Dog watches dog 13.05.04

One scoop, two exclusives?

The Campaign for Real Exclusives makes a welcome return this week with a familiar title in the dock.

TITLE: The People, 9 May

EXCLUSIVE CLAIM: “I dumped my husband at the reception – for my ex!”

SOURCE: Take a Break, 29 April

NOMINATED BY: John Dale, Take a Break editor

NOMINATOR’S COMMENT: “It seems silly to call it ‘exclusive’ when, according to readership data, most female People readers will already have seen it in Take a Break, which sells 200,000 more copies a week.

They should stick to encouraging soap stars to play with themselves.”


Shifting status of the humble hack

Veteran journalist Jim Brennan, who still runs his own website, is selling off his treasured collection of journalism books. One of the gems offered is this: A Jubilee History: The National Union of Journalists, by Clement J Bundock (published by the NUJ, 1957, 254 pages).

Bundock, a former general secretary, covers the union’s history from its founding, in 1907, to its 50th anniversary: “In half a century the working journalists of Britain have risen from the dubious status of sweated shabby gentility – with 25s a week as a provincial reporter’s wage – to their present position as a central link in the powerful chain of the newspaper industry…” You can view Jim’s books at bookcollection.htm


For David Henshaw, executive producer of the edition of Channel 4’s Dispatches that exposed crime and incompetence at the Royal Mail, the irony was almost unbearable when a goodwill gesture to colleagues for their hard work got the full postal treatment. He sent them thank you letters on Friday by first-class post yet by Tuesday many still hadn’t arrived.

“I’m not suggesting sabotage,” said Henshaw, “but it is rather odd.”

“The semiotics of the cover for the Regional Press Awards entry form have been taxing brains here,” says Joy Baker of the Essex Chronicle, not the only person to wonder about the artwork.

“Why grated cheese? Are the Regional Press Awards in some way cheesy? Is it hard Cheddar to those who lose? “Or is it comparing the diversity of the regional press to the diversity of the country’s cheeses – in which case, couldn’t it be seen as bias to pick a cheese which looks suspiciously like a Cheddar rather than a Gloucester or Leicester? “I think we should be told!” Art editor John Rooney, who designed the cover as part of the Food for Thought theme for this year’s awards, remains enigmatic.

“I thought it was a gouda whey of brie-nging this event to the attention of the regional press. I don’t give edam if people are stilt-on the wrong track. They must be crackers.”

(That’s enough cheese – ed. The closing date is next week.)


Why Piers loved his Harlow days

Harlow College was so jubilant about getting an “outstanding” grade in its recent Ofsted inspection that it invited one of its more unruly students back to say a word or two as its journalism department moved to a new building.

Unfortunately, Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan couldn’t make it, but Dog caught wind of an amusing letter that he sent to apologise for his absence. Reminiscing on his undisciplined college days, Morgan revealed how his main enjoyment in the journalism course was less in the words and more in the birds.

“I had a marvellous time at Harlow mainly because there were 56 people on my course and only six were male.”

A side-effect of buying The Guardian

When ski writer and magazine editor Arnie Wilson saw a TV commercial advertising a Guardian supplement, Chemical World, about possible sideeffects of beauty products, wife Vivianne made sure she bought a copy from her newsagent in West Sussex.

But once unwrapped, there was no supplement. So Arnie, unaware that there’d been a problem getting the supplement to some shops, returned to ask the newsagent to try to find a copy. On being told they hadn’t got one – and were not prepared to track one down – he said it wasn’t good enough. The owner then emerged from a store-room to tell a bemused Wilson: “I’ll give you 10 seconds to leave.” He was then physically ejected from the shop, with the manager shouting: “Out! Out!” “It was an outrageous way to treat a customer,” said Wilson. “I had been firm but not rude, and certainly not unpleasant or threatening. He treated me as if I were a drunken vagrant. The police told me that, if it is his shop, he can do more or less what he likes.”

Above: PG and The Argus on Sorted’s demise and, top, Times Online

Church on time? Er, well, sort of

Timing as Sir Roger Bannister will tell you, is everything. The Times Online exhibited its impeccable sense of the same last week when it published its latest Premier Executive feature.

Its subject was Russell Church, the “magazine publisher who’s hoping he has it all sorted”, said the standfirst. In it, the gung-ho wheeler-dealer showed his “classic entrepreneurial style” by expostulating on what it takes to be a success in consumer mags.

“I can hardly write an e-mail but I can see opportunities and markets,” he tells the Thunderer… on the same day that Press Gazette and Brighton’s Argus revealed the demise of his latest venture, teen mag Sorted. “I thrive in a no-sell, no-eat environment,” blathers Church. Unlike the journalists he left unpaid for their labours, who find themselves in a no-salary, no-eat environment.

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