MEDIA: PROFILE; This City girl is miles slicker: Kirstie Hamilton, City editor, Daily and Sunday Express

Working for Express Newspapers must have a strange, surreal quality about it at the moment. It’s easy to throw words like Kafkaesque around these days but, in the case of the Blackfriars Crusader, that’s what most of the journalists must feel. As the seven-day operation takes shape, people are coming and going at a rate of knots and it takes a pretty level head to just keep on doing your job.

Working for Express Newspapers must have a strange, surreal quality

about it at the moment. It’s easy to throw words like Kafkaesque around

these days but, in the case of the Blackfriars Crusader, that’s what

most of the journalists must feel. As the seven-day operation takes

shape, people are coming and going at a rate of knots and it takes a

pretty level head to just keep on doing your job.



One of the survivors is the City editor Kirstie Hamilton. Taken over to

the Sunday Express from the Sunday Times in April by the dear departed

Sue Douglas, Hamilton is now running the whole business output of the

seven-day paper including personal finance. It’s a huge job, but she’s

determined not to let it phase her.



When you ask if she’s managing to get any sleep at all, she’ll laugh

politely. ‘Well, that’s what everyone asks,’ she says.



But then, she’s learnt to be unflappable from day one of her UK

journalistic career. Hamilton stepped off the plane from New Zealand in

1989 and almost straight into a job at the Evening Standard. On her

first day she was introduced to the City desk by her boss Tony Hilton

with the gloomy statement: ‘This is Kirstie. She can write but she

doesn’t know any companies. She’s on a short-term contract so don’t lend

her any money.’ Stouter hearts may have quailed at such an opener but

Hamilton had a full contract within weeks.



She loves City reporting for its off-diary heart and soul. Working on

the City pages of the Sunday Times is a tough job since, obviously, the

City shuts on Friday. As a result, most of the week is spent digging

around for the gossip and news that doesn’t come from a cosy results

meeting or public announcement. Hamilton, like many of her Sunday City

reporting colleagues, was regularly forced to take a chance on stories

when she could have fallen flat on her face. Fortunately her track

record is very good. After all, if you mess up too often, people just

stop reading you.



‘The worst moment I had was when I had predicted Lloyds’ bid for

Midlands Bank at the time that HSBC were bidding,’ she says. ‘I had to

hold my breath over the whole weekend and I was delighted when they made

an announcement on Monday that totally vindicated my story.’



She wants to take the excitement that a good, digging City story can

generate and get the whole of the Express output to feel that fresh.

‘The wheeling and dealing in the City of London is all about money,

power, ambition and greed but the City pages of most newspapers seem to

try to make it as dull as possible,’ she bemoans.



‘The PR people are employed by City firms to make it dull. If I hear

another chief executive say ‘We’re doing this to enhance shareholder

value’ again I’ll scream. They’re usually only doing it to enhance the

chief executive’s career, but they always say that as if it’s the most

brilliant thing in the world. Although I suppose they are doing it to

enhance shareholder value. After all, they all have share options.’



HIGHLIGHTS



1989 reporter, City pages Evening Standard

1992 reporter, City pages Sunday Times

1994 deputy City editor Sunday Times

1996 City editor Sunday Express

1996 City editor Daily and Sunday Express



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