Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sue Douglas: Near-death accident changes all

OK, I’m fallible. I get it wrong occasionally. I recently wrote a rather mean piece about Sue Douglas, former deputy editor of the Sunday Times and former “president” of Conde Nast’s New Business division. Now I learn, from an interview in the London Evening Standard, that she nearly lost her life in a horse riding accident eight months ago. She suffered damage to her brain and optic nerve - she’s on the mend, thank goodness, but still has double vision.

She said: “I've got my memory back which is a relief but [the accident] has changed me. In fact I think, I hope, I'm a much nicer person than I was ... Before, when people came to me and they were ill or unhappy, I'd give them pretty short shrift. Now I would listen and try to understand more.

“You know, I set out on a beautiful day to ride my horse. That's all I did and it nearly cost me my life. I have found that very frightening. But it has given me a wider understanding of my whole life and that's a good thing in the end, isn't it?”

My comments on her husband Niall Ferguson and his Henry Kissinger project stand, however.

10 comments:

Susan Hill said...

I do like a person who can admit they were wrong and apologise for it with grace,

Walter said...

When Sue Douglas became editor of the Sunday Express, I was unemployed, having run fowl of both Andrew Neil and Robert Maxwell. I wrote to her offering my services as a journalist. We had, after all, already worked together at the Sunday Times and the European.

She invited me into her office and without further ado asked me to join her "core team" of senior writers. I was introduced to several of her senior staff and told I would hear back in a couple of days about when I would start and how much I would earn.

There was no such job – not for me, at any rate. I never heard from her again. My subsequent letters and phone calls elicited no response.

Mind you, she was sacked not longer after.

I am glad to hear that she is now a much nicer person. Her friends will be delighted.

nsfl said...

"having run fowl... offering my services as a journalist"

Susan Hill said...

He just forgot to add 'journalist on The Poultry Keeper`s Weekly.'

Walter said...

Oh, all right, since we're talking turkey. "Run foul," it is. Most amusing.

Anonymous said...

Poor Walter. There are plenty of anti-bullying orgs on this site if he wants help ....

Walter said...

Thank you, Anonymous. Ms Hill and whoever nsfl is remind me of the sort of book reviewer who delights in counting the number of tiny errors in a text (as if they never make mistakes themselves) in the hope of making the author cry. What the book actually says is less important.

But I am not too old to learn the lesson. In future, I shall not count my chickens until I've determined that they are, in fact, chickens.

Anonymous said...

The big question is whether Conde Nast will use Sue Douglas's accident as an excuse to abandon their unsuccessful venture into contract publishing. They are now publishing only three of their contract titles, and their website trades heavily upon past publications to disguise the fact that all of their recent gains have been lost. In particular, mass-market titles for clients like Littlewoods and the Post Office have been disastrous failures. This accident provides them with a perfect get-out - expect a sorrowful announcement from Nicholas Coleridge any time now...

Anonymous said...

Ms Douglas departed the CNCP sinking ship and was last seen setting up her own contract shop... er, and that's it. Nothing else since. The whole division was hamstrung by massive overhead costs and despite wringing her address book dry for new contracts it's not all her fault it went toes up - just mainly.

philippe said...

I knew Sue Douglas from her days as a fashion editor in South Africa and worked as her photographer and must say that not only was she one of the kindest and nicest people to work with but also one of the most intelligent women that i have ever met. I'm sorry to hear of bad experiences that some have had and am most surprised. I'm very saddened to hear of her accident and would lve to know how to get in touch with her by email.
philippe mihailovich