Back Issues 13.05.05

MAY 1995

BY JON SLATTERY

PCC reprimands Morgan over Countess Spencer story

The Press Complaints Commission bared its teeth and chewed up Piers
Morgan, then editor of the News of the World, for publishing a picture
and story about Countess Spencer’s treatment at an addiction clinic. In
an unprecedented move, Morgan was publicly reprimanded by his boss,
Rupert Murdoch. He said of Morgan, “in this case, the young man went
over the top,” adding: “News International will not tolerate its papers
bringing into disrepute the best practices of popular journalism.” But
did Morgan get a bollocking in private? Not according to Morgan’s just
published and wonderfully indiscreet memoirs, The Insider, in which he
recalls the following conversation with Murdoch: “‘I am sorry about all
that press complaining thingamajig,’ he said, to my astonishment. He
definitely used the word ‘sorry’. And it was clear by his failure to
even remember the name of the Press Complaints Commission that he did
not give a toss about it. ‘We had to deal with it the way we did or
they’d be banging on about a privacy law again and we don’t need that
right now. Anyway, it’s done now. How are you going to sell more
papers?'”

Pouring oil on the waters

Kelvin MacKenzie and Janet Street-Porter, who were working together
on the launch of Mirror Group’s Live TV cable channel, had addressed
staff at the Mirror Group’s headquarters to assure them there was no
management rift. The meeting followed reports in The Sunday Times
suggesting Street-Porter was about to quit Live TV, which became famous
for topless darts, before it launched. One insider told Press Gazette:
“They didn’t deny any of the allegations, but the banter between them
wasn’t forced. It is obvious that a love/hate relationship exists, but
if they truly do hate each other they put on a very good act.”

Eastern Daily Press claims the top spot

The Eastern Daily Press knocked the Yorkshire Post from its top spot
as the bestselling regional in England. The Eastern Daily Press
reported sales of 79,192 for the period July-December 1994, beating the
Yorkshire Post’s 78,049. The top-selling regional morning in the whole
of the UK was The Press and Journal in Aberdeen, with a circulation of
107,965.

Hinton takes top job at News International

It was announced that former Sun reporter Les Hinton was to return
to News International in July in the top job of executive chairman.
Hinton had spent 19 years in the US and was chief executive of News
America Publishing, which published the New York Post and TV Guide.

Hinton had become close to Rupert Murdoch after being appointed The
Sun’s New York correspondent. Sun journalists remembered him for his
reporting of a Swedish bank robbery in which women hostages fell in
love with their captors, and an attention-grabbing account of a plane
crash in Paris.

Group prepares to break through the glass ceiling

Women in Journalism, the group that aims to promote the interests of
women in the media, was preparing for a June launch. According to Press
Gazette, the group was “born out of a spontaneous outcry for more women
to break through the glass ceiling to editors’ and directors’ jobs”.
Founding members included Eve Pollard, Amanda Platell, Louise Chunn and
Linda Christmas.

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