To say [Amol Rajan, new editor of The Independent,] was “green” hardly covers it. After one month on the news desk he was sent to Portugal when Madeline McCann’s parents had been arrested. He was tasked with filing a 600 word descriptive feature, a “colour piece”, from Praia da Luz. “[News editor] Pete Victor phoned back,” he recalls. “He said ‘about this colour piece? I like the intro, I like the payoff, it’s all very nice, but what the fuck is with all these references to the magenta sky, the lilac walls and the terracotta brickwork?’… I thought I had written a colour piece – I didn’t know what one was.”

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