Thursday 24 September 2020 10:40 am

Veteran journalist and editor Sir Harold Evans dies aged 92

Sir Harold Evans, one of the most influential journalists of the 20th century, has died at the age of 92.

The former Sunday Times editor, who was known for his crusading investigations, died of heart failure in New York, his wife Tina Brown said.

Over a career spanning seven decades Evans worked as a magazine founder, book publisher and author. Most recently he served as editor-at-large for news agency Reuters.

One of the UK and America’s most celebrated journalists, Evans was perhaps best known for his pioneering work at the Sunday Times.

During his 13-year tenure as editor the paper published its groundbreaking investigation into Thalidomide – the morning sickness drug that left hundreds of children with birth defects.

Under his stewardship the paper also ran a host of investigative stories, including the exposure of Kim Philby as a Soviet spy.

After leaving the newspaper Evans became the founding editor of Conde Nast Traveller and later president of publishing giant Random House.

In 2002 an industry poll named the veteran journalist as the greatest newspaper editor of all time. The following year he was knighted for services to journalism.

Evans began his career as a local newspaper reporter in Manchester, before establishing his reputation as editor of the Northern Echo in the 1960s.

His legacy was also shaped by a public falling out with Sunday Times owner Rupert Murdoch over editorial independence.

Evans left the paper following the dispute, but later said his decision not to push back against Murdoch’s takeover was “the worst in my professional career”.

“My principal difficulty with Murdoch was my refusal to turn the paper into an organ of Thatcherism,” he said. “That is what the Times became.”

Journalists and editors took to Twitter this morning to praise Evans’ contribution to the industry.

Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said Evans was a “master craftsman of journalism”, while former Financial Times editor Lionel Barber described him as a “brilliant, generous newspaperman and mentor, the finest editor of his generation”.