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Panpa Bulletin : August September 2007
18 PANPA Bulletin August-September 2007 news Farewell 'Beebs' By Tony Gillies Tony Gillies recounts the achievements, plaudits, issues championed and style that characterised the career and personality of Warren Beeby. Warren Beeby has travelled the toughest roads in Australian journalism. He has fought in the competition of afternoon newspapers often referred to as 'war'; the bearpit of Canberra politics; edited a national daily; and presided over union negotiations for a quarter of a century. It's been no place for the faint-heart- ed. And arguably it's been no place to easily pick up friends and admirers. But admiration and respect is just what Warren Beeby has won in a career of almost 50 years at the frontline for News Limited in Australia. As he prepared for retirement at 65 and a quieter existence travelling, fish- ing and spending time with his family, the plaudits from his peers had a com- mon theme. Hosting a recent dinner in his honour, News Limited chief execu- tive John Hartigan described Mr Beeby as "intensely loyal, relentless and inspirational". "Beeby's the quiet, contempla- tive company man of determination, wisdom and great conviction about his chosen career," he said. "He has the rare ability to sit back and apply reasoned, rational judgment in the face of chaos, with consummate humility." Warren Beeby has done many things at News Limited, holding many difficult senior positions. He's directly touched the lives and careers of thousands of journalists, managers and industry leaders. To scan his career highlights is to understand his diversity and achievements. From cadet journalist on Sydney's Daily Mirror in the early sixties, he's been business editor of The Australian; finance editor of The Sunday Telegraph; production editor, deputy editor then editor of The Australian; foreign correspondent in London and New York; News Limited's Canberra Bureau Chief -- covering Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's dismissal in 1975; and editorial manager of Mirror Australian Telegraph publications in 1982. He's done it all with integrity and compassion. Reporter and columnist Errol Simper who once worked under him at The Australian was moved recently to describe Mr Beeby's editorship style as "flexible, cautious, understanding pragmatism". "The best way to sum up Beeby -- Beebs to most, inevitably the Beeb to others -- is to probably call him reason- able," Mr Simper wrote. As the company's group editorial manager since 1990, Mr Beeby has influenced the direction and there- fore the standing of News Limited in Australian journalism. He has been a director of a number of News Limited subsidiary and associ- ate companies, including Nationwide News, Newspoll and Australian Associated Press. Mr Beeby is seen only as a man with a firm but fair hand and al- ways in the corner of all working journalists. He has actively championed press freedom, press standards and work- place rights. These strengths have seen him play a leading role in industry or- ganisations such as The Australian Press Council, Commonwealth Press Union (Australian chairman) and The Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association (director and vice- president). The Australian Press Council ex- ecutive director Jack Herman referred to Mr Beeby as an "irreplaceable member of its freedom of the press committee". PANPA president Robert Whitehead described Mr Beeby's advice and ex- perience as "exceptional". "His involvement in this year's PANPA conference was excellent and his ability to make valuable and useful connections was well demonstrated in the planning of the conference program." "We wish we could find a way for him to continue on," Mr Whitehead said. Australian Associated Press Chief Executive Clive Marshall warmly re- Warren will be able to spend more time with family