Back Issues 03.06.05

JUNE 1995
News editor interviews siege man

Hull Daily Mail news editor Michelle Lalor was called in by police
to end a siege drama after a mother and her daughter were taken hostage
by a convicted kidnapper. Lalor was contacted by police when
hostagetaker Steven Wood demanded an interview so that he could tell
his side of the story. She was briefed by specially trained negotiators
before conducting the interview by phone link to the house where the
women had been held hostage for five days. The interview was carried on
the front page of the Hull Daily Mail. Lalor said: “The police just
told me, ‘be yourself’. I was very nervous at first but once I was on
the phone it was very much like any interview with someone who feels
they want to put his point of view.” The siege ended peacefully. Lalor
is now editor of the Grimsby Telegraph.

Hoaxer released from jail

Journalists breathed a sigh of relief when notorious hoaxer Barry
Gray was jailed for two years. But their celebrations were cut short
when he was released almost immediately because he had spent two years
in a French jail awaiting extradition. Southwark Crown Court heard that
Gray – more usually known as Joe Flynn – had used a string of aliases
and accents to hoodwink journalists with bogus stories. The fake
stories often involved arms dealing or complicated industrial stories.
It was claimed that Gray once conned one of Rupert Murdoch’s papers by
pretending he had the shoes of murdered US union boss Jimmy Hoffa – and
was paid for them. He pleaded guilty to nine deception charges.

That’s Life! launched as rival to IPC’s Eva

Bauer was about to launch That’s Life!, seen as a rival to IPC’s
recently launched Eva. The editor had been revealed as Janice Turner,
former women’s editor of The Sun. Bauer was hopeful That’s Life! would
increase its share of the market and not undermine its hugely
successful Take A Break. Latest ABC figures show That’s Life! with
sales of 600,000 and Take A Break with 1.2 million.

Oz publisher sues Spectator

Dennis Publishing founder Felix Dennis was suing The Spectator over
an article by Judge Michael Argyle, who had sentenced him to jail for
nine months in the famous Oz magazine obscenity trial.

Dennis, who spent a weekend in jail before being freed after winning
an appeal, objected to allegations made by the judge about him and had
engaged the fearsome George Carmen to fight his libel case. During the
Oz trial Judge Argyle had referred to Dennis as “very much less
intelligent” than his co-defenders Richard Neville and Jim Anderson.
Dennis subsequently went on to become a multi-millionaire publisher
included in the list of Britain’s top 100 richest men.

Readers say ‘send us another set’

picture of a fox cub and a baby badger at a wildlife centre near
Cheltenham was a massive hit with readers of the Gloucestershire Echo.

Orders had topped £1,000 making it the paper’s best-selling print in its history. It was taken by a trainee, Rob Lacey.

Protest over Dog’s ‘gross distortion’

was taken to task in the Letters page after running an item saying
three Daily Telegraph journalists had qualified for free pub T-shirts,
at 15 pints a time, in one lunch hour. Telegraph news editor David
Sapstead wrote this was “a gross distortion”. He protested: “Having
personally investigated the matter, I would like to state categorically
that they were not T-shirts at all, but polo jerseys.”

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