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James Cameron (journalist)

James Cameron (journalist)

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Mark James Walter Cameron (17 June 1911 – 26 January 1985) was a prominent British journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

, in whose memory the annual James Cameron Memorial Lecture is given.

Early life

Cameron was born in Battersea
Battersea is an area of the London Borough of Wandsworth, England. It is an inner-city district of South London, situated on the south side of the River Thames, 2.9 miles south-west of Charing Cross. Battersea spans from Fairfield in the west to Queenstown in the east...

, London, of Scottish parentage; his father, William Ernest Cameron, was a barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

 who wrote novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

s under the pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

 Mark Allerton. His mother was Margaret Douglas (Robertson) Cameron.


Cameron began as an office dogsbody
A dogsbody, or less commonly dog robber in the Royal Navy, is a junior officer, or more generally someone who does drudge work. A rough American equivalent would be a "gofer" or a "grunt", a "lackey", or "toady".-History:...

 with Weekly News in 1935. Having worked for Scottish newspapers and for the Daily Express
Daily Express
The Daily Express switched from broadsheet to tabloid in 1977 and was bought by the construction company Trafalgar House in the same year. Its publishing company, Beaverbrook Newspapers, was renamed Express Newspapers...

in Fleet Street
Fleet Street
Fleet Street is a street in central London, United Kingdom, named after the River Fleet, a stream that now flows underground. It was the home of the British press until the 1980s...

, he was rejected for military service in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. After the war, his experience reporting on the Bikini Atoll
Bikini Atoll
Bikini Atoll is an atoll, listed as a World Heritage Site, in the Micronesian Islands of the Pacific Ocean, part of Republic of the Marshall Islands....

 nuclear experiments turned him into a pacifist
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

 and a founding member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an anti-nuclear organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

. He continued to work for the Express until 1950, when he briefly joined Picture Post
Picture Post
Picture Post was a prominent photojournalistic magazine published in the United Kingdom from 1938 to 1957. It is considered a pioneering example of photojournalism and was an immediate success, selling 1,700,000 copies a week after only two months...

, where he and photographer Bert Hardy covered the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, winning the Missouri Pictures of the Year Award for "Inchon". Picture Post editor Sir Tom Hopkinson lost his job when he defended the pair over their Pusan U.N. atrocities coverage, as publisher Sir Edward G. Hulton opted to censor the story.

In 1952, Cameron wrote an obituary essay for the Illustrated London News
Illustrated London News
The Illustrated London News was the world's first illustrated weekly newspaper; the first issue appeared on Saturday 14 May 1842. It was published weekly until 1971 and then increasingly less frequently until publication ceased in 2003.-History:...

, The King Is Dead, about the passing of King George VI. Cameron then spent eight years with the News Chronicle
News Chronicle
The News Chronicle was a British daily newspaper. It ceased publication on 17 October 1960, being absorbed into the Daily Mail. Its offices were in Bouverie Street, off Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 8DP, England.-Daily Chronicle:...

. In 1953 he visited Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer OM was a German theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. He was born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire...

 in Lambaréné, in French Equatorial Africa
French Equatorial Africa
French Equatorial Africa or the AEF was the federation of French colonial possessions in Middle Africa, extending northwards from the Congo River to the Sahara Desert.-History:...

 (now Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

) and found flaws in the practices and attitudes of Schweitzer and his staff. This was the subject of "The Walrus and the Terrier" a BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 Afternoon Play by Christopher Ralling, broadcast on 7 April 2008.

Cameron also did illustration work, especially in his early career. Working in Scotland for D. C. Thomson
D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd
D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd, is a publishing company based in Dundee, Scotland, best known for producing The Dundee Courier, The Evening Telegraph, The Sunday Post, Oor Wullie, The Broons, The Beano, The Dandy and Commando comics...

, he drew for sensationalist items in Thomson's publications. He rebelled when asked to draw a murder of a young girl, embellishing it with excess blood and grisly detail. Called to Thomson's office, he was rebuked merely for exposing her underwear.

He was married three times, to Elma, Elizabeth and Moni; and had three children, Desmond, Elma and Fergus. Cameron's first wife, Elma, died in childbirth
Childbirth is the culmination of a human pregnancy or gestation period with the birth of one or more newborn infants from a woman's uterus...

 near the start of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


Cameron wrote two volumes of autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

: Point of Departure, a chronicle of his life, and An Indian Summer, about his relationship with India; his marriage to Moni, an Indian; and his serious car accident and near death in Calcutta.

With television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

, Cameron became a broadcaster, presenting BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 series including Cameron Country. He also wrote a radio play
Radio drama
Radio drama is a dramatized, purely acoustic performance, broadcast on radio or published on audio media, such as tape or CD. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story...

, The Pump (1973), based on his experience of open heart surgery
Open Heart Surgery
Open Heart Surgery was released on August 8, 2000 by rock band Virginwool. The band signed to Breaking/Atlantic Records after initially beginning signed to Universal Records. The album was produced and mixed by Brad Wood....

, which won a Prix Italia
Prix Italia
The Prix Italia is an international Italian television, radio-broadcasting and Website award. It was established in 1948 by RAI - Radiotelevisione Italiana in Capri...

 award in 1973. In his last years, he wrote a column for The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...


James Cameron died on 26 January 1985. He was 73.

Among his better known literary relatives are the Gighan poet the Rev Kenneth Macleod - of "Road to the Isles" fame - and the writer the Rev Dr John Urquhart Cameron
John Urquhart Cameron
John Urquhart Cameron is a distinguished academic and social reformer and a former parish minister of the Church of Scotland. He met and married the Anglo-Swedish skier Jill Sjoberg when he was a marketing executive with GlaxoSmithKline in London and they have a daughter Clare and a son...

 of St Andrews.

Books by Cameron

  • Touch of the Sun (1950)
  • Mandarin Red (1955)
  • 1914: A Portrait of the Year (1959)
  • The African Revolution (1961)
  • 1916: Year of Decision (1962)
  • Men of Our Time (1963)
  • Witness in Vietnam (1966)
  • Point of Departure (1967) ISBN 0-85362-175-6
  • What a Way to Run the Tribe (selected journalism) (1968)
  • An Indian Summer (1974) ISBN 0-14-009569-1
  • The Making of Israel (1976)
  • Wish You Were Here: The English at Play. London: Gordon Fraser, 1976. ISBN 0900406704. Introduction and commentary by Cameron, photographs by Patrick Ward
    Patrick Ward (photographer)
    Patrick Ward is a British photographer who has published collections of his own work on British and other subjects as well as working on commissions for the press.-Life and career:...

  • Yesterday's Witness (1979)
  • The Best of Cameron (1981)

James Cameron Memorial Trust Award

There is an annual James Cameron Award Ceremony in London.

Previous winners include:
  • 1994. Ed Vulliamy
    Ed Vulliamy
    Ed Vulliamy is a British journalist and writer. His mother is the children's author and illustrator Shirley Hughes and his grandfather the Liverpool store owner Thomas Hughes. He was educated at the independent University College School and at Hertford College, Oxford before becoming a journalist...

  • 1996. Maggie O'Kane
    Maggie O'Kane
    Maggie O'Kane is an award-winning Irish journalist and documentary film maker. She has been most associated with The Guardian newspaper where she was a foreign correspondent who filed graphic stories from Sarajevo while it was under siege between 1992 and 1996. She also contributed to the BBC from...

  • 2001. For consistently impartial reporting fom Israel, Suzanne Goldenberg.
  • 2002. For reporting from Africa, Chris McGreal
    Chris McGreal
    Chris McGreal is a reporter for The Guardian who frequently covers Middle East issues.-Career:McGreal started in journalism with the BBC, covering Mexico and Central America. In 1985 he moved to The Independent, and then to The Guardian in 1992...

  • 2004. For Outstanding Journalism, John Ware.
  • 2004. Special Posthumous Award, Paul Foot
    Paul Foot
    Paul Mackintosh Foot was a British investigative journalist, political campaigner, author, and long-time member of the Socialist Workers Party...

  • 2007. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
    Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
    Ghaith Abdul-Ahad is an Iraqi journalist who began working after the U.S. invasion and has written for The Guardian and Washington Post and published photographs in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Times , and other media outlets...

  • 2009. For reporting on Barack Obama
    Barack Obama
    Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

    's election, Gary Younge
    Gary Younge
    Gary Younge is a British journalist, author and broadcaster, born to immigrant parents from Barbados....


External links