Back Issues 11.03.05

MARCH 1985

BY JON SLATTERY

About turn

When
your readers are made up of eagle-eyed journalists it is hard to get
away with editorial cock-ups. Press Gazette certainly didn’t get away
with reversing its front page colour picture of the Queen’s visit to
The Times .

It was quickly picked up by correspondents to the
letters page, who noted Rupert Murdoch was sporting a white
handkerchief in the top pocket on the right side of his jacket and the
Queen’s coat was buttoned on the right.

The battle of the giants that never materialised

It
was the newspaper war that never happened. Press Gazette was excitedly
previewing the battle due that autumn between London’s Evening Standard
and Rupert Murdoch’s planned new title for the capital, The Post. The
article noted: “Murdoch has almost an embarrassment of printing
capacity at his Tower Hamlets, Docklands site.”

In the end it
was used to print Murdoch’s national titles when News International
abandoned Fleet Street for Wapping, cutting out the production unions.
The planned-for Post never materialised, leaving some cynics to claim
it was an elaborate cover for the flit from Fleet Street. Others insist
the plan was genuine and London would have had a second daily paper but
for the intransigence of the print unions.

A sign of the times

Prejudice
against gays surfaced at The Sunday Times in the composing room. It
happened after one of the paper’s journalists, Harry Coen, went on
Newsnight and discussed how he had undergone a test for AIDS, which had
proved negative. Nevertheless, Press Gazette reported, it did not
reassure members of The Sunday Times NGA print chapel. An official
request was made for Coen to be removed from the composing room floor
where he was stone subbing.

Coen refused to leave, carried out his work and told the printers he would return the next week.

Newspapers cautioned for publishing addresses

The
Mail on Sunday was rapped by the Press Council for printing the address
and phone number of Tony Chater, editor of the communist daily, the
Morning Star . It followed the Star’s decision to print the address of
the founder of the miners’ wives back-to-work campaign during the
miners’ strike. The MoS said it had wanted to “ram home the dangers of
such an action” after the wife had her house daubed with paint and
besieged by people shouting “scab” and “bitch”. The Press Council
also ruled that the Morning Star had acted irresponsibly.

NUJ raps Reid for using subterfuge

Mail
on Sunday editor, Stewart Steven, was looking at taking legal advice in
the row over Sue Reid and the NUJ. Feature writer Reid was reprimanded
by the NUJ executive for using subterfuge to infiltrate the Barnsley
Women Against Pit Closures Group. Reid was, however, backed by the NUJ
chapel at the MoS which said it fully supported her conduct.

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