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May 5, 2010updated 23 Aug 2022 7:23pm

Press Gazette May edition: Great Fleet Street eccentrics, the inside story of Operation Paywall at The Times, Reader’s Digest and the mission pension millions

By Dominic Ponsford1

The May edition of Press Gazette magazine is now with subscribers.

Here’s a taster of the six best bits from the current issue:


Colin Dunne has a hilarious look back at some of the greatest ever eccentrics from old Fleet Street: “Lots of money, lots of booze and very little work may have been commercial suicide, but it produced some amazing characters…The Mirror’s Don Walker sat in the empty Room 404 practising then guitar. He reach professional standard and went on to play the flute, tenor horn and various saxophones.”

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Peter Kirwan investigates the mystery of Reader’s Digest UK’s missing pensions millions:
“What the press release didn’t mention was how the collapse of Reader’s Digest Ltd was triggered by a £125m black hole in the pension funds set up to provide for the retirement of 1,600 current and former UK employees.”


Head of Operation Paywall at The Times Daniel Finkelstein talks candidly about working on a project which if successful could pave the way for a sustainable future for journalism:
“The success of this is absolutely critical. Everyone should want us to succeed.”

Sally Murrer‘s moving first person account about her ordeal at the hands of Thames Valley Police after she was hounded as part of a mole-hunt – and how it nearly scuppered her first novel:
“Faced with the prospect of prison, I pushed my beautiful but autistic son into a specialist residential home and my brightest and eldest daughter into a scholarship at Stowe boarding school…The police had their case and they were determined to make it fit.”pgmay_penman

The Daily Mirror’s Cudlipp Award-winning duo Penman and Sommerlad explain why they love doorstepping society’s shysters and con men at 6am in the morning and how they have seen off death threats and smear campaigns.

Penman: “I once returned from a family funeral to read a mobile phone message asking ‘did I enjoy the funeral and was I looking forward to my own?'”

Peter Sands on editorial management:

“Why, with editorial staff reduced by a fifth, do we still allow journalists to deliver filler material, recycled press releases, or boring and irrelevant institutional stories?”

Other highlights in the current issue include: an in-depth feature on the new not-for-profit Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Axegrinder on the campaign trail, a guide to freelancing in the health sector, everything you need to know to set up a publishing empire from the privacy of your own home for (almost) nothing, a summer guide to the privacy rights of the rich and famous and a guide to the latest technology tools for journalists from The Times’ Joanna Geary.

This content is only available to Press Gazette magazine subscribers (£90 a year plus a free USB stick, £40 a year for students). To subscribe, call 01858 438872, or click on this link.

To have a free look at the November edition in full (the first under our new look) click here.

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