Back Issues 05.06.03

Jon Slattery trawls the archives to look at what was making Press Gazette headlines in 06.93

Nationals under fire

National newspapers came in for scathing criticism in the Appeal Court for their coverage of the murder trial of the Taylor sisters, who had been convicted of murdering a love rival. Lawyers acting for Michelle and Lisa Taylor claimed that media coverage of the trial had been unfair. John Nutting QC, for the Crown, agreed reporting had been “unremitting, extensive, inaccurate and misleading”. The sisters won their appeal. The Appeal Court judges were satisfied that press coverage had created “a real risk of prejudice”.

Pain brings pleasure

England’s humiliating 2-0 defeat at the hands of the USA football team caused much mirth in Scotland. Edinburgh’s Evening News couldn’t resist putting out a special souvenir to mark the event. It showed a downcast England manager Graham Taylor and jubilant US players under the headline “Stars and Tripe!” Editor Harry Roulston said: “Hearts and Hibs fans have had precious little to smile about, so this was one way of giving them an end-of-season laugh.”

Star’s MI5 allegations

New Statesman and Society editor Steve Platt was calling for an investigation into allegations published in the Daily Star that MI5 planned to murder the magazine’s chairman Duncan Campbell. The Star quoted a former MI5 agent and pilot who said he had been ordered to befriend Campbell. It was suggested he should fly him over the North Sea “and not bring him back”.

Reflecting on today’s success

Today editor Richard Stott was celebrating the best sales rise of any national – up 9.4 per cent to 550,706 year-on-year. His former paper, the Daily Mirror, was struggling with a fall of 7.5 per cent to 2,652,831. Part of Today’s success was down to Stott recruiting star columnists Anne Robinson and Alastair Campbell from the Mirror. The biggest loser was The Independent, down 11.5 per cent on the previous year.

Wheeler ‘one of the finest’

The Royal Television Society presented its Cyril Bennett award to Charles Wheeler, who was described as “one of the finest foreign correspondents the BBC ever had”.

Car title to green for market

Emap had finalised plans for the biggest launch in its history, a £10m investment in motoring weekly Car Week. It was to be printed on newsprint, similar in style to The Independent on Sunday’s ground-breaking heat-set Review section. Editor-in-chief was Gavin Green and a team of top motoring journalists had been signed up. The magazine was redesigned soon after launch, but folded after failing to overtake the established weekly rivals, Autocar and Auto Express.

Jackie hits the road

Jackie, the DC Thomson weekly for teenagers, which nursed girls through the traumas of acne and adolescence, closed. Launched in 1964, sales peaked at one million copies in 1978, but had shrunk to just 50,000.

Not so Amber nectar

The Burton Mail was launching an ingenious and more agricultural version of spot the ball. It was going to offer readers the chance to “spot the cowpat” and win £1,000. The paper said it would be running a diagram of a blank field and readers would be asked to mark where they thought Amber the cow would leave her first cowpat of the day. Editor Brian Vertigen revealed: “Amber will be followed by a reporter, a photographer and a technical expert who will determine where the first cowpat is laid.”

Case takes the strain

The first Repetitive Strain Injury case involving a journalist using a keyboard went to the High Court. Rafiq Mughal, former desk editor at Reuters, brought the case, backed by the NUJ. He lost.

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