Dog watches dog 02.10.03

Hutton jitters for Neil’s big scoop

The Hutton effect is already taking hold at the BBC. Andrew Neil’s global scoop on last week’s BBC Two programme The Daily Politics – that a CIA team had found no trace of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – caused some severely anxious moments at the corporation.

The story was based on a single, unattributed source and, going out the day before the end of the Hutton Inquiry, there were shaking hands and sweaty brows all the way up the chain of news and current affairs command.

Fortunately, nerves held – just – and the story went out, to be widely followed up and confirmed by broadcasters and papers all over the world.

Bernie v Arnie

Members of the NUJ’s London Freelance Branch, little used to being caught up in high political affairs, nonetheless enjoyed a moment of influence by proxy when Arianna Huffington took on Arnold Schwarzenegger in the televised debate in the tussle to become Governor of California.

Back in the Eighties, Huffington was a regular at London Freelance Branch meetings, turning up with her then inamorato, Bernard Levin.

Veteran Fleet Street watchers recall the yacht-borne birthday party she threw for the then ubiquitous columnist, an occasion when she took the opportunity to declare him just about the most perfect specimen of masculinity ever visited upon the planet.

It’s no wonder she’s not impressed by Arnie.


Fine feast for mice found at Wapping

The ever-expanding Sunday Times seems to be getting fatter every week.

So are the mice in its offices, according to this e-mail memo from managing editor Richard Caseby. In a plea to staff, Caseby said: “As you know from previous e-mails, efforts have been made to eradicate the recent infestation of mice on the editorial floor.

“They are failing largely because people are still leaving food on or around desks. “Mice gnaw through paper and foil. Locked drawers are no barrier so don’t use them as a larder. “I suggest you use some rat-like cunning and keep any food in a plastic container until further notice. Otherwise they will be here to stay.”

Howzat! Moore walks

With Charles Moore’s surprise departure from Telegraph Towers this week, Dog is already hard at work on a farfetched conspiracy theory to explain him surrendering his wicket.

Last week, Moore was expected to attend a meeting of the Editors’ Code Committee, which is responsible for formulating the Code of Practice policed by the Press Complaints Commission.

On the table was a motion to change the constitution of the code committee itself, with the introduction of a “three strikes and you’re out” policy for its members. Any editor who had three PCC rulings against them would be asked to stand down from the committee.

And which editor – with three adverse rulings already – would have been an instant victim of the policy? Step forward Mr Charles Moore, who was unaccountably absent from the meeting. Perhaps the ignominy would have been too much, and he opted for another way to terminate his innings.


How Sly are the ‘lads’ in Birmingham?

When Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey visited her Birmingham operation for the first time, the “lads” in the Evening Mail press room thought they would have a bit of fun.

Everyone bought copies of fierce rival, the Wolverhampton Express & Star, and were planning to stand around flicking through the paper as she was shown around the press room – while the Mail was coming off the presses.

Unfortunately, an on-the-ball (some might say, spoilsport) manager spotted what the lads were up to and steered the boss away. On another part of her tour, senior managers held their collective breath when Bailey visited managing director Alistair Nee.

Would she touch his rocks? It should be understood that Nee is very touchy about the positioning and direction of a number of crystals and rocks which are placed around his office.

A previous attempt by a (now former) secretary to move them to dust his office provoked a rare outburst from the normally unemotional Nee -known affectionately by many of his staff as “The Android”.

The vegan Nee – it is said he doesn’t eat anything that casts a shadow -puts great faith in the power of his rocks and crystals to direct destiny. Dog wonders how the business plan for the Midlands operation is shaping up.


After all the furore over The Sun’s now-infamous “Bonkers” Bruno headline, word slips out from Wapping that there was another headline under  consideration for that first edition, but was ruled out by, er, saner minds. What was it? LOONO BRUNO.










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