NEIL GETS AN APOLOGYâ€¦
Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil received a High Court apology from The Mail on Sunday. It came after allegations that, for political reasons, Neil had decided not to follow up the story that Jeffrey Archer had offered prostitute Monica Coughlan £2,000 to leave the country. Neil said the story, broken by the News of the World, was not the sort he wanted to see in The Sunday Times. Lawyers for The MoS told the court it now accepted that Neil’s decision was taken for journalistic and not political reasons.
â€¦AND THE EDP ASKS FOR ONE
The Eastern Daily Press was calling for an apology from Energy Secretary Cecil Parkinson. He was accused of being arrogant after he was challenged about a report in the EDP in the Commons and replied: “I don’t hold myself answerable to the Mid-Norfolk News or whatever it is.” Parkinson also said the reporter he spoke to, Tony Snape, had seemed to know little about nuclear power and “found great difficulty spelling it”. In fact, Snape had a BSc in energy technology and had done a dissertation on the future of nuclear energy before entering journalism.
NO POST PROBLEMS – YET
Eddy Shah’s new paper, The Post, was reported to have had a smooth launch, printing nearly one million copies. The new national, edited by Lloyd Turner in Manchester, was promised to be a tabloid “without sleaze”. Verdicts on the new title by national rivals were damning. Mirror Group publisher Robert Maxwell described it as: “A little bit provincial. Shah appears not to have learnt from his problems with Today. Its pretensions to be a national newspaper are only pretensions.” Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie was even more succinct. “Absolute crap,” was his verdict. Nigel Blundell, deputy editor of the Daily Star, said: “It’s a disaster. I give it six months.” Blundell’s prediction was overoptimistic. The Post lasted just longer than a month and folded on 17 December after only 33 issues.
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
The North West Times, the country’s first new regional morning paper for more than 100 years, folded after seven weeks. One of its young business reporters marked its demise with a firstperson piece in Press Gazette, which ended: “We did our best, we produced a
cracking paper and I for one was proud to work for the North West Times.” The setback did not stop the writer reaching the top. He was David Yelland, who went on to edit The Sun.
ANYONE BUT EDDY
Express Newspapers was disposing of its Manchester cuttings and picture library. It contained 4.5 million pictures, 750,000 biographical cuttings and bound volumes of the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Star. A spokesman said: “It is a treasure house of information and it would be a crying shame to give it the Fahrenheit 451 treatment. We’ll listen to any reasonable offer from anybody, well almost anybody – Eddy Shah need not apply.”
FISK MAKES INDEPENDENT ‘S DAY
It was announced that Robert Fisk was leaving The Times to become Middle East correspondent for The Independent and would be taking up his appointment in the new year. It was a major coup for The Independent – Fisk had won a string of accolades, including International Journalist of the Year and Journalist of the Year in the British Press Awards.
CAMPAIGNERS STICK AT IT
The Friends of John McCarthy, campaigning for the release of the British journalist held hostage in the Lebanon, produced free car stickers stating: “Don’t forget the British hostages in Beirut.” McCarthy was not released until August 1991.