Axe grinder 11.11.05

Editors’ pets revealed – the seething starts EXPECT BIG bruised egos
and seething jealousy today as Axegrinder reveals the list of the
Editors’ Pets in national newspapers.

Officially, the list is described as the nominations for next month’s What The Papers Say Awards.

However,
the nominations have been devised in such a way that they have
inadvertently become a fascinating register of the editors’ favourite
goodygoodies.

In previous years, editors have been able to put
forward three journalists per category. This time round, however,
editors are only allowed to make one nomination per category.

The Columnist of the Year category should provide the most unappetising reading for those whose names don’t feature.

Mail
on Sunday editor Peter Wright, for instance, has nominated Peter
Hitchens as Columnist of the Year – so how sick will fellow MoS
columnist Suzanne Moore be feeling?

In the same category, Alan
Rusbridger has nominated Simon Jenkins. Surely, fellow Guardian
columnist Polly Toynbee will be stretching for the voodoo dolls.

In
the past, Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace would have been able to
nominate three columnists, so he could have included Tony Parsons,
Brian Reade and Jim Shelley.

Oh dear. This year he’s only allowed to pick one columnist so he’s gone for… Jim Shelley.

Sunday Telegraph editor Sarah Sands uses her single vote to show how much she adores deputy editor Matthew d’Ancona.

Other
Editors’ Pets – aka nominations for Columnist of the Year – include
Jane Moore (The Sun); Richard Stott (Sunday Mirror); Barbara Ellen (The
Observer); Deborah Orr (The Independent); and Janet Street Porter
(Independent on Sunday).

And what about the journalists who toil away producing enjoyable columns for The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph?

Their editors have nominated trumped-up politicos (but lunch companions) Michael Portillo and Boris Johnson.

There are no nominations from either the Daily Express or the Sunday Express for Columnist of the Year.

And
the same two papers haven’t nominated anyone for Reporter of the Year
or Foreign Correspondent of the Year. Therefore, Editors’ Pet must be
David Robson, nominated as Features Writer of the Year.

Lively
McKay forgets to take strides forward PETER McKAY’s birthday cake was
ablaze with more than 60 candles last time round. Yet the Daily Mail’s
Ephraim Hardcastle columnist seems to be acquiring the energy of a man
half his age.

McKay has not only taken up banjo lessons but has also bought himself a splendid Blue Bird motorbike (he has a scooter as well).

On
Fridays he takes a flight from London to Aberdeen, mounts the Blue Bird
and then zooms 70 miles to a recently acquired love nest, where he
stays until Monday.

“Ain’t life grand?” the Easy Hardcastle Rider must tell himself as he whizzes through the heather-scented wilds of Scotland.

Not so grand the other day, alas.

Arriving
at Aberdeen, McKay excitedly squeezed himself out of his corduroy
trousers and into his blue motorbike leathers and whizzed off.

Ten
miles outside Aberdeen, the wind in his hair, McKay realised that he
had left his cherished cords on railings in the airport’s car park.

“He had to call the NCP,”

Axegrinder is told, “and ask them to retrieve his trousers. It was all very embarrassing but he got them back.”

Ignore the rumours that airport staff used the garment as a massive windsock.

Stormy
Monty weathers silence IT IS not just the journalists in Berlin who
should be studying their new proprietor, David “itchy bits”

Montgomery, with interest.

The city’s taxi drivers should also be on their guard if they spot Monty standing in the strasse, waving an umbrella.

One
day Monty hailed a cab in London. But as he climbed onto the back seat,
the friendly cabbie muttered the single sentence: “It looks like rain
to me.”

Monty fidgeted uncomfortably before telling the driver: “I don’t talk.”

The journey was silent from that point on.

Yanks
think Jumbo Arthur is a hound THE CHARLES and Camilla US trip may well
have been a PR success for the happy couple, but The Sun’s royal
photographer Arthur Edwards hasn’t come out of it so well.

Edwards
is said to be “extremely upset” after being identified as the main
beast in a Washington Post feature headlined: “Hounds of British Press
Pack Are Full of Bark and Bite”.

Edwards sees himself as a friend
of the royals, so he was hurt that Paul Farhi’s piece in the Post
portrayed him as some sort of foul-mouthed Cockney.

The article described how Edwards had stepped into the White House press room, announcing: “This room is a disgrace!

I can’t believe this is how you accommodate the media. It’s a disgrace!

“.. A
few moments earlier, Edwards was discoursing about how unfair some of
his country’s media coverage has been to the royals, how inaccurate and
biased the reporting can be, when a colleague broke in. ‘Oh, he just
loves them,’ she teased playfully.

“‘Oh, [bleep] off, Jude!’ Edwards spat back, not at all playfully. ‘Or we’ll have a row right here!'”

Farhi
feels the need to reassure his readers “that Edwards is no hot-headed
kid. He’s the de facto leader of the British press pack, a man whose
work is so respected that he was made a Member of the Order of the
British Empire by Queen Elizabeth.”

A royal correspondent tells Axegrinder: “American journalists were intrigued by Arthur’s brashness.

“They were studying him with the sort of fascination reserved for the Elephant Man.”

Fact
is, Alan’s a bit whacky MEANWHILE, ALAN Hamilton “The Times of London
correspondent” had trouble finding “identifiable news”

during the Charles-Camilla US trip, according to The Washington Post.

Half-way
through the royal tour Hamilton was quoted in the paper as saying:
“Freddy Fact has not yet popped his head out of his burrow”. Whacky.

Loyal
Bogus shows support for Rebekah REBEKAH WADE’s movements last Thursday
have already been the subject of exhaustive national scrutiny.

But where was The Sun’s deputy editor Fergus “Bogus” Shanahan during his boss’s hour of need?

Shanahan was officially on holiday, but was spending the break at home.

On
the day when Wade emerged from the police cells, Shanahan did indeed
pitch up at the office – interestingly, it was not to speak to Wade
about the drama, but instead to write his column for the following
day’s paper.

“Fergus came in, listened to a bit of the gossip, sat in his office, wrote his column,” says my source.

“And then he went. It said everything you need to know about how well he gets on with Rebekah.”

Racing hack is a father of four (jockeys!)n EXPENSES STORIES are coming in.

A
particular favourite concerns the anecdote about the racing
correspondent, a father of four, who put in his claim with a restaurant
receipt attached.

The bill caught the eye of the managing editor because it included “kids’ meals x 4”.

“I was entertaining jockeys,”

explained the correspondent.

Please keep ’em coming to Axegrinder.

A thoroughly modern affair

AT
FIRST glance, they appear to be swiftly written emails sent from a
freelance journalist to a national newspaper executive, along with the
responses he has dashed off. But as you will see on closer inspection,
these 10 emails chronicle the development of a blissful relationship
between the two correspondents; him the “perfect gent”; her “the
incessant talker”.

These cyberspace notelets – currently doing
the rounds – represent a touching insight into how modern romances are
conducted. Indeed, the emails should be read by every hard-bitten
cynical journalist who reckons that romance is dead. It would be unkind
to name the two correspondents, or scatter clues. To identify them
would not only drive a dagger through their hearts but might also bring
about a dramatic and premature end to an uplifting tale of young love.

ANADIN
TIME at Heat magazine. A recent issue went on sale with a cover price
of £1.50 rather than the intended £1.55. That leaves a deficit of about
£25,000 – enough to buy three exclusive sets of snaps of topless
celebrities on beaches.

AFTER MY item about The Guardian’s Julian
Glover last week, in which I mentioned that he was the son of media
commentator Stephen Glover, Julian has emailed: “Very excited to learn
today that I have a father I have never met… I’m off home to confront
the people who have claimed to be my parents for the last 33 years…”

QUOTE OF the week came from Sean Bellew, PR man for Scottish-themed club Boisdale.

Asked
by City-Am’s Page Nine column if Boisdale’s City branch planned to sell
whisky-flavoured McCondoms in the loos, Bellew replied: “Yes, if there
is sufficient demand from members.”

AT THE risk of muttering famous last words, Rebekah Wade is extremely secure in her position as editor of The Sun.

“Rupert
[Murdoch] has a better relationship with her than any other Sun
editor,” says a senior executive at News International. “A lot of
people are saying he’ll get rid of her soon. Don’t believe it.”

STILL
NO joy at The Sunday Times, where political editor Crackers Cracknell
is scouring the universe for a deputy. The paper has now officially
“ruled out an internal candidate”

(translation: staff won’t touch the job).

Meanwhile,
there are suggestions that Crackers’ outgoing Number Two, Andrew
Porter, will be made to work his notice, even though he and the Daily
Express are keen for him to take over from Patrick O’Flynn as political
editor as soon as possible.

Rumour is Porter won’t be able to start at the Express until the New Year.

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