Back Issues 23.10.03

MAXWELL BID REJECTED

Robert Maxwell  had been rebuffed after making a bid for the News of the World. Sir William Carr, chairman of the News of the World organisation,described Maxwell’s bid as “completelyunacceptable”. NoW editor Stafford Somerfield clashed with Maxwell on BBC television. Somerfield claimed Maxwell was thinking only about money and said “a newspaper is people – writers, subeditors. I won’t work for somebody who doesn’t know about papers.”

ONE IS NOT HAPPY

The Press Council said it was to “consider” the publication in the Daily Express of two photographs of the Queen in bed after the birth of Prince Edward. The Express was furious. It thundered: “It is regrettable that this arbitrary Star Chamber procedure – which the Daily Express will resist to the utmost – should be adopted in the case of pictures which have brought delight to millions.”

WAR OF WORDS

The Press Council upheld a complaint by Daily Mirror East Anglia reporter Kevin Hunt against the East Anglian Daily Times. He claimed a quote by a welfare spokesman, hoping the national press would not “badger” a homeless family and warning they could be banned if they used any more “foot in the door” tactics, could be interpreted as a serious reflection upon him. Today, the Council’s successor, the Press Complaints Commission, does not take complaints from individual journalists against newspapers.

KENT CLOSURE

The Kent Evening Mail – launched just six weeks earlier – closed. Publisher Parrett & Neves announced the closure “after a
trial period”. It said the decision was due to the increasing sales of its weekly titles and difficulties in obtaining Press Association wire and wire photo services, which had been “blacked” by the NGA print union.

CHAPEL MEETING COSTS

The Daily Mirror lost 500,000 sales because of a 90-minute chapel meeting by maintenance engineers. It went on until 12.15am – too late to print editions for South Wales, the South West and part of Staffordshire.

BRIGHTON BEARDS ON PARADE

This Monty Pythonesque picture of a “spot the genuine beards” competition on the front page of Press Gazette was taken at the Institute of Journalists annual conference, held at Brighton’s Grand Metropolitan Hotel.

MURDER ON THE WIRE

The Olympic Games communications set-up in Mexico City was described as “murder” by John Hennessey, Times sports editor. Most problems arose from the Mexican Communications Ministry’s handling of Telex machines hired by newspapers. The Daily Telegraph had arranged earlier in the year for a machine at the main press centre in the city, but when it arrived the press co-ordinator ordered its removal. While alternative arrangements were being made the order was reversed; then when the machine was being wired up at its original location, the ban was reimposed. Finally the chief co-ordinator allowed it to stay. Famous sports journalists covering the games included Peter Wilson of the Daily Mirror, who had covered every Olympics since the 1936 Berlin Games, Sam Leitch of the Sunday Mirror, Hugh McIlvaney of The Observer and John Samuel of The Guardian.

PUNCH EDITOR

William Davis, The Guardian’s financial editor, was named editor of Punch. Davis started as an office boy at the Stock Exchange Gazette before going on to report for the Financial Times and become City editor of the London Evening Standard.

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