Back Issues 25.03.05

MARCH 1970

BY JON SLATTERY 

 

Man and mountain

A picture of the highest unclimbed peak in the Andes, El Toro,
appeared on the front of Press Gazette along with Michael Corner, night
news editor of the Sheffield Morning Telegraph, who was going to cover
an expedition to scale the peak. The expedition was sponsored by United
Newspapers, owner of the Morning Telegraph. Corner, who went on to edit
the Sheffield Star, confessed to having never climbed more that 40 feet
before.

“Staff” signs off

Stafford Somerfield was dismissed as editor of the News of the World by the paper’s new owner Rupert Murdoch.

Somerfield had been editor for 10 years and sales were a massive 6.4 million.

Asked
how he felt about leaving the NoW, Somerfield said: “It was my right
arm. I can’t believe I won’t be there to edit it again. I’ve held all
the jobs on it.

It is my great love.” Of his departure, he said:
“I did not resign – Mummy always told me not to resign.” Ironically
Somerfield had opposed the bid by Robert Maxwell for the paper, stating
“the News of the World is as British as roast beef and Yorkshire
pudding”. He had vowed to quit if Maxwell had got his hands on the NoW.

Jonathan Aitken charged

The editor of The Sunday Telegraph Brian Roberts and journalist
Jonathan Aitken had been charged under the Official Secrets Act over a
story headlined “Secret British report on Biafra leaked”. Press Gazette
said that the infamous section 2 of the Act was so broad – it covered
any wrongful communication of information or the receipt of information
which has been wrongly communicated – that every newspaper was likely
to be in breach of it several times a day. It added: “If this Act was
strictly enforced there can be scarcely a civil servant, and certainly
no member of the Government, who would not have been prosecuted under
it.”

Osgood was no good

Chelsea football star Peter Osgood was no good as far as the Daily
Mail’s NUJ chapel was concerned. It had voted to black a series of
articles by the striker. FoC Jim French told Press Gazette: “I am
alarmed at the proliferation of national newspaper articles by
professional sportsmen. Most of them are tripe.”

Sunday Times not to blame

The Commons Committee of Privileges had decided that a Sunday Times
report on the resignation of Robert Maxwell as chairman of the MPs
refreshment committee was not in contempt.

Good news for Lewis

A young Harlech Television reporter was joining ITN’s reporting
team. The move was a stepping-stone for 24-year-old Martyn Lewis on his
way to becoming one of the country’s most famous news presenters.

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