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Opinion & Analysis

An ‘old school’ newsman

John Shephard was a reporter’s reporter, an ‘old school’ newsman through and through.

He was straight talking and had strong views he was not afraid to share. But in a world inundated with opinion, he understood implicitly the value of hard facts and good, old-fashioned reporting.

John was best known for writing about sport – not just football, but all sports – but he had a good nose for a story.

In the newsroom, alongside his two pages of sport every day, he provided a steady flow of leads on all sorts of news. And like all good reporters, he had an eye for the small details that tell the bigger picture.

He had a human touch too, the ability to listen and empathise with his subject, valuable tools in any journalist’s armoury. He imparted his knowledge and experience with the rakish flare of a seasoned raconteur.

Above all, John was down to earth and unassuming, as evidenced by one of the last conversations we had with him in the newsroom.

It was during one of several farewell visits - “still here,” he would joke - and John was reflecting on his life.

He was recalling how proud he had been when local football named a trophy after him in recognition of his dedication. Even after so many years reporting from the touchline, he had been humbled by the gesture.

“I was just doing my job,” he said.

And he was, right until the end, never missing a deadline.