Dog watches dog 10.06.04

Post haste wins

Reagan obit race The weekend death of Ronald Reagan resulted in mad replatings and page changes in publications across the US. But the greatest frenzy was in Las Vegas where the annual international obituary writers’ conference was being held. When two delegates burst into the conference room crying “Stop the Presses!” there was an instant stampede for the one payphone in the hotel lobby. The winner was Adam Bernstein, of the Washington Post, one of the youngest delegates – he is in his thirties – who admits that on the way to the phone he pushed The Daily Telegraph reporter out of his way. He also confessed that he thought, for a moment afterwards, of putting an Out of Order sign on the phone.

Ikea: from flat pack to press pack

Dog doesn’t like to ask what a well-heeled City hack is doing combing the Ikea catalogue, but Michael Hunter has contacted the kennel to draw our attention to page 73 of the latest issue.

It features a new range of up-to-date and fetching contemporary furniture known as the “Journalist” range. He says: “As I’m sure you Croydon types are already only too well aware.”

But rumour reaches us that there has been some trouble with some of the products.

“The Times” is confusingly available in two sizes, although not in all parts of the country.

“The Independent” has shrunk.

“The Mirror” looks fine at first and then, on more careful inspection, proves to reflect the wrong image.

The “Gilligan”, although potentially impressive, doesn’t stand up properly and includes no notes on how to put it together.

“The Express” claims to be the greatest in the range, but turns out to be rubbish.

“The Mail” is expertly put together but its owners become terrified about the value of their home.

“The Sun” tends to arrive without its upper shelving surface – that is, topless.

Whoever buys “The Telegraph” has to pay well over the odds.

And the “FT”? Dull finish, but plenty of space for tables.

Dog welcomes any further additions to the range.

Commenting conundrum as MoD backtracks over SAS

Dog has some disappointing news for journalists excited by the news in last week’s Press Gazette that the MoD had relaxed its long-standing policy of “never commenting” about the SAS.

The move was agreed at a meeting of the Defence Advisory Notice committee, when the MoD revealed that two press officers would be allowed in future to give reporters guidance about the accuracy of their special forces yarns.

Keen to get the story from the horse’s mouth Press Gazette went to the MoD press office for further clarification. After several attempts its reporter finally got a response.

PG: “Could you tell me please about the changes to the special forces information policy as told to the DA-Notice committee last week”.

MoD press officer: “I’m aware there was a meeting but I can’t discuss it with you because we never comment on matters involving the special forces.”

Quite Literally a test of allegiance for NUJ veteran

The decision by NUJ members at book publisher Taylor and Francis is about to have an unforeseen knock-on effect for one of the union’s veteran members.

The publisher was due to run an advert in the forthcoming issue of The Journalist, the union’s magazine.

When news of the strike broke, editor Tim Gopsill pulled the ad – on the laudable and understandable grounds that he could hardly accept advertising cash from a company with which the union was in dispute.

Unfortunately, the advert in question was to publicise a book written by Union stalwart – and regular contributor to The Journalist – Wynford Hicks. It’s a book about punctuation and grammar called Quite Literally (did anybody mention the Lynn Truss bandwagon?).

Dog hears that Gopsill is now left wondering whether he’ll get an invite from his old friend to the book’s launch party.


Silly about Sally

War has broken out between The Sunday Telegraph’s Mandrake and Pandora, its counterpart on The Independent.

Pandora, edited by Guy Adams, had the temerity to suggest last Friday (June 4) that Mandrake, edited by Tim Walker, had missed the real reason that Prince William was dropped from the St Andrews University water polo team. The prince had, Adams asserted, “become too friendly with a lady called Sally who was coveted by another member of the team” (see above).

On Sunday, (June 6) beneath the headline ‘Aunt Sally’, Walker hit back saying that the only Sally that any journalist had been able to track down “worked in a fishmongers, wore fishnet stockings and was in her seventies”.

Now Walker tells Dog: “I’m thinking of following Piers Morgan’s example and setting up a Sally-ometer to register the number of days it takes The Independent to produce this Sally.”

The two nameless national newspaper journalists who made the mock-up paper for Mike Pearce’s farewell (known as a Spike in Kent) had already written END OF THE PEARCE SHOW before that jumped-up little squirt P Morgan spoilt it all by prompting END OF THE PIERS SHOW in various other publications.

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