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Newspaper reveals May press minder’s days as budding journalist

Fiona HillThe press ‘minder’ credited with keeping reporters at bay as Prime Minister Theresa May tours the country ahead of the general election was herself once a budding journalist, a Scottish title has revealed.

Fiona Hill, left, is rated by some as the second most powerful woman in Britain in her role as Mrs May’s joint chief of staff.

She is said to have devised the media strategy which has seen the Prime Minister eschew media interviews in favour of direct contact with voters on doorsteps in the run-up to the June 8 poll.

Now in a piece for Scotland on Sunday, award-winning feature writer Dani Garavelli has written an account of Fiona’s early days in journalism after arriving at sister title The Scotsman on work experience.

Wrote Dani: “Twenty-odd years ago, Fiona Hill turned up at the offices of The Scotsman on North Bridge hoping to carve out a career in journalism.

“Back then, the newspaper industry was thriving and there were plenty of opportunities for ambitious young people to make their mark. Even against this backdrop, however, Hill stood out for her doggedness.

“Fiona turned up on work experience and just kept coming back,” says one former colleague. “She sort of insinuated herself into the place.

“She hung around the features desk hoping to be given something to do and spent a lot of time socialising in the pub until she became a fixture, though no-one seemed sure what her remit was.”

During her time at the paper, Fiona’s duties included covering lower league football matches such as Clydeback v East Fife/

Donald Walker, who worked on The Scotsman sports desk at the time, recalls that she wasn’t fazed by the male-dominated environment of lower league press boxes.

According to the Scotsman piece, Fiona’s journalism career “didn’t really start to take off” until she joined Sky TV, where she worked on the newsdesk.

She later joined the Conservative Party press office in 2006 before becoming a special adviser when the party returned to government in 2010.

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  • May 16, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    ‘Fiona turned up on work experience and just kept coming back’. Real tenacity there.

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