More thrills than skills: A half-life in journalism, part five

Over the next few weeks, is to publish, each weekday, edited extracts from the memoirs of Scottish war correspondent, Paul Harris. ‘More thrills than skills: A half-life in journalism’, is being scheduled for publication next year.

I WAS studying politics and international relations at Aberdeen University in the far, frozen north east of Scotland: the bit that juts out into the North Sea and catches the wind and spray driving down from Iceland and the Arctic Circle.

My more studious endeavours were punctuated by my writing, editing the university newspaper, Gaudie, and running mobile discotheques around the campus.

Working on the university newspaper brought me into contact with the owner of the local, Scotpix news agency, J Geddes Wood.

I soon became Geddes’s ‘stringer’ at the university, feeding stories and pictures to him for onward distribution to the national newspapers.

On my first term at university, I was the photographer for the university newspaper.

I was immediately recruited during Freshers’ Week as soon as word got out that not only was I a keen photographer but that I possessed the necessary skills to develop and print my own photographs: I’d actually been at it since the tender age of eight when I was given my first camera, a Gevabox medium format, sporting three exposure and two aperture settings.