Behind the Headlines with W’s Adam Leigh

Adam Leigh, former deputy editor of The Independent and now strategy director at W, on the most efficient way to get up to speed on the latest news stories, cutting his teeth at the Burton Herald & Post and the tragic demise of his Lego collection.

Adam Leigh

Before I reach the office in the morning, I’ve already…
Listened to the Today programme on Radio 4 – a habit from my years in journalism (I was deputy editor of The Independent). It’s still the best news programme in the world, and the most efficient way to get up to speed on the stories that matter.

You’ll mostly find emails about…in my inbox.
News and opinion. So much email is just white noise and bad marketing, but subscribing to a handful of quality media digests can give you the edge. I’d recommend CapX, Quartz, the New Yorker, and Fast Company.

I know I’ve had a good day if…
I’ve learnt something new that’s got me excited.

My first job was…
As a trainee reporter on the Burton Herald & Post, a free newspaper in the Midlands. It was exactly as glamorous as it sounds. Summer of 1989. 100 quid a week. And I absolutely loved it.

I can tell a campaign is succeeding when…
The noise/laughter/alcohol level increases in the office.

I eat…when nobody is watching.
Heinz tomato soup with Carr’s water biscuits crumbled into it.

The first time I pitched to a journalist…
Was an op-ed to a former colleague at The Independent on behalf of a very difficult-to-impress client. The whole process was excruciating. But the piece ran and the client was duly impressed.

The worst thing anyone has said to me is…
On his conscience forever.

The last book I read was…
The Operator by Tom King. It’s an enormous (and hugely entertaining) biography of the American entertainment mogul David Geffen – a very thoughtful gift from W’s CEO, Warren Johnson. It was a bit of an excursion for me; my usual literary diet is fiction. I adore classic thriller writers like John Le Carré, Eric Ambler and Alan Furst.

I’ve never really understood why…
London minicab drivers are so devoted to TalkSport.

If I could go back and talk to my 10-year-old self, I’d say…
“Make sure you lock all your Lego in a cupboard when you go away to university – otherwise you’ll come home for Christmas and discover that your mother has taken it to the charity shop (sigh).”

This time next year, I’ll be…
Grafting. Maybe skiing. On some fad diet. Dreaming.

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