Back Issues 14.08.03


The trend towards recruiting graduates into journalism was beginning. The Thomson Organisation reported that 800 undergraduates had applied for 35 places on its training scheme. Asked why Thomson’s was recruiting graduates, a company executive said: “It is demonstrable that, the better educated a man is, the more depth and breadth he will have, and the more effective a newspaperman he will make.”


 The Press Council rejected complaints by an MP against the Sunday Express for running articles based on the memoirs of Kim Philby, who spied for Russia while working for the British secret service. Editor John Junor said the complaints were “so muddled and confused as to be almost incomprehensible”.  He said the memoirs had been published around the world and, in the rhetorical style of his column, asked: “Would it not put Britain into an even worse light if it were thought it was not safe for the British to read them?” The council heard the memoirs had been bought by France’s Paris Match and no payment would go direct to Philby.


Daily Sketch photographer Monty Fresco looked the part with his half-plate camera, Norfolk jacket and straw boater when he joined the cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at Pinewood Studios.


The big news story was the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet troops on 21 August. The news was broken by Associated Press journalist Peter Rehak in a bulletin that was flashed to Fleet Street at 2.09am.  Press Gazette reported that Rehak was getting ready for bed when he tuned into a 2am broadcast by Prague Radio. He heard the announcer say Russian troops had crossed the border. Rehak ran to his hotel’s telex machine. Nine minutes later the bulletin reached London and Fleet Street sprang into action. The Daily Express ran latest of all the nationals, until 5.58am, having printed 500,000 copies. Eight editions – a record total outside a General Election night – were published. The Express’s Denis Blewett was on the spot and the only name to appear with a Prague dateline above the dawn splash.


The rise of the publisher was noted by in a story about the reorganisation of IPC by the chairman Arnold Quick. “On the North American pattern,” each title was to have its own publisher, to take full responsibility for the profits and loss as well as co-ordinating all aspects of its publication. Asked if the move would reduce the power of editors, Quick replied: “Not at all. I think the appointment of publishers will allow the editorial people to take decisions faster.”


Lively Lady, the yacht Sir Alec Rose sailed single-handed around the world, had drawn more than 400,000 visitors when it was put on show by the Daily Mirror in Holborn Circus. Press Gazette suggested a new traffic-stopper might be on its way. Mirror journalists Marjorie Proops and Felicity Green were planning to use a tandem bicycle in the eventof a bus strike. Proops was to be at the front when using her cigarette holder, as a fire precaution.


The Moscow office of Time magazine was expected to reopen in September, with Jerrold Shecter as bureau chief. The office had been closed two and a half years earlier after a deterioration in relations between the magazine and the Russian authorities. Following a meeting between Time Publications editor-in-chief Hedley Donovan and Prime Minister Kosygin the atmosphere improved, though the five pages which Life later devoted to the Russian PM’s point of view may have had much to do with the improvement.


Jon Slattery

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