Back Issues 06.03.03

No Pity for City

The Sunday Times caused outrage on Merseyside after describing Liverpool as “self-pity city” in the wake of the James Bulger killing.

The Liverpool Echo took exception to the article by Jonathan Margolis. Echo editor John Griffith hit back with a full-page piece in which he claimed: “Writing Merseyside off as some sort of national freak is a favourite ploy of the London chattering classes.

“Using the aftermath of a terrible family tragedy to portray a caring community as ‘self-pity city’ is a no-risk strategy for the pundits who take a day trip from Euston to Liverpool.”

Foot puts the boot in

Paul Foot’s days at the Daily Mirror were numbered after his column, which referred to the large-scale sackings of Mirror journalists by chief executive David Montgomery, was pulled by editor David Banks. Foot told Press Gazette: “With colleagues being sacked every day in the most relentless way, it is no longer possible to be a campaigner in the Daily Mirror.”

‘Obsession’ for Murdoch

Greg Dyke, then chairman of GMTV, had fallen out with Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil. Dyke claimed that references to Rupert Murdoch had been cut from his letter complaining about an article attacking the Independent Television Commission for giving GMTV a licence.

One of the cut pars claimed: “A cynic might say that article was simply the Murdoch organisation using one of its newspapers to attempt to destabilise the regulator to benefit Murdoch’s television interests.” Neil replied: “I cut it myself because I’m not publishing irrelevant gratuitous abuse. Greg Dyke is obsessed with Murdoch.”

It’s a Tough move

IPC launched a challenger into the listings market, TV and Satellite Week, under editor Colin Tough and a team of 16 journalists. The magazine now has a circulation of 247,507 and Tough is editor of What’s on TV, the country’s top selling weekly.

O’Loan gets sky first

Sky News was belatedly honoured by the Royal Television Society when head of news John O’Loan picked up the judges’ award. In the past, Sky News had left the awards ceremony empty handed, leading to accusations that the satellite station was being blackballed by the RTS.

Time to say goodbye

Ray Fitzwalter, the man whose name was synonymous with Granada’s high-profile current affairs programme World in Action, left the company after 20 years.

His departure prompted fears that Fitzwalter’s brand of serious, contentious journalism was at odds with the direction Granada and World in Action was taking.

Party support

Labour leader John Smith had pledged that his party would support unions fighting derecognition at Reed Business Publishing. Smith, speaking at a rally called by the NUJ and other unions, said he was prepared to take up the matter personally with Reed management.

And the winner is…

The Daily Star came up with a plan to give a cash bonus to the unsung heroes of the national press – news agency reporters.

Star news editor Graham Jones announced that the paper would award a £250 bonus for the best news agency story of the month and name the reporter as the Daily Star’s agency reporter of the month.

The move was welcomed by news agencies involved in a row over rates with The Sun.

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