Back Issues 11.02.05

February 1990

By John Slattery


Pressing for rights

The NUJ had launched a campaign to win back union recognition as
more and more publishers were scrapping pay and house agreements in
favour of individual contracts.

It called the campaign Press for Union Rights and the first step was
to call for a meeting with the then Employment Secretary, Michael
Howard, to discuss a legal right to collective representation.

Greenslade signs up more Sun staffers

Roy Greenslade, then editor of the Daily Mirror , had been raiding
his old paper, The Sun , for staff. Among the new recruits was one
Richard Wallace, The Sun’s showbiz reporter. Wallace became the
Mirror’s television writer and last year took over as editor after
Piers Morgan was sacked in May over the fake Iraqi torture pictures.

Morgue picture of Blundy ‘needlessly distressing’

Press Council had upheld a complaint against The Sun for publishing a
picture of British journalist David Blundy lying in a morgue after he
was killed in San Salvador. The council was told that Blundy’s
two-year-old daughter Charlotte had become “screamingly distressed”
after seeing the picture. Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie said none of the
paper’s ten million readers had complained to the duty reporter on the
day of publication. He argued the atrocity was the murder of Blundy,
not the picture in the paper. The Press Council ruled that the picture
intruded into Blundy’s death and “would predictably add needlessly to
the distress of his family.”

Rushdie? No thanks, we prefer our alien

Stephen Glover, editor of the just-launched Independent on Sunday,
was so anxious to preserve the paper’s exclusive interview with Salman
Rushdie that he fired off a ‘hands off our story’ warning to the Sunday
Sport, which shared the same Northampton printers as the IoS . Sunday
Sport editor Drew Robertson replied: “Dear Mr.

Glover, Regarding the Salman Rushdie interview. Wouldn’t dream of
nicking your story. But by the same token, we have World Exclusive
Pictures of the first alien in Britain. Any breach of our copyright and
you’ll be locked in a capsule and propelled into the black void. (No we
don’t mean The Sunday Correspondent).”

Code protecting the privileged

Wendy Henry, sacked as editor of The People for publishing intrusive
pictures of Prince Harry and Prince William, had hit out at the new
Editors’ Code of Practice. Speaking on Sky News she said the new code
had cost the tabloids sales as well as good stories. Henry claimed:
“The rules have certainly changed. No more publish and be damned. Don’t
offend the powerful and the privileged. In future concentrate on the
soft targets, the little people. It’s back to massage parlours,choir
masters who get stuck into choir mistresses, and vicars in stockings
and suspenders.”

Sisulu back in editor’s chair

In South Africa, Zwelakhe Sisulu was back as editor of the
Johannesburg weekly New Nation after he was “unbanned” by the country’s
president, FW de Klerk who announced that the African National Congress
was no longer banned. However, British reporters, Paul Weaver of Today
, and Gareth Furbs, of Independent Radio News, were
expelled accused of sending reports “intended to damage South Africa’s
image” about violent protests against the rebel English cricket tour.

Back issues correction: In
Back Issues last week in the story “Williams goes West”, the correct
titles of the Northcliffe dailies referred to are the Gloucestershire
Echo, Cheltenham, and The Citizen, Gloucester.

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