Hearing from an old friend

The cover photo of Flair and Loathing on the Front Page – taken in 1977 when the Duke of Edinburgh (right) and Queen Elizabeth did a walkabout in Auckland. By then I was working for the Auckland Star. Recently, I was reminded how I got there from Taranaki when someone important from my professional life made contact – after 55 years.

You gotta love this – the man who helped get my journalism career under way 55 years ago has been in touch.

He’s the fellah I shared the dinner table with at Hawera’s Central Hotel in 1967 and who agreed when I suggested he buy a display advert in the newspaper I worked for, the Taranaki Herald.

The effect was startling. It was the first display (big) advertisement ever sold in Hawera in the paper’s (then) 115-year history.

The boss in New Plymouth wrote me an ecstatic letter about the rarity of journalists and advertising staff working together. He later moved to Auckland to take over the whole newspaper group – and ensured I got a job at the Auckland Star.

Here’s the best bit, though. The man I’m talking about, Russell King, and I were spoiled by the great cooking at the hotel – and he went on to marry the cook.

He and Bev are still together, living in retirement in Papamoa. He says after a couple of years, he sold the septic tank enterprise he was keen to advertise and he and Bev later successfully started growing flowers as a business.

I’ve sent him a complementary copy of Flair and Loathing on the Front Page, the first part of my memoirs.

I was never happy when I later discovered the Herald sold only 105 copies in South Taranaki and he should have had his ad in the rival Daily News (Taranaki Newspapers Ltd’s other daily).

There’s been a bit of media interest in the memoirs (which you can buy as an e-book by emailing me at jimtuckermedia@gmail.com).

Media news-site The Spinoff did an excellent spread, written by one of my former journalism students, Chris Schultz: https://thespinoff.co.nz/…/new-zealands-godfather-of…

The Listener has given it a brief mention on its books page, and Kim Hill talked to me about my life as a journo for about an hour on the Playing Favourites segment of her Saturday Morning programme: Playing Favourites with veteran journalist Jim Tucker | RNZ – https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday

Last Saturday, a column I wrote for the Taranaki Daily News/Stuff examined the background behind writing memoirs: How an ordinary person tackles their memoirs | Stuff.co.nz – https://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/opinion

Buy the e-book by contacting me at: Jimtuckermedia@gmail.com

About Jim Tucker

Supposed to be retired, after quitting journalism teaching in 2013 (after 25 years, preceded by 22 years as a newspaper journalist and editor), but find myself busier than ever with various book projects, advising law firms, and writing articles for magazines like North & South and Live.
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