Dog watches dog 09.12.04

‘IronMan’Macgives IrishSunjournalists a fright’

Hacks on the Irish edition of The Sun, already nervous about the
arrival of Craig Mackenzie (officially described as a “consultant” but
widely rumoured to be “Oirish editor-in-waiting”), were left trembling
after doing an internet search and finding an Australian paper
described him as “The Iron Man”.

The Melbourne Sun Herald gushed: “With little left to conquer on the
local short course triathlon scene, Craig will turn his ambitions to
the gruelling ironman event. The 31-year-old, who has recently finished
an osteopathy degree…”

Fortunately, the age gave the game away. Closer inspection revealed
they were actually talking about super-fit athlete Craig McKenzie,
rather than the 55-year-old Craig Mackenzie, who, while not exactly a
track and field star, did once, it is rumoured, have athlete’s foot.

But then the confusion is understandable. When the great man called
in to pay his respects to Sun editor Rebekah Wade at Fortress Wapping
this week security men signed him in as “Mr Macenzie”.

Difficulty in spelling his name could be one reason why Mackenzie
ordered staff on the Irish Mirror , where he worked before being made
redundant in August, to address him as “Maximus”.

However, it is unclear whether this was after Magnus Maximus, Roman
Emperor of the West who ruled for five short before meeting a sticky
end – or the Roman general Fabius Maximus, whose tactics against
Hannibal won him the rather unfortunate nickname of “Cunctator”.

Sear makes a pointed exit

A curious sort of journalists’ spike was handed to retiring managing
editor Lawrie Sear as a memento by the Daily Mail on Tuesday. It looked
more like the top of a park railing.

And thereby hangs a tale.

Earlier this year, Sear was cycling home through Kensington Gardens.
It was late and when he reached the far side he found the gates locked.

He heaved his bike over the railings and, attempting to follow,
slipped and ended hanging upside down with both legs impaled on the
railings. The profusely bleeding Sear was rescued by another cyclist
-and lives to enjoy a move to Italy after 11 years with the Mail.

Dog’s picture – from Sear’s early days as a reporter on the
Cambridge Evening News- shows that it really was an accident waiting to

? Apparently, editor-in-chief Paul Dacre used to call Sear “F.C.”
Abaffled Sear once asked consultant editor John Bryant what it meant.
Bryant replied: “Father Christmas -because of your generosity with
journalists’ expenses.” Dog leaves it to his readers’ creativity to
work out the real nickname.


Love is in the air–but not in this town

When the Mid Sussex Times ran a story about an Argentinian couple
who planned to travel half way around the world to Haywards Heath for
their honeymoon in February, one Dog fan found it somewhat implausible.

The sceptic headed for the internet, and discovered a couple of
points that the reporter had failed to take into account. One was that
Gaston Lenzken, from Buenos Aires, had actually contacted East Sussex
council for information about Rye-a considerably more romantic
destination on the coast, and many miles from Haywards Heath.

The second was that Mr Lenzken was not necessarily a visitor that Sussex might want to welcome anyway.

His only other web entry shows him to be a lap-dance club owner who enjoys “happy cigarettes”.


Trinity bottles out of bonus

Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey said last year she was
unafraid to tackle the “sacred cow” of editorial costs. But if the
sacred cow has a sacred udder it is the annual bottle of wine
traditionally dished out to grateful journalists at Christmas.

So there is a distinct lack of Christmas cheer at Trinity Mirror
North Wales and North West this week after staff were told the bottle
and a £5 contribution to the cost of a festive meal had been stopped.

But this hasn’t stopped a soberly worded petition from doing the
rounds at the offices of the Cheshire Chronicle series titles
registering protest at the decision: “This has been available to us for
ten years and we are mystified at the decision to withdraw what was, by
any other company’s standards, a modest way to reward over-worked staff.

“…we’ve been told that one of the reasons for this is that NW2
have arranged for a staff disco in Liverpool – local staff from
Cheshire and Flintshire have been invited to attend. Putting aside the
fact it would be necessary to pay for accommodation for any such
function, there’s a £5 entry fee to the party.”

A Trinity spokesman said: “The North West is holding a bash for
staff across the entire region and the potential number of party-goers
is pretty huge. The employee forum, which organises the party,
suggested that staff buy tickets so they could keep track of numbers
and plough the extra cash back into more food and drink on the night.
The company is heavily subsidising the party, and the ticket entitles
each member of staff to free transport, entertainment, food and drinks”

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