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Reporter of five decades interviewed Fab Four

A journalist who once interviewed The Beatles has celebrated 50 years with a Welsh newspaper.

Judith Philips started her career with the North Wales News in 1961 at the age of 17 when she spent three years with the newspaper as an apprentice while studying for the National Council for the Training of Journalists certificate.

In 1965 she moved to London to work for a PR firm but returned to her native Wales 18 months later and was asked back to the Weekly News where she worked off and on ever since.

In a first person piece  in this week’s paper, Judith, who is now semi-retired, said that back then the newsroom was full of mostly male reporters who smoked and drank heavily.

Said Judith: “I never had a problem in North Wales or with my colleagues at the Weekly News, but it was a totally different story with the larger daily papers as they thought women were too soft and couldn’t do the hard news stories. It was a man’s world.”

She said: “Most of us didn’t even have typewriters back then, they just didn’t supply them. I remember at the Weekly News there was one typewriter in the newsroom, and we had to file our copy in longhand from our shorthand notes.

“That was just the way it was until you could afford your own typewriter, and as I was only getting paid £3.50 a week, it was an impossible dream. My parents bought me one for Christmas one year.”

After witnessing changes in the industry, from writing copy by hand, to typewriters and then to computers in the 80s, she said her philosophy is to ’embrace change, or get left behind.’

Speaking about her interview with The Beatles in 1963 she said: “They were booked to come to Llandudno for a week for performances at the Odeon. I got to interview them, but at the time I didn’t have any idea how important they would become, as I was interviewing a lot of stars of the day because I had a music column in the paper for teenagers.”

“The only two who did any talking were John and Paul, Ringo and George were very quiet. John answered most of the questions with Paul chipping in, and they were very enthusiastic.”


Picture provided courtesy of Trinity Mirror.