Dog watches dog 16.04.03

Splash has plenty of front

A-ha! thought Dog as this front page from The Herald arrived at the kennel. Is this a sign that Newsquest has already lost the plot with its newest acquisition? What a howler of a splash headline, misspelling Saddam’s name and getting its geography spectacularly awry.

But no, it is, in fact, the memorial issue dedicated to departing SMG chief executive Des Hudson, who is “fleeing the arrival of the victorious US troops headed by Gannett” Newsquest’s US owner. The spoof farewell drew heavily on insider barbs about the recent takeover of the publishing division by Gannett, and featured some heavy sarcasm about the role of Osama bin Flanagan, SMG’s publicity-shy chief executive Andrew Flanagan.

Hudson, who apparently planned a quiet departure from the company where he has been head of publishing for the past four years, is said to have taken the satire in good humour. Doubtless much cheered by his reported £500,000 bonus for seeing the sale through.

Dear PM, I don’t know if you remember…

Michael urton, editor of local government weekly the MJ (Municipal Journal) is not generally in the habit of writing to overseas prime ministers congratulating them on their appointments but in the case of this one he feels it is courtesy after spending an enjoyable lunch with him a few years ago.

The new PM in question is Zoran Zivkovic, Prime Minister of Serbia, who took over last month after his predecessor was assassinated.

Zivkovic comes from a local government background and used to be mayor of Nis, an industrial town in Serbia, as well as vice-president of the Serbian Radical Party then in opposition to Milosevic.

Burton recalls: “Five years ago Mr Zivkovic visited the Uk in his role as mayor to meet local government worthies. It was during a quiet period pre-Kosovo. The Foreign Office rang me and asked if I could meet Mr Zivkovic.

“He came to my office in London a bit late because he had been to Hamleys to buy some toys for his kids, and he, me and the interpreter went out for lunch. We had a fascinating chat about Serbian politics, the economy and, of course, Milosevic.

“Afterwards he sent me a charming letter in quaint English thanking me ‘for the useful experience I carry with me as a result of our conversation.’

“I knew he was a high-flyer but I did not expect him to become PM. I’ll drop him a line though he’s probably completely forgotten his meeting with me, having somewhat more pressing matters on his plate!”

Where have those army hands been?

Geraldo Rivera, self-aggrandising chat-show host-turned reporter for Fox News in the US, had a poor war. Booted out by the US military after drawing a map in the sand, giving away important strategic information, the buffoon nonetheless staged a farewell walkabout where he was seen warmly shaking hands with the troops.

But reporters from Minnesota’s Pioneer Press later, and somewhat primly, revealed that the soldiers’ enthusiastic handshaking was not quite all it seemed. “We later found a few who shook his hand had put those hands in unmentionable places. Army justice?”

Dog left sick as a parrot by Alastair

A root and branch review of the kennels’ sports intelligence gathering unit has been launched following Sunday’s London Marathon. Alert readers will recall Dog’s pledge that extra donations would be made if either BC Look East reporter Nick Parrott or the PM’s spokesman, Alastair Campbell, crossed the finish line in under four hours.

Kennel coffers would be safe, our experts assured us, since one would be dressed in a hot, sweaty parrot’s costume and the other was a fortysomething bloke with a dodgy knee and no athletic pedigree.

Fortunately, the stifling weather kept the big bird just outside the reckoning at a nonetheless impressive 4 hours 21 minutes. (“Perhaps next year one of your kennel colleagues would like to take the parrot on dressed as a dog?” challenges Parrott.) But Campbell crossed the line in 3 hours 53 minutes.

This has cost us money. Heads will roll.

You can still sponsor both at www.justgiving.com

Off to Baghdad!

The fierce rivalry raging in the south-east of England among press agencies has led to one fleeing the battlefield and opening a new office somewhere a bit quieter…Baghdad.

Kent News and Pictures boss Chris Eades went out to the Gulf when the war started. Now it is over he’s decided to set up Baghdad News and Pictures because he feels there is going to be a big demand for his work as correspondents return to their papers in the UK.

Rival agencies Ferrari Press Agency and Connors are making merry with the news. Said one: “There’s a rumour that Chris wants to offer the news editor’s job in Baghdad to a man looking for work –Iraq’s Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf.”

 

Before the war began, journalists in Baghdad were allowed to set up office in the ministry f Information to transmit their copy and pictures. But for some reason they have not been able to fathom, the ministry chose that moment to renovate the building. “It resembled a building site for the first couple of weeks,” said Mike Moore of the Daily Mirror. “We thought it a bit odd because it was going to be bombed at any minute.”

 

Editor’s secretary Rose Blackmore had a surprise in store when she went out for a slap-up meal to celebrate her retirement with her boss Mike Lowe, his deputy Stan Szecowka and managing editor Rob Stokes alongside Bristol Evening Post chief executive Alan Goode, himself a well respected former editor. For before the champagne was opened out popped a surprise package of editors she had once served…namely Eric Price, Brian Jones, Adrian Faber and Alan King, who took over as acting editor of the Evening Post on two occasions. The late Gordon Farnsworth was Rose’s first editor when she started on the newspaper 28 years ago. “They were all true gentlemen,” she said. “Even Lowe!”

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