Back Issues 28.10.05

OCTOBER 1985

BY JON SLATTERY

Streep tease

In an astonishing hoax on Sunday Times journalist Henry Porter, The
Mail on Sunday passed off one of its own reporters as Hollywood star
Meryl Streep. The MoS’s Nicola Scicluna gave an interview to Porter
pretending to be Streep as part of feature on what it was like to be
famous. Heavily made-up and coiffured by experts, Scicluna pulled off
the deception and Porter’s interview was published in the ST. To much
amusement at the MoS, Porter wrote: “For the moment I wondered if I was
the victim of an elaborate hoax, because Streep in the flesh is utterly
different from Streep on celluloid. The latter is more real.” There was
an element of dog eat dog revenge in the hoax. Porter had angered some
of Fleet Street’s finest, including MoS editor Stewart Steven, with his
book Lies, Damn Lies and Sun Exclusives. In the book Porter opined:
“One of the marvels of Fleet Street is the enduring ability of
journalists to believe what they want rather than what is.”

Freelance killed in riot was not covered by insurance

The death of photographer David Hodge, who was fatally injured while
covering the Brixton riots, had raised concerns about how well
protected freelances were. Hodge, 29, was on his first freelance shift
for The Sunday Telegraph and was not covered by insurance. Both the IoJ
and NUJ voiced worries that freelances were not adequately covered and
also that they were facing increasing violence covering domestic
assignments. A number of journalists were treated in hospital after
being fired at by rioters using pellet guns in the Tottenham riots.
Hodge received head injuries when attacked by rioters who were ripping
metal grilles from the front of a jeweller’s shop. A David Hodge
memorial award was set-up to encourage young photo-journalists and is
still awarded annually.

New owners for Express titles

United Newspapers had just taken over Express Newspapers from Fleet
Holdings. UN chief executive Gordon Linacre was full of optimism.

In a Press Gazette interview he said: “We have a passionate belief
in the future of the Daily Express and the Sunday Express. We all have.
We are determined to shove the Express right back at the top.

For
me personally, as a junior reporter in the days when the Express was
pre-eminent in world journalism, the opportunity to push the Express
back into that position will be tremendous.”

Today editor fills top editorial posts

Brian MacArthur, the launch editor of Eddy Shah’s Today newspaper,
had signed up Colin Myler from the Sunday People to be news editor.
Jane Reed, former managing director of IPC’s Holborn Publishing, was to
be features editor. It was also announced that Andrew Bordis, chief
sub-editor of the Evening Standard, had been recruited as assistant
chief sub. More than 1,200 job applications had been received for posts
on the paper – promoted as the first national daily to make use of new
technology and colour printing throughout – which was due to launch in
the spring of 1986.

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