Thursday, November 08, 2007

Peter Mason - Editor of Ethical Performance

How old are you?

What’s your occupation and who do you work for?
I’m Editor and co-founder of Ethical Performance, a monthly newsletter on socially responsible business.

How long have been doing this?
Since early 1999 – eight years.

What’s the best bit about your job?
I generally get to write ‘good news’, which is a rare thing for a journalist.

What’s the worst thing?
Nothing of any significance, although the relentless treadmill of deadlines is wearing sometimes, and there’s a relatively new trend among PR people to email you a press release and then ring you up to see if you’ve received it, which is a bit irritating.

What have the last 12 months been like for you?
Very good. Corporate responsibility, which is what we write about, has become a boom area over the past year, so there’s a large amount of interest in the subject.

What were you doing before?
I worked for Green magazine in the early 1990s (now defunct), as a staffer on The Guardian foreign desk and as a freelancer on loads of different publications.

What was your very first full-time job?
I was a reporter on an in-house company newspaper for Manulife insurance company in Stevenage.

Have you got any plans for the next 12 months you’d like to share with us?
Professionally, we are launching a news wire service at which features news from organizations that are doing things on corporate responsibility. On the personal front, I’ve written a biography of the great West Indian cricketer and race relations campaigner Sir Learie Constantine, which will be published by Macmillan.

What do you do to relax?
Play golf and football, listen to music, eat curry.

Who do you live with?
My wife Judi, who is from Trinidad – we’ve been living together for 20 years, married for ten.

Whereabouts do you live?
Battersea, South London.

If you were Prime Minister, what’s the very first thing you would do?
Raise the highest rate of income tax to 50 per cent.

Have you got any guilty carbon secrets?
I travel abroad a lot by plane, both for business and pleasure – and it’s something I’ve got to get to grips with.

What have you done that you were most proud of?
I wrote a book called The Brown Dog Affair that was turned into a BBC Radio 4 play.

What are you most concerned about in the world at large?
Short-termism. Until we all begin to take a longer view of almost everything then we’ll continue to head towards the abyss.

Which person in the public eye do you most admire and why?
Nelson Mandela, not just because of his forbearance and what he’s helped to achieve in South Africa, but the way he has tried to use reconciliation to transform his country. I also think Mikhail Gorbachev has never got enough credit for what he’s done.

What advice would you give to someone wishing to embark on the same sort of work as you?
Go to journalism school, learn shorthand, then get as many articles published wherever you can, even if it’s only in a local community newsletter or something. You need to show prospective employers that you have the ability to do the job.

What’s your website address?

What are your three favourite other websites?
Workwise, I find extremely useful. But outside of work I like and

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