Rudolph Giuliani may have been New York’s hero mayor. He may have earned Time’s Man of the Year award and even an honourary knighthood from the Queen. But most New York journalists were not unhappy to see his tenure end. Journalistically, his regime was the "worst in 50 years", declared Gabe Pressman, chairman of the NY Press Club’s Freedom of the Press Committee. Under Giuliani, the city police, whenever there was a news event , set up "pens" to control journalists. And the shield-shaped NYPD press pass became, in Pressman’s view, the mark of Cain. The worst period was after the World Trade Center disaster when for weeks legitimate journalists were kept well away from the scene, TV stations had to rely on videotape provided by the authorities, and newspapers had to make do with pictures shot by Government photographers. Any journalist who tried to break through the barriers risked having their press ID yanked from around their neck. Worse, no city officials were supposed to talk to journalists without the mayor’s approval. Since Giuliani’s exit, reporters say access to the new mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and city officials is a lot easier.
British newsman Andrew Sullivan, who writes often about the ethics of journalism, has come under fire from The Wall Street Journal for allegedly being unethical. For the WSJ, he wrote a piece analysing what went wrong with Talk magazine. A fine piece, said the WSJ. But then, without asking, he resold the same piece to the London Times, which didn’t even give the WSJ credit, the paper complains. Sullivan’s explanation, according to the WSJ, was that he didn’t think the paper had international publication rights. To which the Journal points out that it publishes a European edition, which is distributed in London. "Leaving aside the fine points of copyright law, Mr Sullivan’s behaviour may not have been ‘unethical’ but it wasn’t very nice," editorialised the Journal.
Tina Brown’s side-kick, Talk publisher Ron Galotti, has found a new job. Galotti – said to be the person on whom the character Big in Sex and the City is based – is rejoining Cond Nast for the third time. He has been rehired to be publisher of GQ. Of Talk’s closure, all he would say was: "The trip was wonderfully interesting. But it’s nice to come home." No one is blaming him, but many writers and photographers are up in arms at not being paid work commissioned by Talk which will now never been published. They are complaining officially to the National Writers’ Union.
A joke published in US Maxim has upset animal lovers. The joke was: How do you make a cat go woof? Douse it with gasoline and toss it into a fireplace. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has filed an official protest. It’s not, they claimed, the first time the magazine has run anti-animal jokes. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has written to Felix Dennis urging him politely to: "Give us sex humour, not sick humour". The organisations are considering calling for a boycott of Maxim.
The latest Wall Street Journal style book reveals that for many years the words "buck", "shift" and "shot" were banned from the newspaper because of fears that, through a slip of the finger, a typesetter might – by accident or design – turn the words into something vulgar.