Back Issues 27.02.03

LBC launch

It was announced that a new commercial radio station, the London Broadcasting Company, would launch later in the year with a staff of 100 journalists. LBC said that as well as running a 24-hour, seven-days a week news service, it would create a parallel news service available to other stations, called Independent Radio News.

Lord Goodman, chairman of the Newspaper Publishers Association, was less than enthusiastic about commercial radio. “I represent newspapers and the suggestion that someone should take our advertising away is obnoxious. I am biased. But do we really need another news service? The notion afoot that everyone should know what has happened immediately it has happened appears to me to be great piffle.”

The joining of minds

Two news agencies merged: the Manchester News Service, run by Peter Reece, and Brian Whittle’s Northern Press Service. The Manchester News Service name was retained while Whittle went on to form the Cavendish news agency which still operates from the city.

More than a product

A paper was not just a product, with a package, a price and a niche in the market, Associated Newspapers chairman, Vere Harmsworth declared. Speaking at the annual dinner of the Dockland Settlements in London, he stressed the responsibilities of the media in the face of a modern tendency to emphasise sex and violence. “I cannot and will not accept that commercial success alone is the sole criteria by which newspapers or indeed TV channels should be judged,” he said.

A sign of the Times

Regional newspapers had won a long and hard battle with the TVTimes and Radio Times to be able to publish televsion programme listings beyond the day of publication.

Sweet music to Melody’s ears

Music weekly Melody Maker was on a high, with sales were up 26,000 to 200,191. It didn’t last. The paper closed in 2000.

Detained indefinitely

Press Gazette’s front page was dominated by a picture of Peter Niesewand, a correspondent for The Guardian and BBC, who was jailed “for an indefinite period” in Rhodesia under emergency regulations. No reason for his detention was given. The Guardian said: “The Rhodesian Government has shown yet again that blend of ruthlessness, arrogance and stupidity for which it is renowned.”

Thalidomide article banned

The High Court ban on The Sunday Times article on Thalidomide children had “grave implications for freedom of speech and thus of the press”, said editor Harold Evans in a sworn statement to the Appeal Court. The newspaper had been injuncted by the drug makers Distillers.

Cosmo goes off the rails

British Cosmopolitan editor Joyce Hopkirk was celebrating sales of 352,277 just a year after launch. However, the birthday issue proved too much for British Rail, which refused to allow advertising featuring the cover on its stations.

It looks very tame by the standards of today’s lad’s mags.

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