Back Issues 24.07.03

Troubled times

Press Gazette was comparing the industrial strife in Fleet Street to the troubles in Ulster. It reported that in one week, 19 July, the national dailies had lost 3.2 million copies and the Sundays 1.8 million because of industrial action by the print unions. The magazine said: “Like most of what has been happening in Ulster, last week’s action in Fleet Street defies the sort of acceptable explanation that newspaper people are in business to provide for the rest of the public. Ulster across the Irish Sea, and Ulster, EC4 have in common the political character which the Irish object to in Government and which newspaper workers claim to object to in newspapers. In such clashes there can be no winners.”

privacy legislation

Even 30 years ago politicians were threatening the press with privacy legislation. Home Secretary Robert Carr announced in the Commons that the Government was to consider a new law to curb “harassment and pestering” by press, TV and radio. Ministers were to examine “whether the law can or should put some curb on such activity”.

Star performance

Sales of the Wolverhampton Express & Star had hit a record 244,474. Also booming was the Coventry Evening Telegraph, which for the first half of 1973 had reached a record average of 126,592.

Buerk hits London

A fresh-faced 27-year-old Michael Buerk featured in Press Gazette’s “Changing faces and changing places” column. A BBC staff reporter in Southampton, he was moving to BBC News in London. After training with Thomson’s in Cardiff, he had worked for the Daily Mail, HTV and BBC Radio Bristol.

Media outrage

There was outrage in the press after the Law Lords had overturned a decision by the Appeal Court and decided it would be contempt of court for The Sunday Times to publish an article on the Thalidomide children. Sunday Times editor Harold Evans said he regarded the judgment as “confused and regressive”. He warned: “It will put the press in a less free position than it has been for many years.”

chopper delivers colour open pics

A helicopter was used by Scotland’s Sunday Mail to ensure the paper could get chief photographer Andy Allan and colleague Andrew Hosie from Royal Troon Golf Club to the paper’s Glasgow print works at Anderston Quay. It meant their film could be processed in time for colour pictures of the British Open to appear in the next day’s Mail of the presentation of the Claret Jug to the winner – Tom Weiskopf.

great looking line-up

The panel of judges deliberating about who should win the Daily Mirror’s Supergirl beauty contest included some intellectual heavyweights. On the panel were New Statesman editor Anthony Howard, far left, with David Frost on his right. Also on the panel were Mirror northern editor Len Woodliff, Mirror gardening columnist Xenia Field and former England goalkeeper Gordon Banks.

Watts scandalised

Sunday Express columnist Michael Watts had written to Press Gazette about a new Waddington board game called Ulcers – which claimed to provide “all the excitement, the nerve-wrecking decisions you’d face setting up a business in real life”. Watts noted that one square on the board was labelled “Scandal” and demanded “pay £25,000 to keep your name out of the papers”. Watts asked: “Is this not a gross libel on newspapermen? Or have I just been missing out?”

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