There seems to be a love affair between the magazine world and the
Sunday Times. Three months ago, editor-at-large Dylan Jones left the
paper to take the helm at Conde Nast’s GQ. Two months ago, IPC recruited
Style section deputy Liz Jones to head Marie Claire. Last week, Conde
Nast dipped into the pool again and fished out literary editor Geordie
Greig as Tatler editor.
’The Sunday Times of the last 15 years or so has been an extraordinary
school of journalism,’ Greig says. ’There’s an incredibly talented team
there and it’s one of the toughest newspapers to work successfully
Greig’s survival credentials are impeccable. After fighting off his
wealthy family’s desire for him to enter banking, he began his
journalistic career at the South East London and Lewisham Mercury. While
working from nine to six at the local paper, he spent from seven in the
evening until two in the morning at the Daily Mail. After six months, he
was deemed to have passed David English’s ’Daily Mail sparkle’ test and
was offered a full-time job.
Greig spent a year at the Mail and two at Sunday Today as its only
reporter - with Alastair Campbell as news editor. Then, in 1987, he
joined the Sunday Times, where he has worked variously as reporter, arts
correspondent and New York correspondent.
He was approached for the Tatler job by Conde Nast MD Nicholas Coleridge
out of the blue after Coleridge had struggled to find his ideal
candidate among some 70-odd applicants. His appointment may have been a
surprise, but it has not shocked all his colleagues.
’Geordie is very charming, entertaining and sharp,’ says Robert Harris,
Sunday Times journalist and novelist. ’He’s an excellent journalist,
but, more importantly, he’s a true gentleman. He’s absolutely the right
man to edit Tatler.’
Greig believes Tatler is in need of reinvigoration rather than
’We have a wealth of loyal readers, but we can reach out to them more,’
he says. ’People tell me they love Tatler, but find the writing isn’t
The writing issue is already being addressed with the appointment of
Sunday Telegraph columnist Nicola Formby as editor-at-large with a brief
to bring in celebrity content.
Greig has always had a knack for finding writing talent. While literary
editor at the Sunday Times, he became the first man to commission a book
review from a sitting Prime Minister when John Major reviewed a cricket
book for him. He also commissioned work by the likes of Ted Hughes and
As for the PR industry, he eschews the usual hack line of distrusting
every phone call from PROs. ’At Tatler, I think I’ll be interested in
talking to the industry about every part of the magazine,’ he says.
’There’s a whirl of social events and products which surround the Tatler
world that we need to know about.’
He has a word of warning, though: ’At the Sunday Times, I dealt with a
range of PR contacts from fashion PROs to political spin doctors, so I
know how to deal with puff.’
Reporter, Sunday Times
Literary editor, Sunday Times