ambassador for the
His work for the Press Complaints Commission was tireless and valuable
in drawing up a charter for the industry and persuading editors to
support the PCC, while ensuring politicians understood that the freedom
of the press was a vital issue.
His partnership with Lord Rothermere was a vital one and it was that duo
that saved Rothermere’s newspaper empire.
Chairman, News International
I felt the influence of David English years before I got to know him. As
a journalist, he preceded me by a decade or so on the New York beat, but
there were those still working there who copied his style completely -
they even spoke like him. He was that kind of man.
When journalists sit and drink and tell tall stories, David never gets a
passing mention; it’s the full half hour at least. David wasn’t perfect;
there must be people who remain bruised by their relationship with
But nearly everyone has a good memory of working with him - a
buccaneering story of being on the road together; a challenge he threw
at them; an unsought kindness; an editorial principle they have always
It wasn’t until three years ago when I returned to Britain that David
and I finally got to know each other. He was a cunning competitor and I
admired him for that. But, just as important, when he represented the
industry’s views on such sensitive matters as privacy and editorial
integrity, we all knew he had the interests of the business he loved and
the readers he respected at heart.