Celebs squeezing out agencies

By Jon Slattery

Former Fleet Street editor Derek Jameson has summed up the plight of news agencies in the celebritydominated modern media.

Jameson, presenting the first National Association of Press Agencies Awards in London, confessed: "I feel sorry for you lot these days. A picture of Britney Spears scratching her bum is worth £10,000. But if you are an agency, you might get £50 for a page lead in the Express in seven months’ time."

Jameson, who edited the News of the World, Daily Express and Daily Star, claimed the "human element" was missing from today’s popular papers and said they were more like comics.

To demonstrate the dominance of celebrity, "The one that got away award", (in memory of Kevin Fitzpatrick) went to Dan Kitwood of South West News, for a picture of a singer at the Eden Project’s Live 8 celebration.

The shot was eclipsed by Angelina Jolie’s fleeting appearance on stage, which was all the nationals were interested in, so Kitwood’s picture never got published.

Andy Buckwell (London Media) won news story of the year for his exclusive that the Queen would not attend the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

Anna Seaman (South West News)

won feature of the year for her article on a little girl who lost her arms and legs at the age of 16 months, following a meningitis attack.

Dean Wilson (Hayters Teamwork)

won sports story of the year for his revelation that Lawrence Dallaglio was already back in training six weeks after suffering a broken ankle on the Lions’

tour of New Zealand.

Picture of the year was won by Lewis Whyld (South West News) for "moon shot" and sports picture by William Cherry (Press Eye, Belfast ) for a boxing shot.

NAPA chairman Chris Johnson said: "These were the first NAPA Awards and, judging by the encouraging response, they certainly will not be the last."

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