Back Issues 04.11.05

Disaster for US media
America’s television news networks were
left red-faced after wrongly calling the US election that saw George
Bush take the presidency. Just two hours after they announced that
Florida had been won by Democrat candidate Al Gore in the knife-edge
election, CBS and then CNN made retractions and said the result was too
close to call. In the end Florida was clinched by Bush, leading to
harsh criticism of the networks. Political analyst Larry Sabata was
quoted in Press Gazette saying: “This is a disaster for the US media. I
hope it will cause them to rethink what they do and how they do it.”

Desmond buys Express
Northern
& Shell boss Richard Desmond was the surprise new owner of Express
Newspapers with a knock-out bid of £125m. The OK! publisher was
predicted to up the celebrity content of the Express titles and pour
extra resources into the Daily Star. Desmond said: “The Express
newspapers represent a vital part of Britain’s press heritage and we
are proud to have their stewardship into the 21st century. We bring a
commitment to investment and a wide experience in the management of
media. N&S is committed to innovation and investing whatever it
takes.”

Randall joins the BBC
Jeff Randall had quit the
editorship of Sunday Business to join the BBC as its first business
editor. The appointment was seen as part of BBC director general Greg
Dyke’s plan to beef up business coverage. He had told the CBI
conference: “Too much of Britain’s mainstream news and current affairs
programming has ignored or failed to understand the real business
agenda.” Randall recently quit the BBC and returned to print by joining
The Daily Telegraph.

“Stale and pathetic lads’ mags make me cringe”
Ex-Loaded
editor James Brown had slammed men’s magazines as “stale, pathetic and
embarrassing”. Speaking at the PTC journalism awards, he said: “If I’d
known when I started Loaded that the men’s sector would descend into a
conveyor belt of old soap stars in bikinis, I assure you I wouldn’t
have done it. Content wise, I think the men’s sector is stale,
predictable and uninspiring. It is an embarrassment.” He also described
Loaded as “appalling” and said FHM was a “carbon copy of itself year
after year.”

Looks like a Posh exclusive
Posh Spice, aka
Victoria Beckham, brought the Emap offices in Shaftesbury Avenue,
London, to a standstill when she dropped in unexpectedly on celeb title
Looks. Posh’s sister, Louise Adams, had been taken on as a columnist
and brought her along when she dropped into the Looks office to check
her copy. One staffer said: “The whole office went into a riot. Suits
we had never seen before came running down the stairs asking for a copy
of Looks and making subtle enquiries about jpegs. Even the editor of
New Woman came in and tried to poach her for an interview.” Posh posed
for one picture – with work experience girl Fleur Askey – but refused
all others, claiming her hair was “a mess”.

Punch loses first human rights test
Editor
James Steen and Punch were fined £25,000 in the High Court for contempt
of court for publishing an article by ex-MI5 agent David Shayler. Steen
argued he had a right of freedom of expression under the new Human
Rights Act, but the court ruled the Government’s right to protect its
interests took precedence.

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