Dog watches dog 03.04.03

Britney baby…no more lime!

Full respect is due to The Sun sub who held their hands up after headlining this story about pop princess Britney Spears, after she was snapped wearing a hideous green dress.

The final par of the story reads: “The Sun would like to apologise for the poor-quality headline on this page. This is for reasons beyond our control, ie, Britney’s only had two hits anyone can remember and there are only so many gags you can get from them.”

Actually Dog reckons it was a good effort – but invites its readers to send in any alternative headlines that The Sun sub-editor could have used, and not had to apologise for, to dog@pressgazette.co.uk.

KoS readers left behind the times

If the good people of Kent were wandering around their garden centres looking a little dazed and confused last weekend, we know who to blame.

Kent on Sunday had helpfully remembered that it was the start of British Summer Time and knew that meant everyone had to change their clocks. Slightly less helpfully, however, it got the direction of change a little muddled up.

“Don’t forget the clocks go back one hour this weekend,” said the reminder in the newspaper, with a useful little diagram to demonstrate.

On and off piste victories for skiing journalists

At last, some sporting news to cheer the heart. For the first time in the 49-year history of the International Ski Club of Journalists, the British broke their medal famine by winning a bronze in the giant slalom.

Freelance television director Juliette Hall, speedy daughter of veteran Fleet Street showbiz writer William Hall and photographer Jean Hall, pipped her parents to the podium at the meeting in Les Diablerets, Switzerland, last week.

The senior Halls both came last in their individual categories – Jean’s excuse was a close encounter with the safety netting – but glowed with pride at Juliette’s “Oscar” acceptance speech.

UK-based Kiwi Steve Pearson found himself elected an honorary member of the Slovenian team after heroically pulling himself out of the race to rescue Romanian Liana Ionescu after she crashed heavily and had to go to hospital to have her temple stitched, but Steve stayed with her and brought her back to the hotel.

He was duly awarded her place in the women’s section after Liana persuaded the willing organisers, Adecco, that this was in the best traditions of the club, set up to foster relations between journalists during the Cold War.

Marathon man Nick as a Parrot

BBC Look East reporter Nick Parrot will be living up to his name later this month when he runs in the London Marathon dressed as his namesake bird. And he hopes to add the PM’s official spokesman, Alastair Campbell, to his list of scalps, raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care in the process.

Parrot also ran the 2001 London Marathon dressed in the same costume and finished ahead of sporting legends including Sir Steven Redgrave, er, BBC colleague Jeremy Bowen and, ahem, Trude Mostue from Vets in Practice. “I hope to improve by at least half an hour this year,” he says of his time of 4 hours 54 minutes.

Now far be it from Dog to sing the praises of this kennel, but two of its inmates beat the four hour mark in their outing last year – although unencumbered by feathered costumes. But if the parrot, or indeed the Campbell (who is running in memory of Observer journalist John Merritt for leukaemia research), can better their mark, Dog will make an extra donation to their causes.

If you’d like to sponsor the pair, go to www.justgiving.com/triplechallenge (for Parrot) or www.justgiving.com/alastaircampbell

Bill always puts Blackburn first

Over at London’s swanky Lanesborough hotel, Dog enjoyed a delightful lunch chatting earnestly about foreign policy with Jack Straw. (Well OK, since you mention it, there were a hundred or so other regional newspaper executives there, courtesy of the Newspaper Society).

Brendan Carlin, who is chair of the Newspaper Conference (the NS’s collection of political correspondents and London editors), was there to welcome the Foreign Secretary.

According to Carlin, Straw has gone on record with his nomination for the position of “most important journalist in the world”. It’s a man whose 7am calls are so much part of his routine that Straw has been able to dispense with an alarm clock.

But the subject of his calls is not usually anything to do with the diplomatic relations of the nations of the world.

Even when war is raging, the calls will not be about the strike on Baghdad, nor about the strike on Basra but about the strike in Blackburn by local binmen.

Yes, step forward Bill Jacobs, left, the Lancashire Evening Telegraph’s political correspondent, making his regular checks on behalf of readers in Straw’s Blackburn constituency.

“Calling him the most important journalist in the world may well be preaching to the converted as far as the individual himself is concerned,” Carlin told Straw, “but when it comes to waking up in the morning with Bill Jacobs, rather you than me.”

By George, it’s Omaar

When Rageh Omaar, right, was sent to Baghdad by the BBC to cover the war in Iraq, he probably didn’t expect to receive the gushing accolades that appeared in The Times last week. The report says that Omaar’s appearance has added to the debate about the war among Britain’s female population.

Apparently, Omaar “does it for most women”, and at some point he is “bound to wear a flak jacket – the reporter’s equivalent of a Ferrari when it comes to pulling. George Clooney, hitherto the thinking woman’s only aesthetically pleasing mouthpiece on the war, is about to be given a run for his money.”

Dog thinks Omaar probably has enough on his mind without the added pressure of shaping up as top Times totty.

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