Born: July 2, 1922; Died: September 5, 2013.
Geoffrey Goodman, who has died aged 91, was a radical journalist who became hugely influential in the 1960s and 70s. At a time when the trade unions were powerful, he was a friend and confidant to their leaders; he also spent a time in government as an advisor and after he retired became a watchful critic of journalism.
He was born in Stockport to parents who were both Jewish immigrants from Russia. When his father lost his job in a factory, the family moved to London and the young Geoffrey won a place in a grammar school before going on to study economics at the LSE. When war broke out, he lied about his age to sign up with the RAF and went on to fly in Wellingtons, Whitleys and Lancasters; later, he flew on photographic spying missions over enemy territory in Mosquitos.
After he was demobbed in 1946, he began to pursue his ambition of becoming a journalist. He joined the Manchester Guardian before moving to the Daily Mirror in 1947 (he only lasted a year when the editor sacked left-wingers on the staff). He then moved to the News Chronicle and worked there until it closed in 1959. By the mid-1960s, he was on the Daily Herald, which then became the Sun, before moving back to the Mirror in 1969. His position was industrial correspondent and editor, a hugely important job on any newspaper in the late 1960s and 70s. He always approached the job from a left-wing perspective although he also had excellent contacts in business and the Conservative party. He was a life-long friend of Michael Foot, and persuaded him to stand for the Labour leadership when Jim Callaghan stepped down in 1980.
In 1974, Goodman served his own spell in politics when the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, asked him to become head of the Government's counter-inflation publicity unit, but it was not entirely suited to him. He much preferred his fellowship at Nuffield College, Oxford, which he spent writing a biography of Frank Cousins, the leader of the Transport and General Workers' Union. Wilson offered Goodman a peerage but he preferred to go back to the Mirror as assistant editor.
When Robert Maxwell bought the Mirror in 1984, Goodman struggled to adjust and spent an awkward two years until he retired, although he did win a confrontation with Maxwell. The magnate had rewritten one of Goodman's columns but when the writer challenged him, Maxwell backed down and never did it again.
After retirement, Goodman founded the British Journalism Review and edited it for 13 years. He also wrote several books, including one on the miners' strike. He was appointed CBE in 1998.
He is survived by his wife Margit, their two children and grandchildren.
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