Back Issues 04.12.03

WHAT NO REINDEER?

Birmingham Post editor Nigel Hastilow came under fire from MPs for running stories claiming Birmingham City Council had downgraded the significance of Christmas as a Christian festival. The Post had reported that Santa, reindeer, fairies, wise men and angels were omitted from the city’s Christmas lights. The MPs’ motion asked why Hastilow saw any links between Christianity, Santa Claus, reindeer and fairies. He dismissed the motion as “fatuous”.

MORE MANAGEMENT, LESS EDITING

Magazine editors were spending only just over half of their time editing because of increased management duties, according to a
survey by the British Society of Magazine Editors. It showed editors spent 58 per cent of their time editing, while 20 per cent of working hours was spent in commercial roles, such as meeting advertisers and undertaking marketing activities.

SUN FIRES UP FEUD WITH DAILY MIRROR…

It might have been the season of goodwill but there was no love lost between The Sun and Daily Mirror, as this ad in Press Gazette showed. The Sun was having a dig at Daily Mirror editor David Banks and chief executive David Montgomery after the paper had landed in hot water over its intrusive gym pictures of Princess Diana. It was also celebrating a 1.3 million circulation lead over its redtop rival.

… BUT THE MIRROR HITS BACK

A truce between The Sun and Daily Mirror broke down after The Sun published a sales graph showing plunging sales at the Mirror. In retaliation, the Mirror trashed a Sun story that claimed British builders were making a fortune rebuilding homes destroyed in the Malibu forest fires. Or as The Sun put it – “Brits make a stash out of Malibu ash”.  The Mirror claimed Brits who travelled to California to find work had their hopes dashed – there was 9 per cent unemployment and they could not work without proper accreditation.

TIME RUNS OUT FOR 40 MINUTES BBC

Two controller Michael Jackson decided to axe the award-winning flagship documentary 40 Minutes after 13 years and 300 editions to make way for a strand of single documentaries.

DI MAKES PLEA FOR PRIVACY

Royal correspondents were coming to terms with Princess Diana’s emotional announcement that she wanted to retire from public life at the end of the year. The Daily Mirror’s royal correspondent, James Whitaker, told Press Gazette: “We will be respecting her privacy. But we are a newspaper and we will be covering everything she does on a news-judgement basis.” Sir David English, chairman of the Editors’ Code Committee, said: “If she makes a public appearance we’ll report it, but we won’t be using cameras to take pictures of her on private property or in her private life. That’s a terrible intrusion.”

PHOTOGRAPHER OFF THE HOOK

Rex Features won a court battle to protect the identity of a freelance photographer who took unauthorised shots of Robert De Niro being “hanged” on the set of Frankenstein. A High Court judge rejected the call to name the freelance after his lawyers proved security on the film set had been lax.

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