Back Issues 07.08.03

RASAIAH JOINS NS

Barrister Santha Rasaiah joined the Newspaper Society’s legal department.She is now director of the Society’s legal and parliamentary affairs and campaignsagainst legislation threatening to curb press freedom.

ANSWERS ON A POSTCARD

The Friends of John McCarthy aunched postcard campaign in support of the WTN journalist who was in his third year as a
hostage in Beirut.

The aim was to send the cards to MPs and other prominent people to ensure McCarthy was not forgotten. They carried the message: “What are you doing to bring him home?”

GUARDIAN APOLOGISES TO TEBBIT

The Guardian accepted that Tory Party chairman Norman Tebbit had never said, “Nobody with a conscience votes Conservative”. It apologised to him and agreed to pay £14,000 libel damages and £16,000 legal costs. The allegation first appeared in Hugo Young’s column in 1987.

NATIONAL PRESS PUT TO TEST

Which? magazine did a consumer test on the national press.

Researchers found the paper containing the most printing errors was the Financial Times, followed by The Guardian.

The Daily Telegraph came out top for being first with the news, the Daily Star topped the list for most sex stories, the Daily Mirror carried the biggest number of disaster stories, The Guardian most foreign news and features, and The Independent featured the most obits.

JOURNALISM IS THE DEVIL’S WORK

People journalist Terry Lovell told Press Gazette he was quitting his job because he found it incompatible with his beliefs as a born-again Christian.

He told George Dearsley: “I honestly could take no more.

The cheating, the lying, the conniving and the utter pointlessness of many of the stories, I was no longer able to justify.” He claimed one could be a committed Christian or a tabloid journalist, but the two could not co-exist.

“You are sent out to meet people knowing that to get your story you may have to take them out for drinks, listen to dirty jokes and foul language and pretend you are enjoying yourself to win the punters’ trust. All the time if you are a Christian, it is destroying you,” he said.

EUROPEAN STAFF WANTED

Robert Maxwell began recruiting staff for The European, the paper he planned to launch in spring 1989.

It was aiming for a
circulation of one million, hoping to cash in on the harmonisation of Europe in 1992.

It was expected to employ 100 journalists and was being planned by editor-in-chief Mike Molloy and editor Jean Schalit.

Dummies of the new paper carried the slogan “Forward with Europe” under the masthead, a
variation on the Daily Mirror’s “Forward with Britain” slogan.

After Maxwell’s death in November 1991, The European was taken over by the Barclay brothers, went tabloid in 1997, turned into magazine format in 1998, but folded in December of the same year.

CHANGING TIMES

The old and new regimes at The Sunday Times were involved in a bust-up in the letter pages of The Independent. Hugo Young, who had moved from the ST to The Guardian, took the paper’s new editor, Andrew Neil, to task.

He wrote: “Neil is right to describe the ST as a
very different paper from what it was before he became editor. Few traces remain of the detached and objective spirit fostered by Denis Hamilton and Harry Evans.”

Neil retorted that Young was a
bitter man and the ST under Evans had been in the grip of the “hard Left”.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

BBC Radio London announced it was being renamed Greater London Radio in the autumn.

Managing editor Matthew Bannister said: “The name reflects quite simply the fact that the station will be greater.”

Jon Slattery

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