• Article by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

Those of us who knew Harry Smith will think the world we work in a drabber place following the sad news of his death.

Being sent to Millbank to conduct an interview or borrow the Westminster edit suite is suddenly less attractive without the prospect of a lengthy chinwag with a man who retained a deep affection for all things ITN, particularly the latest gossip.

Those too young or too recently arrived to remember his years on our reporters' desk will probably read all the warm tributes and wonder what exactly is meant by the often repeated description of Harry as "old school".

I will try to explain.

Harry came to national news the old fashioned way.

He cut his journalistic teeth in newspapers then learned his broadcast skills at BBC Scotland and STV before moving to London.

By the time he joined us he was the kind of reporter that news desks and programme editors love, experienced, unflappable and willing to turn his hand to anything while giving his audience the feeling that he was a specialist in whatever he was asked to cover.

Talk to Lincoln and the longer serving editors and they will tell you he was a dream to work with, always the most accurate measure of reporters to my mind.

Harry knew what he wanted, panic was banished from his edit suite and the job got done.

There were some mighty egos on the reporters' desk during my early years.

Harry was not one of them.

He described himself as a hack and was rightly proud to be so.

He was more interested in the people he was meeting and their stories than self-promotion.

Put his name in to our library system and you will see he met a lot of people and told a lot of stories.

Lockerbie may have been the biggest but there were so many more.

From those long ago days to the very last time I saw him at Millbank covering his Westminster patch for STV he never lost his enthusiasm for the job or that twinkle in his eye that for many of us will always be his trademark.

He was 69 but still loving it and doing it well.

The phrase old school conjures up another image of course, of old hacks gathered together at their favourite watering holes chewing the fat and swapping stories.

Harry was a leading member of the ITN version deserving the same legendary status accorded to the likes of Terry Lloyd and Lawrence McGinty.

He was excellent company, a damned good reporter and a genuinely nice man.

He will be missed.