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Reporter looks back over 50 years in newspapers

A former journalist who once chased an Olympic 5000m runner through the streets in a bid to get an interview has published a book about his 50 years in newspapers.

Clifford Mogg started out as an apprentice printer at the Western Gazette in Yeovil before getting a job as a reporter with the Surrey Herald in Chertsey in 1963.

During his career he also worked for the Reading Evening Post, Basingstoke Gazette, Southern Evening Echo at Southampton and Surrey Hants Star at Aldershot.

Now he has self-published a book entitled “Don’t Quote Me” which takes a lighthearted look back at his five decades in the industry.

In the book he recalls the time when he found himself chasing former Olympic 5000m runner Christopher Chataway through Chertsey in a desperate attempt to get an interview.

Mr Chataway, who was bidding to fight the parliamentary seat for the Tories, had emerged from the Conservative Party’s offices after being quizzed by party officials.

“When I approached him he showed an Olympian turn of speed which left me trailing far behind,” writes Cliff. “By the time I reached the car park he was half way back to London.

“For the next few weeks I was boring everyone with a rather embellished story about the night I had given the great Chris Chataway a run for his money.”

Recalling his first day at the Herald, he says when he entered the reporters’ room he found himself in the middle of a heated row between two of his new colleages.

They broke off to greet him and then resumed their argument which ended with one throwing a large Remington typewriter at the other.

“During the spat I sat at a desk and kept my eyes firmly fixed on a blank piece of copy-paper, trying to give the impression it was the most interesting sheet of paper anyone could wish to peruse,” writes Cliff.

“As for the battered typewriter, its durability was a credit to the manufacturer. The keys rattled more than hitherto, but otherwise the machine seemed in sound working order and was soon churning out stories at an admirable speed.”

Don’t Quote Me, which has been published via authorsonline, is priced £5.50 plus £1 postage and packing.

It can be obtained from Cliff at 45 Blackberry Walk, Lychpit, Old Basing, Basingstoke, Hants RG24 8SN. Cheques payable to C.J. Mogg.


richard meredith (18/02/2009 11:36:51)
Good stuff Cliff. I once worked with a brilliant sub called Tony Barnes who reckoned he had beaten Herb Elliot over a mile. What was it about you old journo’s that kept you so fast on your feet? A practice run down to the pub and back? Ah, those were the days… has anyone heard of Tony BTW. He was ex Milton Keynes Gazette, then Herts Ad, then D. Mirror I think?