Full inquiry into ‘sexing-down’ claim
The voice on the end of the phone was muffled and very quiet, so
when Camden New Journal editor Eric Gordon received a call from someone
claiming to be Alastair Campbell, he thought it was someone fooling
But it was Blair’s director of communications, phoning from the
South of France where he was on holiday, to complain about a mistake in
the free newspaper’s sports report of a race his son, 15-year-old Rory,
had taken part in.
It seems the sports pages are the first the Campbell family, who
live in the borough, turn to, and Campbell was unhappy that Rory – a
“promising” athlete who runs for the Highgate Harriers – was down as
having come second in a 1,500 metre race with a personal best of four
minutes, 21.08 seconds – when in fact it was four minutes 17.08 seconds.
In the newspaper’s diary pages “John Gulliver” ruminated that
Campbell, who was “quite pleasant” about the matter, could reasonably
be expected to have other things on his mind. Was his concern over the
matter of “a few seconds” a sign that he was perhaps a little edgy
about his appearance before the Hutton inquiry.
Or was it a rare insight into Campbell, the family man? “He’s obviously a devoted father and very keen,” said Gordon.
Still, Dog demands nothing less than a full-scale inquiry into the Journal’s disgraceful “sexing down” of its sports results.
Journalism: truly a global game
If anybody’s in any doubt that journalism is a truly international
operation, how about this from PA’s football service? Its reports from
the German Bundesliga resumed last week with the usual live scores and
But, in a new service this season, those scores, sent in by German
correspondents to PA’s sports HQ in Howden, Yorkshire, were being
translated into traditional and simplified Chinese and sent to mobile
phone operators in Hong Kong.
The Sunday Times is looking out for new reporters – and it isn’t
looking very far. Mainly in the direction of The Sunday Telegraph, Dog
At least three Sunday Telegraph staff are said to have been
approached: pictured from left, Chris Hastings, Daniel Foggo and Tim
Walker, who compiles the Mandrake diary. Editor Dominic Lawson must be
torn between ire for the poaching attempts and flattery that his team
is so coveted.
Mirror reflects Observer exclusive
Good to see the nationals catching up with Dog’s groundbreaking campaign for real exclusives.
EXCLUSIVE CLAIM: £2 for a ticket. Daily Mirror, Tuesday, 5 August
FIRST SIGHTING: It’s A Lotto More, The Observer Business section, Sunday, 3 August
NOMINATED BY: Observer Media diary
NOMINATOR’S COMMENT: “Piers, we know it’s August, but may we remind
you, dear heart, that ‘exclusive’ actually means ‘you read it here
first’. Not, ‘you read it first in Observer Business two days
previously, then we ripped it off and you read it here first again in
the Daily Mirror’.”
DOG EXCLUSIVITY RATING: 4/100
A page makes all the difference
What a difference a page or two makes. On the first page of The
Sunday Times sports section last weekend “Ray Harford, the former
Fulham, Luton and Blackburn manager, lost his long fight against
On page three, in a fuller obit, “he died after a mercifully
short battle with cancer”. As “one of the funniest men in football in
congenial company” he would have been wryly amused by his conflicting
Oxford Courier group editor Lawrence Webb signed up to The Independent’s daily news bulletin.
This is what he was sent. Dog knows that news can be hard to come by
in August, but couldn’t the team have tried just a little bit harder? A
note at the bottom reads: “If you think anything in this newsletter may
be of interest to a friend, why not e-mail it on to them?”