Tributes are being paid across the industry following the death of long-time Daily Mail sports correspondent Mike Dickson. Here, the SJA brings you memories of Mike shared by his former colleagues…
By the SJA
Sports journalists and the wider sports media community around the world have been posting tributes to Mike Dickson, who has died at the age of 59.
The sad news was shared by his family via social media on Wednesday. Mike was in Melbourne to cover the Australian Open when he passed away suddenly.
He had been the Mail’s tennis correspondent since 2009, having previously spent eight-and-a-half years as the paper’s cricket correspondent.
In an obituary on Mail Sport headlined ‘Goodbye Mr Wimbledon’…
Dickson was a hugely respected and admired journalist who spent 38 years in the industry – 33 at the Mail having started in 1990 – and his loss will be felt deeply by colleagues.
He previously worked as the Mail’s cricket correspondent before moving over to tennis and covered 30 different sports across nearly 50 countries in total during a rich career.
SJA committee member Laura Williamson previously worked alongside Mike at the Mail. She shares her memories of him.
‘Mike was dedicated, reliable and determined’
When I think of Mike Dickson, the Daily Mail’s brilliant tennis correspondent who has passed away far too soon at the age of 59, I remember the consummate professional calling in from a far-flung corner of the world, eager to talk about the big story of the day.
If it was from the Australian Open, it would invariably be approaching the end of an incredibly long, hot day, and yet I was always struck by his clarity of thought, desire to break news and passion for his sport, of which he was fiercely protective.
That wasn’t always easy, and yet Mike managed to maintain such close relationships with so many in tennis, both on and off the court, for so long; something which speaks to the measure of the man himself.
He was in his element at Wimbledon, leading the Mail’s coverage with aplomb, keeping Charlie Sale in check, delivering beautiful, tight copy from a laptop propped up in the little booth he called his own, and yet never shying away from chasing a news line.
He loved a “little exclusive”, as he used to call them – whispering down the phone with his hand over his mouth so nobody else would hear – before proceeding to pitch for why it deserved a good show in the next day’s paper.
Mike was a fantastic journalist: dedicated, reliable and determined – the sort of correspondent who is a dream to work with and an example to follow.
He also adapted to the changing face of sports journalism like few others of his generation. Mike saw the opportunity to talk to a digital audience early on and jumped in with both feet. He was always asking questions; interested to know what worked, what didn’t and how he could get better, such was his talent and dedication to his craft.
Mike was wonderfully supportive of young reporters coming through at the Mail, encouraging and advising bright sparks and sometimes actively petitioning the desk on their behalf.
He was also an incredibly knowledgeable and generous colleague, both to those in Kensington and reporters on other publications – particularly when it came to Wimbledon fortnight. He revelled in regaling us with the weird and wonderful stories of our mad profession over a glass of wine, and was clearly so proud of his wife Lucy and his children, whom he talked about such a lot.
A cricket correspondent of esteem, Mike also excelled on golf and Olympic sports – memorably spending most of London 2012 on a shuttle bus to Eton Dorney to cover the rowing – and he always delivered something different if asked to cover an offbeat football story.
He had a wonderful, dry sense of humour too – developed from years of watching Everton, no doubt – and what he did not know about public parks (particularly Birkenhead) was not worth knowing.
It was a pleasure to have known and worked alongside him, and he will be so greatly missed in all of the spheres in which he brought so much to so many.
Laura Williamson, former Daily Mail reporter and sports news editor
Obituaries and articles
A selection of the tributes to Mike shared on social media…
“The Cricket Writers’ Club is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mike Dickson. He was a huge part of cricket journalism as a correspondent for the Daily Mail and thereafter. He will be missed by so many friends. We send all our sympathy to Lucy and his family.”
If you worked with or alongside Mike and are interested in contributing to this article of tributes, please contact the SJA here.