REVIEW of REVIEWS

Northcliffe, the Interviewer

The “Big Man” Should be Able to Understand the Viewpoint of His Most Humble Employee

GEORGE F. KEARNEY July 1 1921
REVIEW of REVIEWS

Northcliffe, the Interviewer

The “Big Man” Should be Able to Understand the Viewpoint of His Most Humble Employee

GEORGE F. KEARNEY July 1 1921

Northcliffe, the Interviewer

The “Big Man” Should be Able to Understand the Viewpoint of His Most Humble Employee

GEORGE F. KEARNEY

MR. KEARNEY secured an interview with Lord Northcliffe. In Leslie’s he tells how the interviewer

became the interviewed. Here are a few of the questions the owner of the Times fired at him before he could get in a question of his own:— “What was this mix-up over the marriage of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks? “Why did Edward Bok retire as the editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal? “How is Congressman J. Hampton Moore making out as Mayor of Philadelphia? “Has Philadelphia got her art gallery yet? “Does Mr. Harding write his own editorials ? ' “How big is the Ambassador Hotel in Atlantic City and did Linnard sell out his Western interests as well? “Is Billy Sunday still popular?

“What is the reason for the large circulation of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin? “How many American Legion men are in Congress? “Why did the American Legion change its bonus policy? “Will General Pershing go into busi“What do you know about the NonPartisan League Movement? “How much do they pay newspaper reporters in New York City? “At first, I was inclined to think he was trotting out his knowledge of my country for the vanity of it. Yet question piled on question until I realized that I was facing the world’s star-iest star reporter, who is a perfect fiend for digging information. “There seemed little prospect of getting an interview from him. Several times I tried to put a question in edgewise—no use, it was flung back at me. My weary mind was beginning to feel all poked over. As time went on the predicament of the interviewer who had been turned into the interviewed amused me, and my grin broadened. Finally he stopped suddenly. “‘What are you laughing at?’ he demanded, screwing up his face. “ T am amused at the fate of my interview with you,’ I explained. T was thinking how it would require a Lord Northcliffe to interview Lord Northcliffe.’ “The idea amused him. ‘Oh, yes, you want a story from me,’ he grinned. ‘Let me see, you’re writing for the American public . . . All right, you want me to talk on the secret of success . . . No, I’m not making fun of you. As a matter of fact that desire on the part of every American to know how to achieve success makes you the wonderfully constructive nation that you are. “ ‘This is my formula for success. You have flattered me by saying that 1 am a good reporter. Being a good reporter makes me a good editor, but only in so far as I keep on being a good reporter. Being an editor makes me a good publisher, but only in so far as I keep in mind that a publisher is about as good a publisher as he is an editor. In other words, reducing things, I am only as good a publisher as I am a reporter. You know I still go out on assignments. I covered the Peace Conference, and I was the first man to get an exclusive interview with President Wilson at the Conference. “ ‘I would say that this rule applied to success in any line of business. If I wanted to be a good builder I would learn to be a good bricklayer. My employees would have nothing on me, as you Americans say. If you look at your organization, as an executive, from your workef’s point of view, with yourself as one of the working men, you are well on the way toward eliminating labor troubles. “ ‘A man who heads a big organization is only as big as his ability to understand the work, and the viewpoint. of his most humble employee.’ ”