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For over fourteen years, Scottish journalist Mairi Fraser was based in London, working as a successful news picture editor and feature writer for three national broadsheet newspapers. During this time she worked with the best in the business, including; Andrew Marr, Fraser Nelson, Rosie Boycott, Charles Wilson, James Landale, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, to name a few.
Edinburgh-born Mairi cut her journalistic teeth as a junior reporter with the East Lothian Courier. Here she learnt a great deal about dog-fouling and the dynamics of community councils. Before long, she moved her base to the bright lights of Edinburgh, where she joined the staff of The Scotsman.
After a year at The Scotsman, under Magnus Linklater’s editorship, Mairi moved to Fleet Street working for The Times, Telegraph and Independent. During this time she covered major news stories including Labour’s momentous 1997 election victory, Princess Diana’s death, 9/11 and the allied invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Mairi was part of the Independent’s team during its 1994 ground-breaking move from the City to Canary Wharf. She worked there during the IRA’s attack on Docklands. In 1998, Mairi was deputy to picture editor David Swanborough when he was awarded the prestigious, ‘Picture Editor of the Year Award’ by fresh-faced Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
2001 was a year that changed the world. During the aftermath journalists were required to work around the clock, becoming experts over-night on previously unknown names and locations. Mairi organised ‘crews’ – teams of journalists and photographers – in North America before subsequently arranging those to be embedded with British troops in Iraq as well as those travelling independently through Jordan towards Baghdad.
Her work during the invasion helped earn The Times several accolades and Mairi a free dinner at the exclusive Pall Mall Club of Editor Sir Peter Stothard.
In the latter months of 2003 Mairi was sent Down Under for a stint on Rupert Murdoch’s Sydney-based tabloid, the Daily Telegraph.
With a great sense of humour and steely Scottish burr, Mairi performed daily verbal battle with news editors and sub editors, persuading them to give her subjects due recognition. More than once, there was a very generous bias towards Scottish news coverage. Times picture editor Andy Moger comments: “Mairi’s clear Scottish delivery and ability to laugh at herself made her a popular figure in the daily conference room. Her confidence and enthusiasm had you convinced there was a stunning front page picture in the pipeline, even if you knew that wasn’t the case!”
In 2005, Mairi left London, returning to her native Scotland, where she continues to write and raise a family. With her hilarious anecdotes and witty delivery, Mairi has made quite a name for herself on the after dinner speaking circuit.
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