At a time when negotiations over the future of press regulation are still finely balanced, it fell to Times executive editor Roger Alton to say what everyone on Fleet Street was secretly thinking this week.
Picking up the daily newspaper of the year prize at the London Press Club awards, Rog socked it to the press reform lobby in his own inimitable style.
“Thanks to the London Press Club for standing by the British press and celebrating its excellence at a time when it’s under some ferocious attack from an unruly collection of clapped-out hackademics, coked-up celebrities, loved-up lawyers, vengeful politicians and….[applause, cries of ‘well-said Rog’]
“They are bastards one and all and it's good that the London Press Club celebrates the best in the British press.”
Times editor James Harding was effectively sacked at the end of last year by Rupert Murdoch despite producing a paper which also received newspaper of the year at the Press Awards for 2012.
Alton said the award is for “about 400 people” but he paid particular tribute to Harding and to deputy editor Keith Blackmore, who he noted was responsible for the eye-catching series of picture-led cover wraps The Times produced during the Olympics.
Alton also paid tribute to The Times’ much praised and missed foreign editor Richard Beeston.
“The great strength of the times for hundreds of years has been its foreign coverage….Richard passed away on Sunday at the age of 50. Anyone who knows him will miss him dearly, this award is very much for Beest.”