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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 Haddington's, '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' newspaper.
After a year there, under Magnus Linklater's editorship, Mairi moved on to London's Fleet Street, working for The Times, Telegraph and Independent. During this time she covered all the major news stories including Labour's 1997 momentous election victory, Princess Diana's death, the September eleventh atrocities 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 the then almost unknown, Canary Wharf. Shortly afterwards she was working 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.
Of course, 2001 was a year that changed the world. During the aftermath journalists were required to work around the clock, becoming over-night experts 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. This period coincided with Australia losing to England in the Rugby World Cup, devastating the Ozzies and finding Mairi on Sydney's Manly beach in a 'Stop Johnny' T-shirt. When in Rome...
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!"
While always enjoying a humorous take on proceedings, Mairi took her job very seriously. During one such occasion, when researching the sale of former Spitting Image puppets at a Sotheby's auction, Mairi nodded in agreement with a colleague and bought herself Lot 121. Rolf Harris now sits proudly on her desk at home.
In 2005, Mairi left London, returning to her native Scotland. Here she continues to write and edit on a freelance basis - she has a children's book with the publisher - and still finds time to teach swimming and raise a family. With her hilarious anecdotes and witty delivery, Mairi is also starting to make a name for herself on the lunch and after dinner speaking circuit.
Find out how to book Mairi Fraser as the female host speaker for your next event by calling Speak Out on 0131 440 9226 or clicking here.
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