Back Issues 07.10.05

OCTOBER 2000

BY JON SLATTERY

Looking for love

The big question in Fleet Street was who was going to buy Express
Newspapers, which had been put up for sale by United. Among the
possible bidders were said to be the Barclay brothers, David Montgomery
and the Hinduja brothers. Express editor Rosie Boycott told Press
Gazette that she and her staff would like a buyer “who saw that the
Express had been cut to ribbons, that it needs growing, needs loving
and is prepared to make up for the years of decline”. In the end it was
Richard Desmond who won the race to buy the Express titles. Boycott
departed shortly afterwards.

Charles wins apology over ST wedding claim

The Sunday Times published an apology to the Prince of Wales after
he denied the paper’s story that he was exploring the possibility of
marrying Camilla Parker Bowles in the Church of Scotland. The Prince
complained to the Press Complaints Commission. Sunday Times managing
editor Richard Caseby said: “The Palace complained and we investigated
the story further, and now accept the Palace’s position that the Prince
and Mrs Parker Bowles have no intention of remarrying. Our source
misunderstood the information.”

Moving finale for last Monday Panorama

The BBC had stopped running Panorama on Mondays and moved it to a
“graveyard slot” on Sundays. The last Monday programme was John Ware’s
investigation into the Omagh bombing, which named four suspects. “The
programme itself was extremely sad and people were genuinely moved by
it,” Ware said. “And we couldn’t help but be sad that it was Panorama’s
last Monday after a 45-year run. We had a wake afterwards.”

Hall slams ‘Half-hearted’ ITV

Former BBC director of news Tony Hall had defended the decision to
switch the Nine 0’Clock News to 10pm. The switch came after ITV
scrapped the established News at Ten. The programme became nicknamed
“News at When?” after a compromise saw ITV guarantee to run the news at
10pm at least three times a week. Hall accused ITV of being
“half-hearted” and said the BBC’s move would give viewers “clarity and
certainty in the schedules”.

Power to the People as editor snubs gagging order

Sunday People editor Neil Wallis said he was prepared to go to jail
rather than hand over notes on the operation of a secret army unit in
Northern Ireland. “They want the right to raid our files to find the
source of our story. We will not do that even if the order is granted.”
After a drawn-out legal battle, the People overturned all but one of a
series of gagging orders imposed after it ran a story about the Force
Research Unit.

Newsquest comes down hard on office nookie

It was the love that dare not speak its name. Newsquest had warned
its journalists that they must tell their bosses if they were having an
intimate personal relationship with anyone else at work – or face the
sack. “There are a range of jobs where relationships at work are
professionally unacceptable,” said a company memo. “These would
involve circumstances where there is an element of trust and
confidentiality. Staff who compromise this important duty can expect
the company to take the matter very seriously indeed and a dismissal in
such circumstances is likely to be fair on the grounds that the
employee is guilty of gross misconduct.” PG cartoonist Geoff Thompson
depicted a sad looking cupid being given his P45 by Newsquest.

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