Elegantly bow-legged with a navy knit tie, Sir Harold Evans politely but emphatically set the record straight when the Transom asked if his latest book, My Paper Chase, was an industry overview. “Oh no, by no means, that’s the last thing it is!” said the octogenarian editor emeritus at the party celebrating its publication. “It’s an autobiography about a kid growing up in a working-class district of Britain leaving school at 15, then how the hell does he get to the top of the newspaper industry? That’s the question. And the book answers it by describing exactly what happened.”
The event was held on the top floor of the Thomson Reuters building and hosted by Mr. Evans’ wife, Daily Beast editor Tina Brown, and Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, who bragged to the Transom that he was 80 percent done with the book, adding in a confessional tone, “And you know, I only read fiction. I made a rare departure for this book but it’s so well written and it’s got such narrative flow, he has such a great story to tell, it reads like fiction!”
Ms. Brown wore a well-cut black skirt suit with a diamond Art Deco brooch acting as the jacket fastener and a black leather quilted Chanel purse. “I have read every single draft,” she told the Transom of her husband’s work. “We like to edit each other’s work. He read every draft of The Diana Chronicles and I read every draft of this. It is a really wonderful thing to be an editor to someone you love.”
60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft was found nibbling on shrimp satay. “You know, Harry’s a force of life, there are very few people in New York who could command this kind of audience,” he said, leaning in with a wry grin. “And it’s also one of the few book parties I’ve been to where they’re actually serving shrimp!”
Later, Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, let the Transom in on the well-kept secret that Sir Harold was once a Ping-Pong powerhouse. “You know I’ve never played Ping-Pong against him but … I think he was actually in the top 10. Like real world-champion quality.”
Near the entrance, writer-director Nora Ephron was deep in conversation with literary agent Lynn Nesbit. “If we bought it now, then we would have it, but I don’t want to have to carry it around with us all night,” she said of Sir Harold’s book—what, not even in her famous plastic Metrocard tote?
Shortly afterward, guests began taking their seats in anticipation of a panel discussion ominously and alliteratively titled “Journalism in Jeopardy,” led by MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle in a tie the color of Key lime pie. An unsuccessful effort by organizers to herd guests from the bar to the seating area was met with a chuckle from Mr. Glocer. “You know it’s a true meeting of journalists when the bar is a greater attraction than the greatest journalist in history,” he said.