PONmediaexperience Phil Sutcliffe credits Roberta Caccavello

Phil Sutcliffe, 45 years in music and NUJ

LONDON – Ten Italian high-school students had the chance to meet Phil Sutcliffe, experienced music journalist and member of The National Union of Journalists. They met at a London cafe and talked journalism, creativity, Kurt Cobain and more.

Born in 1947, Sutcliffe has had a brilliant career: his name is connected to several iconic names, rock stars he met and interviewed over his forty five years as a music journalist. 

“Becoming a journalist is not simple” he warns, “and usually very chaotic.  As a young person must sell their work to several companies as a free-lance and also treat the Internet as a big work opportunity.” He warns also about the risks and the many difficulties of such a freedom-based and creative job. “Many papers and companies exploit young journalists, forcing them into unpaid internships and sacrificing good journalism in order to please the AD companies.” He is critical about the free papers: “Every piece of work has to be rightfully paid for, adverts should not rule over a journalist. News that has been paid for is usually more accurate and closer to the truth.”

He was far from being the cold-hearted luminary everybody expected. He was very natural and friendly.  The meeting felt more like a conversation than a lesson. What impresses the most is Sutcliffe’s empathy and his extraordinary ability to get into people’s hearts. He talks about Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, who Sutcliffe interviewed 6 months before his suicide. “He had the pain of life in his stomach” he says “nothing medical”. This empathy is what makes him a truly great personality in journalism, and one of the most inspiring men you could meet.

Annamaria Sambrini, Alessandra Cocorullo

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