The best and worst of times - Press Gazette

The best and worst of times

The Boxing Day
Tsunami remains top of the news agenda in the early days of January –
the NUJ sets up a special assistance fund with the IFJ to help media
workers. Paul Dacre is named editors’ editor by a MORI poll of 30
national, regional and broadcast editors, and confirms his position as
best-paid editor in Fleet Street. BBC2’s Newsnight and rolling news
channel CNN both celebrate 25 years of broadcasting. Prince Charles’s
press secretary Paddy Harverson apologises to The Sun after mistakenly
giving Prince Harry’s exclusive apology for wearing a Nazi uniform at a
fancy dress party to the Daily Mirror.

Tory MP Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine win libel damages of
£100,000 following PR Max Clifford’s comments about alleged sexual
offences. The Publican is sold for £21m, starting the break-up of
former Press Gazette owner, Quantum Business Media. Scottish
parliamentary standards commissioner launches a formal investigation
into links between First Minister Jack McConnell and BBC Newsnight
presenter Kirsty Wark. Fugitive film director Roman Polanski wins his
bid to avoid travelling to the UK to give evidence in a libel action
against Vanity Fair.

director general Mark Thompson announces that 400 jobs are to be cut at
BBC News and 735 in the BBC Nations and Regions. Andrew Gilligan
rejects claims made in a Channel 4 film that he falsified notes long
after meeting weapons inspector David Kelly. The High Court gives
permanent anonymity to Maxine Carr. IPC’s Nuts changes its publication
date to Tuesday, to publish ahead of Zoo.Daily Mirror editor Richard
Wallace clashes with Bob Geldof at the British Press Awards over the
singer’s remarks about coverage of Africa. News of the World wins
newspaper of the year for the first time.

Alin Turcu sues the News of the World over allegations he was the
“surveillance expert” in the plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham, but a
judge later rejects claims that the NoW set up the gang member. Kofi
Annan’s son, Kojo, sues The Sunday Times over a story claiming he
admitted oil dealing.NoW drops its two annual scholarships on City
University’s journalism courses in protest at the “anti-tabloid” views
of its professor, Roy Greenslade.The world’s media gather in Rome as
the Pope dies and TV companies put into action a broadcasting operation
that had been planned for years. The Sunday Telegraph’s Toby Harnden
and Julian Simmonds are freed after proving they were tourists and not
“practising journalism without accreditation”in Zimbabwe.

May The
Periodical Publishers Association opposes proposals by the Office of
Fair Trading (OFT) to open up the magazine distribution system to
competition and do away with vertical agreements. NUJ members protest
against low wages in the regional press outside the Newspaper Society’s
AGM at the Savoy. The Today programme and Newsnight are forced off air
as BBC staff go on strike, protesting against job cuts. The Daily
Mirror’s lawyers claim damages awarded to model Naomi Campbell are a
restriction on freedom of speech.

June George
Ayling wins £100,000 plus costs after the Sunday Mirror falsely
identifies him as “lotto rapist” Iorworth Hoare. Sir Bob Geldof admits
he made a “stupid mistake” when he berated journalists at the British
Press Awards. Piers Morgan and Matthew Freud buy Press Gazette. The
Guardian, BBC, ITN, Reuters, ITV and Associated Newspapers resist
Police Complaints Commission demands to hand over footage of 2004’s pro
fox-hunting demonstration in Parliament Square.

The Evening
Standard calls for change in the ABC figures to allow copies of its
Lite edition, launched in December 2004, to be included with its
paid-for figures. The Michael Jackson trial reaches its live
conclusion; an audience of eight million watch it on BBC’s Ten O’clock

organisations throw all their resources into reporting the London
bombings on 7 July. Citizen journalists come to the fore providing the
first pictures of the attacks using mobile phones. Trainee Guardian
reporter Dilpazier Aslam is sacked because of his membership of Muslim
political group Hizb ut-Tahrir. There is anger at Archant as production
problems prevent five of the company’s newspapers being published
following London’s successful Olympic bid. The BBC announces it is to
launch a virtual college of journalism in response to the Neil Report.

Jonathan King complains to the PCC about NoW headline “Pervert in the Park”.

7/7 fall-out continues as the BBC defies police requests not to
broadcast pictures of four men charged with the bombings. ITV News buys
exclusive video pictures of the surrender of two London bomb suspects
in Birmingham, and secures secret documents from the investigation into
the 22 July shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. Express Newspapers
pays a six-figure sum to former Daily Express executive editor Ted
Young, who claimed Richard Desmond jabbed him in the stomach.The
Samaritans criticise the media after pictures of Pete Doherty cutting
himself are published in the News of the World.

The Guardian finally unveils the Berliner and sales rocket by 40 per cent.

reporters protest after Tony Blair slates their news coverage of
Hurricane Katrina as ‘out of touch’. Ken Livingstone is called to
appear before the Adjudication Panel for England after his
“concentration camp guard” comment to Evening Standard reporter Oliver
Finegold. ITV celebrates its 50th anniversary. BBC Radio 4 Today
presenter John Humphrys is rapped by BBC bosses after Downing Street PR
consultant Tim Allan leaks a videotape of his after-dinner speech
comments of “all ministers are liars”. Former ABC correspondent Richard
Gizbert tells an employment tribunal his contract was not renewed by
the company because he refused to report form Iraq.

Gaunt leaves BBC Coventry and Warwickshire to join The Sun, but
describes as ‘ridiculous’ the BBC’s decision to axe him. Sly Bailey is
dubbed “Sly the Slasher” after Trinity Mirror “cancels Xmas” and it
emerges that up to 8 per cent of the labour force on its national daily
and Sunday titles are under threat. Rory Carroll, the Guardian’s
Baghdad correspondent, is kidnapped, but insists on his release that
journalists must keep reporting from Iraq. Zoo magazine is criticised
by the Advertising Standards Authority over its “Win a Boob Job for
Your Girlfriend” competition. Journalists reporting on the Pakistan
earthquake say that doing so is even more difficult than covering the
Asian Tsunami. BBC director of nations and regions Pat Loughrey’s
promise to share the results of its local television pilot scheme in
the West Midlands and form “partnerships”with local newspapers is
interpreted as an olive branch to the regional press.

November French broadcasters claim UK coverage of the Paris riots is “over the top”.

Blunkett resigns as pensions secretary and is given a column in The
Sun.The paper’s editor Rebekah Wade spends a night in police cells
after a fight with husband Ross Kemp. MPs call for PCC chairman Sir
Christopher Meyer to resign following the publication of his memoir DC
Confidential. The Sunday Telegraph relaunches with a woman-friendly
supplement, Stella. Rupert Murdoch gives his first interview for five
years in the British press as part of Press Gazette’s 40th anniversary.

December Daily
Mail and General Trust puts the Northcliffe group up for sale, while
plans for job cuts among journalists go ahead. GMG closes Manchester’s
City Life listings magazine after 22 years. Former City Slickers James
Hipwell and Anil Bhoyrul are convicted or share tipping when they were
working for the Daily Mirror. An ITV board meeting delays a final
decision on the future of the ITV News Channel until the New Year. A
massive press pack gathers outside Cromwell Hospital, London, before
George Best’s death. The Belfast Telegraph produces 35,000 copies of a
standalone supplement in tribute.Former Daily Telegraph owner, Conrad
Black, denies 11 charges of fraud linked to media empire Hollinger

Movers and shakers


Upshon announced his departure as controller of news at ITV Central.
Roger Mosey went to BBC Sport and was replaced by Peter Horrocks as
head of TV news in September. His job as head of the BBC’s current
affairs was given to George Entwistle. Vin Ray was named the first
director of the BBC’s College of Journalism.

National newspapers

Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson was replaced by Saturday
edition editor Sarah Sands in June. John Bryant’s appointment as
Telegraph Group editor-in-chief preceded Martin Newland’s resignation
as editor in November. Andrew Gowers also resigned as editor of the FT.
Defections included: Simon Jenkins, who left The Times for The
Guardian; Roy Greenslade who left that paper for the Telegraph; Richard
Ingrams who quit The Observer for The Independent and Richard
Littlejohn who, after resistance from Sun editor Rebekah Wade, joined
the Daily Mail.


Former Loaded editor Scott Manson went to BA’s High Life – but left
before the year was out. Dawn Alford joined Tesco magazine as editor
and More editor Alison Hall quit Emap. Woman editor Carole Russell left
after 18 years and New Statesman editor Peter Wilby was replaced by
John Kampfner. Zoo editor Paul Merrill stepped up to become
international editor.


Turbulent times at Northcliffe were heralded by the departure of
five editors: David Gledhill left the Bath Chronicle then Mike Lowe
resigned from the Bristol Evening Post. Barrie Williams of the Western
Morning News did likewise, as did Terry Manners of the Western Daily
Press. Sean Dooley, The Sentinel’s editor in Stoke, announced he was
retiring. Elsewhere, Yorkshire Evening Post editor Neil Hodgkinson was
made editor of the Carlisle News & Star and Cumberland News,
replacing Keith Sutton.


A good stuffin’: PG’s Top Ten 2005 turkeys

Sunday Sport vox pop that includes someone called “Nicola Alder” is
accompanied by a picture purporting to be Nicola. The photograph, it
turns out, is of a Connecticut teenager, Martha Moxley, who was beaten
to death 30 years ago.

Newsnight celebrates 25 years of broadcasting… but viewers fail to be impressed by the offer of bracelets to commemorate.

rip-off” rages the Daily Mail in a page lead about how banks and power
companies are “feeding” on their customers by taking cashback from
phone calls made to them. Meanwhile a Christopher Hitchens feature on
new books in the same edition provided a number to call to order a
copy: 0870 161 0870.

The Ottawa Citizen and Southam News
apologises to Mark Steyn. “In correcting the incorrect statements about
Mr Steyn published 15 October, we incorrectly published the incorrect
correction… Our original regrets were unacceptable and we apologize to
Mr Steyn for any distress caused by our previous apology.”

“Crap article, See inside!” Maxim tells it like it is with its July issue coverlines.

the Press Gazette Silly Season chart was a story headlined “UK
scientists peering into the skies” that not only made The Sun’s splash
on 10 August, but pages four and five too. “Victor Meldrew found in
space”. No, we didn’t believe it either.

The Clacton Gazette
fails to mind its Ps and Qs by announcing “a plague” has been dedicated
to the memory of Reverend Frank Millar.

The Sun apologises to
Julian Brooker’s family for reporting that he was blown 15ft into the
air after touching a live railway line, that he was turned into a
fireball, that he was obsessed with the number 23, that he went
drinking on that date every month, and that his mother said he often
pretended to be Gollum. All incorrect. Oh, and The Sun also attributed
witness quotes to the wrong person.

A Newcastle Evening Chronicle headline writer hits the subs’ jackpot as a “Dsylexic woman gets a PhD”.

Media Week survey claimed “55per cent of women were male, 45per cent
female, the largest proportion of whom were between the ages of 25 and



launches Pick Me Up, its new women’s weekly, at a cost of £6 million,
by giving away a record 3.5 million sample copies. Haymarket wins race
to buy Eve from the BBC.

Grazia launches with 650,000 free copies. Former
Elle editor Fiona McIntosh is at the helm. A black lifestyle magazine
called Noir is born. Archant, publisher of the Eastern Daily Press,
buys Romsey Publishing.

German publishing giant Hubert Burda Media launches its real-life title Full House! London
Line, an alternative weekly newspaper for the city’s young commuters,
is launched. It is put on hold over the summer and does not reappear.Scotland’s first pro-independence newspaper launches. Scottish Standard, a mid-market weekly, attacks the London press for its “tartanised editions”. The Daily View, a non-sectarian daily tabloid, is launched in Belfast, but is shelved within two months.

New religious tabloid, The Son, launches, with everything you would expect in a redtop tabloid, apart from a page-three girl. Rip
& Burn, Haymarket’s music download magazine, crashes and burns.
Loaded relaunches after seven months of research and £2m investment.

Housing Federation’s Housing Today closes. Shetland Weekly launches in
Scotland, but closes within a month. The weekly paid-for Archant title,
the Camden Chronicle, is replaced by a freesheet, the Camden Gazette.
Archant closes Highbury and Islington Express.

The Irish Times launches a London edition, and Inside Communication, part of Trinity Mirror, launches Communities Today.

PSP Communications launches My Child, and Paragon Publishing launches Beers of the World.

Dennis launches PokerPlayer, and A Place In the Sun Property Price Guide is launched by Brooklands Group.

Filipacchi puts up-market teen publication ELLEgirl on hold, a move
that turns out to be permanent, but launches Psychologies, aimed at
“Third Wave Women” who are prioritising their personal lives. Free
business newspaper City AM is the first newspaper to target London’s
financial ‘village’. It launches with a 50-strong editorial team. More4
goes on air.

IPC launches DVD title Uncut DVD, which aims at taking on Empire and Total Film. Stag & Groom closes. Axed Bristol Evening Post deputy Stan Szecowka launches his Bristol rival to Northcliffe weeklies.

City boys delight in the launch of Condé Nast’s Trader. The
first issue features an interview with disgraced banker Nick Leeson.
Louise and Jamie Redknapp launch a luxury football lifestyle magazine
entitled Icon. Competition from X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing
forces Piers Morgan and Amanda Platell’s eponymous Channel 4 show to
call it a day.

International unveils £10 million plans for new magazine launches in
2006, including a women’s weekly with a working title, Love It, edited
by Karen Pasquale Jones, and a new home title, Inside Out. Continental
publishing house Ahead Media announces plans for a new international
travel, lifestyle and reportage magazine, Anyway. With Alex Marasian as
editor-in-chief, it is due to launch in the spring.



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