Tell us a little bit about what makes you, you….
I think it’s my passion that sets me apart. If my heart is in something and I truly believe in it then I’ll run through brick walls to achieve it. While I like to plan and carefully weigh up the pros and cons I’m also prepared to take a risk and trust my judgment. If I instinctively feel that something is right I’ll go for it. That instinct has served me well so far. While not everything I’ve done has been a success I don’t have any regrets. Sure, there’s things I would have done differently with hindsight but I’d have still taken the big decisions knowing what I know now.
It’s certainly true that you’re more likely to regret not doing something and thinking ‘what if?’ than taking a risk and going for it.
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever said?
I was very shy growing up and even being asked a question would turn me bright red. In a French class in high school the teacher asked: “Can you repeat that phrase, Martin?”
I gulped and repeated the phrase only for my classmates to burst out laughing. Turns out the teacher had said: “Can you repeat that phrase, Martine?”
Martine was the French teaching assistant helping us Yorkshire kids with our Gallic pronunciation. Tres rouge I was!
Where is your favourite place to be?
I’m a lifelong Leeds United fan so Elland Road would do nicely or, failing that, I’d be on a racecourse watching my horse run. I’ve had small shares in syndicate racehorses with North Yorkshire trainer Tim Easterby since the late 1990s. It’s a great sport.
What career did you want to pursue as a child?
As a child it was a farmer then a policeman. From the age of 14 the only thing I wanted to be was a journalist. I was a trainee reporter on a local paper at the age of 18.
The people of Yorkshire recognise you as a trusted journalist, why do you think that is?
It’s kind of you to say so but that’s a bit of a sweeping statement! I’m just a humble hack who tried to make a difference by getting people’s voices heard by those in authority. When people trust me with their story I want to tell it how they want it to be told. I’m writing it as something for them to be proud of. It’s not about me. I’m just a storyteller.
Why did you decide to get into PR?
Journalism and PR are two sides of the same coin. I want to tell great stories that move people into action.
What has been your greatest achievement career-wise?
Running my own business – twice. I’d always wanted to run my own newspaper and I got the chance to do that. We employed up to 20 people at one point and that’s a privilege and a responsibility I would never take lightly.
Training young reporters and turning them into senior journalists. My first trainee at the newspaper went on to work for the nationals and run his own business. He still insists on calling me “boss” when our paths cross on social media. And, before you ask, no I didn’t insist on him calling me boss back then either!