Back Issues 26.02.04

ASTRO NOUGHTS SAVED

A joint deal by the Daily Mail and Daily Sketch to pay £107,000 for the first-person story of the first American astronaut on the Moon looked to have saved The People £50,000. People editor Sam Campbell had offered £50,000 in 1961 for the exclusive story of the first man to get back alive from the Moon in the next five years. The bold offer was renewed in 1966 by Campbell’s successor, Bob Edwards, for another five years, which would have taken it up to 1971. But the auction by Time-Life of rights to the story let The People off the hook.

BUTLER DID IT

Harry Butler, a pioneer and teacher of the Teeline shorthand system, took over as night news editor at the Press Association. Butler had joined PA as a verbatim reporter in 1947 after working on the Peterborough Advertiser and Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph.

SADDLED WITH STYLE

Journalists used to get on their bikes to cover stories, as this picture of Southport Visiter reporter Cedric Greenwood and photographer Dick Williams showed. The pair worked as a team, shared a tandem and dressed for all seasons.

BEATING THE BLIZZARD

The Aberdeen Press and Journal went to sea – in a Force 9 gale to beat blizzards that had closed roads connecting the city with Peterhead. Parcels of the paper were loaded on the Aberdeen fishing trawler Jubilee, on her way to the Northern fishing grounds, and she cleared the harbour by 3am. Four hours later, after battling through heavy seas, the papers were offloaded at Peterhead fish arket, where a local contractor continued distribution. The papers reached readers on sledges pulled by newsboys.

ON THE SPOT

This picture on the front of Press Gazette showed Sun reporter Keith Deves, right, going to the aid of a man who had been stabbed outside the Iraqi Embassy. As Press Gazette noted, Deves was used to covering troublespots – he had been shot in the leg in Iraq by escaping Communists while reporting on the overthrow of President Kassem.

FIGURE OF EIGHT

The rector of St Bride’s, the Reverend Dewi Morgan, was pictured holding a piece of masonry that was being sent to the US from Fleet Street. It was a gift for the department of journalism at the University of Southern Illinois and was part of a carved figure of an angel from one of the eight churches that have stood on the site of St Bride’s.

GUARDIAN GETS BOLDER

The Guardian had a new design with a bolder title and headlines of 60pt instead of 48pt. Press Gazette’s verdict was that “you could call it a bookstall front, because the newboldness from the title downwards shouldhelp to lift casual copies”. The Guardian was then selling 269,000, compared with the 385,000 it sells now.

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