Back Issues 03.03.06

M A R C H 1 9 9 1

Mavericks got Kuwait scoops In the dying days of the first Gulf war, it was the maverick journalists that operated outside the MoD pool system who got the scoops on the liberation of Kuwait.

Pool copy was so delayed and the official Media Response Teams so far behind the action that independent journalists made all the running. They included Sky’s Christopher Morris and ITN’s Sandy Gall.

Nigel Wade, the foreign editor of The Telegraph, fumed: "The MRT is a busted flush. Next time the ballot will be for those lucky enough not to be in the pool."

Suspended for not paying poll tax Two regional reporters had been suspended by their editor for failing to pay their poll tax. The move by Clive Hutchby at the Chronicle and Echo, Northampton, highlighted the issue of how much a journalist’s private life should impinge on their working life.

Hutchby defended the suspensions and told Press Gazette: "Every journalist should be seen to be impartial and objective in everything they do and should never allow themselves to be put in a position where their impartiality could be questioned by readers." The NUJ chapel responded: "We think the suspensions are ludicrous and we are concerned about the implications. What if the company finds a journalist hasn’t paid his electricity bill? Does that mean he won’t be able to write about electricity privatisation?"

Roy out after Maxwell row Roy Greenslade had parted company with the Daily Mirror after editing the paper for 14 months. The last in a long line of rows with proprietor Robert Maxwell was said to be the reason behind Greenslade going.

It centred on the fact that Greenslade and his features team had been working on a TV supplement — only to find that Maxwell had farmed out the job to a contract publisher without telling them. Maxwell was also said to have rung the night desk several times to demand changes to the front page. Maxwell later claimed Greenslade had to go because of a "pessimistic" interview in Press Gazette when he talked about the trend of falling sales for the popular tabloids, like the Mirror. His prediction that the red-tops would not recover their glory days of massive circulations has proved to be accurate.

Proud moment for Steven The Mail on Sunday’s battle to reverse the legal gag on the press covering the Rochdale satanic child abuse case was vindicated. A High Court judge allowed 10 children who had wrongly been taken into care to be allowed back to their families and criticised the social workers involved in the case. The MoS took up the cudgels on behalf of the children when, said editor Stewart Steven, they were allowed neither to speak to the media nor anyone who could help them. The fact that the paper mounted a successful legal campaign against gagging orders meant it could highlight the case. Steven added: "We feel this is one of the proudest occasions in the history of the MoS."

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