Back Issues 16.09.04 - Press Gazette

Back Issues 16.09.04





The BBC had announced a new line-up of presenters for its current affairs programme 24 Hours. Kenneth Allsop, David Dimbleby, Ludovic Kennedy and James Burke were to front the programme for a week at a time.


Retiring after 22 years editing the Manchester Evening News and with a cigar firmly in place, Tom Henry was pictured on the front of Press Gazette putting his last page to press. Print union rules had been relaxed to allow him “to push his first and last forme over to the mangle”. Henry was then “hammered out” by the staff in the print room, said to be one of the loudest of such ceremonies held at the MEN’s Cross Street headquarters. Henry was succeeded as editor by Brian Redhead.


In a feature called “The Giveaways”, Rupert Murdoch was sticking up for the concept of free newspapers. Murdoch, who had just purchased three free newspaper groups in Britain, was asked why he was getting into frees. “Why not?” he replied. “I think there is a
profit to be made in them. They have a service to perform for the public which is not being performed at the moment – giving local community news and local community advertising.” The papers purchased by Murdoch’s News of the World Organisation were the Blackpool Journal, the Liverpool Observer and the News Shopper series in Kent and Surrey.


And while on the subject of Rupert Murdoch, he had clinched the deal to buy The Sun at a knockdown price from IPC, owner of the Daily Mirror. The Mirror was then Britain’s biggest selling daily tabloid, a title now held by The Sun. Press Gazette reported 35 years ago: “Rupert Murdoch has The Sun – at a price which, though not as cheap as Robert Maxwell would have been asked, is still in national newspaper terms a giveaway.”


The arrival of TV cameras at sporting events was upsetting print journalists, especially when they blocked the view from the press box. Press Gazette reported how rugby league reporters protested after they found BBC cameras in the way when they tried to cover a match at Hull Kingston Rovers. Manchester Evening News rugby league reporter Jack McNamara had refused to cover the match.

“It was a matter of principle that television should not receive facilities at the expense of press representatives,” he said.


When press baron Lord Thomson found all the economy seats on a flight from Vancouver to Toronto were booked, he had to upgrade to first class. “If my staff ever find out about this, I’m sunk,” he confided to a reporter from the Canadian Press agency. “They’ll all want to travel first class.”