Dog watches dog 01.04.04

Campbell’s Chris credit

Alastair Campbell managed to emerge with some credit when Paul Dacre and Sir Christopher Meyer were grilled by the Commons public administration committee.

After the Daily Mail editor blamed Tony Blair’s former communications director for poisoning relations with the media, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission admitted that Downing Street’s press operation under Campbell was more professional and better resourced than when he was John Major’s press secretary.

When he first arrived there he found there were no arrangements for delivering the day’s papers to No 10. Meyer was told he could pop round to Charing Cross station to see whether the first editions had arrived. As for the final editions, Meyer had to rely on the father of his local Indian newsagent delivering the bundle to his London home.

Old hands soak up News’ naval history

The News Chronicle – the title that was absorbed by the Daily Mail in 1960 – lives on. Well at least it does aboard HMS Cavalier, Britain’s last remaining Second World War destroyer.

When Philip Ditton and Frank Cassell, colleagues from the Fifties in the Chronicle’s City office, went aboard the ship, now preserved as a permanent exhibit at Chatham Historic Dockyard, this week, they visited the ship’s office. There on the desk was a neatly folded newspaper.

The word News on the masthead was clearly visible. “When we saw that Gothic type, we were certain it must be the News Chronicle. So we asked our guide for confirmation. He obligingly opened the paper out and left it on the desk for all to see. It was indeed the Chronicle,” said Ditton.

The newspaper is dated 28 May, 1941, and the lead story was the pursuit and sinking of the German battleship Bismark.

Purists might complain that it pre-dates the Cavalier, which did not make its maiden voyage until 1944.

But the two old hands from the Chronicle think that would just be pedantic.

Haymarket rumour mill grinds online

By inadvertently pressing several wrong computer keys, Dog ended up at the online forum for Haymarket’s media magazines Campaign and Marketing.

To the kennel’s canine surprise, it included a debate about the future of the two titles’ print editions, and included an apparently hot piece of gossip – a “well-informed” Haymarket source claiming the two were planning to merge.

Could it be true? Dog doubts it on two counts: that the thread wouldn’t still be on its website if it was; and that journalists at Haymarket, informed or otherwise, would be the last to know.

But as for a format change, now there’s another matter…

Cartoonists fear hacking off journos

One of Dog’s alert spotters is a big fan of Peattie and Taylor’s brilliant Alex cartoon in The Daily Telegraph’s City pages.

He realised he hadn’t seen one of his favourite characters, Alex’s rather shady journalist brother Greg, for quite some time. He e-mailed the cartoon’s creators, and got the following response: Journalists, unlike stockbrokers, seem to have very little sense of humour about themselves and get really upset when we do jokes about them fiddling their expenses and making up quotes etc.

Perhaps this is just a reflection of how little they get paid in comparison to the City boys.

Russell Taylor, Alex cartoon writer.

Such a shame, Dog reckons. Greg would be the ideal person to cover the Hollinger story.

In an idle moment at the NUJ’s annual delegate meeting in Liverpool last week, Dog decided to take a leaf out of British Press Awards host Michael Buerk’s book. So here are the Nudges – the NUJ conference awards.

Keeping it true…

The Award for Plain Speaking in the face of interminable discussions about reference backs, seriatim motions and other assorted points of order goes to the author of a note found by Dog on the conference floor.

Dan, I have been here for ages but they keep banging on about standing orders so I’m in my room watching telly.

See you later, Felicity

…getting it right,

The Lynne Truss punctuation prize goes to the author of a conference Powerpoint overhead display screen notice which was, worryingly, on the subject of training. It read: “Come to the training room and find out about Union Learning Representatives (URL’s).”

Thinking aloud…

Most perceptive insight of the conference prize goes to Valerie Sweeney from Irish South Western branch. During a debate about more legal rights for disabled NUJ members she said: “The worst thing about disability is being disabled.”

…flying a kite

And finally, a gold-plated plug is on its way to Gerry Carson, from Belfast and District branch, who managed to slip the fact that Belfast is the third most popular destination for weekend breaks in the UK into a debate about paramilitary threats to journalists. No prizes for guessing Carson’s day job – as a PR officer in Northern Ireland.

fun at those who pay good money towards the upkeep of the kennel, one spotter noticed this from Hayters’ advert on page 13 of PG’s Journalism Training Supplement. “It seems the agency’s learning curve didn’t include a session on how to add up,” says our spotter. “I wonder if that was reflected in their expenses?”

 

 

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