Two things you could say about Paul Durrant: he gave it everything, and he cared
I worked with him for many years, and I didn’t always agree with him. As news editor of the biggest selling regional morning newspaper in England, he knew what he wanted, and when that didn’t quite match the story the reporter brought in, the reporter had to go back and try again.
In my innocence, I felt that the reporter, having done the interviews and seen for himself or herself, might have more insight than the office-bound news editor. But I was probably wrong. Certainly the reporters in question stand behind him, praising him for his guidance, and for making them the stars they are today.
He produced top quality news stories. He was a master of the intro, and he understood how to motivate his staff to go that bit further. He would not tolerate laziness, but he could forgive someone who tried and kept on trying, even if they made mistakes. He spotted star quality and insisted that it was not wasted.
Outside the office he was relaxed and friendly and knew how to encourage people – a vital quality. By no means perfect himself – who is? – he understood imperfections in others, but he knew about the importance of keeping up standards. It was no accident that the Eastern Daily Press was such a fine newspaper when he was in the news editor’s chair.
Underlying it all was a warm person who was unafraid to put himself on the line. As a result, he was a gigantic figure. And yes, that’s a metaphor.
We will miss him.
Paul “Duzza” Durrant, died 10 February 2016.