Peter Preston reviewing Harold Evans' autobiography 'My Paper Chase' in the British Journalism Review makes the point that the former Sunday Times editor rose through the ranks of weekly newspapers, joined the Manchester Evening News and edited the Northern Echo in Darlington before conquering Fleet Street.
He notes that on his way up Evans spotted other talented journalists like Eric Marsden, his 19-year-old mentor on a weekly paper in Ashton, who became the Sunday Times' correspondent in Kenya and Israel.
Preston writes: "Harry didn't build his Sunday Times from a standing start. He bought 21 years of contacts and experiences in his address book when he arrived (at just 36).
"So much of that world has, indeed, vanished today. Journalism has turned into just another graduate occupation. If you're bright, with a scintillating degree in economics, say, then you won't fancy Ashton, Darlington or what little is left in Manchester.
"You may throw in a graduate year at City, Cardiff, Sheffield and the rest - but essentially you've chosen a fast-track job. The underpaid, under-regarded toilers on local weeklies and dailies are stuck on another track, and you barely ever meet them. The ladder is broken."