Back Issues 15.05.03

OZ goes under

What a bummer, man. Under-ground magazine OZ, the pioneer of hippy journalism founded by Richard Neville in 1967, was voluntarily wound up with debts of £16,000. It had survived police raids and an obscenity trial in which Neville and Felix Dennis, now the millionaire boss of Dennis Publishing, was prosecuted. Dennis can be seen enjoying himself on the cover of Oz in winter 1973. No wonder he stayed in publishing.

Alexander the great relaxer

Cambridge Evening News features editor John Alexander was experimenting with transcendental meditation – to see if it could help relieve the stresses of daily newspaper life. He said: “Maybe, if newspaper men meditated, more of them would live to receive their pensions.”

Small is beautiful for ITN

ITN was operating the smallest outside broadcast unit of its kind in Britain. It was a two-camera video tape recording unit housed in a specially modified Range Rover chassis. The crew travelled in a Ford Transit.

Freed and deported

Journalist Peter Niesewand, who had been sentenced in Rhodesia to two years hard labour on Official Secrets charges, won an appeal. But he was then promptly deported. On his arrival in London he said he was not ashamed of anything he had done and claimed he was the victim of “a political trial”. His freedom had come at a price. In return for a one-way ticket out of Rhodesia he had to give an undertaking that he would not comment on his case or the military situation in Rhodesia. He also had to leave behind his wife Nonie and young son Oliver. Niesewand worked for The Guardian among others. Ironically, 30 years later, The Guardian’s correspondent in Harare, Andrew Meldrum, has been threatened with jail and deportation by the Mugabe regime.

Humble apology

In the US, presidential press secretary Ronald Ziegler had to eat humble pie and apologise to The Washington Post. When the paper uncovered the Watergate scandal he accused it of being guilty of the “shoddiest type of journalism”. He admitted: “I was over-enthusiastic in my comments about The Post, particularly if you look at them in the context of developments that have taken place.”

Not untrue just inoperative

Jeffrey Blyth in his Dateline America column reported that Washington correspondents were calling the US Government’s language “Nixspeak” as it was reminiscent of the Newspeak in George Orwell’s 1984. He reported that when Ziegler announced President Nixon’s about-turn on Watergate he didn’t say his previous statements were untrue. He said they were “inoperative”.

Centenary is huge relief

The Richmond & Twickenham Times celebrated its centenary with the unveiling of a series of bronze reliefs by sculptor Nicholas Dimbleby – brother of managing director David. Princess Alexandra visited the paper’s offices as part of the celebrations. She was pictured in Press Gazette being shown around by David Dimbleby and talking to reporters Ron Godfrey and Nicholas Smurthwaite.

Easy as 1-2-3 O’Leary

Easy Listening, the new-style leisure magazine incorporating Living with Stereo, featured Des O’Connor on its cover -with the coverline “How genuine is that flashing smile?” Other teasers on the cover included “How I fought and beat my drug problem” by Johnny Cash and “Our fights on and off stage” by Steve and Eydie. A reference to Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, still touring after 40 years on the road.

Advertising up 40 per cent

These were heady days for the regional evening press with advertising positively booming. According to the Financial Times, evening newspaper advertising was up by an astonishing 40 per cent.

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