Alumnus - Matthew Diebel (SA 1966)

23rd November 2023

Hello! I am Matthew Diebel. I thought I would update anyone who might be interested to know since I was at Solefield from 1962 until 1966, when I went on to Sevenoaks School at age 11.

After Sevenoaks, I attended the University of East Anglia, where I studied European history, before pursuing a career in journalism. This started with three years at the Sevenoaks Chronicle before I went to work at the Birmingham Post and Mail. After a year or so there, I made a big decision: to go to America, which I had visited before and had come to like.

My first job in the U.S. was on a small weekly paper in the Ozark Mountains, where I wrote, among other things, about cyclones, corruption and gun battles over illegal cannabis cultivation. Then it was on to the Boston Herald, one of the two daily papers in that city, where I stayed for eight years and rose to be assistant managing editor in charge of the Sunday paper and the features and entertainment sections.

At the end of my time there, I was loaned to TV Guide, the American equivalent of the Radio Times and TV Times, and at the time the with the largest circulation in the States. That then turned into a full position and I relocated to New York City. Following a couple of enjoyable years there, I was moved to the tabloid New York Post, famous for its headlines. I was the features editor, again in charge of entertainment and lifestyle.

Eventually, I wanted to get back into news, so in 1999 I moved to Time magazine, where I was deputy editor of its nascent website, which turned out to be a prescient move given the rise of digital journalism. However, after two years, I went back into entertainment and celebrity journalism, having been asked to become editor of People magazine's website.

Fortunately, a couple of years later I was able to get back into news when I was asked to be the home page editor at NBC News' website, a very fast-paced experience. After nine years there, I then moved to the website of America's largest newspaper, USA Today, where I once again ran the home page and worked for five years.

Now I am semi-retired and write four mornings a week for a website focussed on climate change. I also volunteer at a couple of animal shelters and have been doing some songwriting and performing at various venues around the city. You can find them if you put my name into Google: Matthew Diebel.  

Along the way -- 29 years ago -- I got married. My wife, Barbara, is executive director of one of Manhattan's biggest synagogues, having previously been a banker. We have two children -- Lydia, 24, who did psychology at university and is now doing a masters degree in social work, and George, 22, who just graduated from university and has started work in the consulting/knowledge industry, working, in fact, for a British company called AlphaSights.

That's it for now. At some stage I'd like to attend a Solefield reunion; meanwhile, I'd be happy to hear from fellow alumni and would be happy to meet up if one or more of them are in New York.