Dog watches dog 17.06.05

SECRET POTTER INFO – START THE BIDDING

Perhaps unaware of the extraordinarily wideranging injunction that
prevents pretty much anyone revealing pretty much anything about JK
Rowling’s latest Harry Potter adventure, a Deep Throat has contacted
the kennel with the following enticing offer: “What if you could find
out about the final Harry Potter book.

“How much is it worth to you? It’s not a secret, if it’s out there
for everyone to see. I can lead you to it, and you’ll kick yourselves
to not have looked there before this. If interested, just reply with a
price. Bye.”

The mystery mole has left an email address, but so
far, Dog’s offer of a fiver and a packet of Harry Potter stickers has
been met with stony silence.

But if The Sun’s John Askell, who
has already dodged a bullet in pursuit of the story, wants to step in
with a bigger offer, it’s all yours John.

In fact if you give us a call, we’ll pass on the email address with another possible clue…

Want to know more about the next one?

Better get your chequebook out

Train delays due to essential stupidity

The April/May edition of Livewire, the in-carriage magazine for
passengers on GNER trains, included a fascinating article on the train
company’s control centre in York. The piece was illustrated with a
series of photographs of the high-tech facility, one of which clearly
showed a whiteboard in the background with some unusual looking words
on it.

These, as many computer-savvy passengers may have guessed, turned
out to be the computer passwords for the control centre’s mainframe
computer. For hackers, it was the equivalent of someone leaving the
keys in the lock.

Red-faced IT bosses at the company had to
change the passwords pronto – but Dog would have loved to hear the
platform announcers trying to explain those delays away.

Will the owners of this Pet Idol competition please bark now

Regional newspapers are well used to their best ideas turning up in
the nationals – as Dog fans who remember the 80s Bingo wars will
testify.

But The Daily Mirror’s launch last week of its Pet Idol competition sparked a rush to claim the original idea.

Journalists
at Surrey Herald Newspapers, part of the very same group as the Mirror
crowed: “It comes months after we ran our own Pet Idol competition. Our
eventual winner was a dog so ugly, readers rang in to ask if the voting
had been rigged.”

If they’d looked back a little further they’d
have read in Press Gazette (in March) about the Accrington Observer’s
sales success when it ran a cute animal competition called, you guessed
it … Pet Idol.

But Accrington Observer editor Mervyn Kay
subsequently sheepishly admitted: “Well, we actually nicked it from The
Gazette in Blackpool.” And indeed the seaside title won a Newspaper
Society award for its Pet Idol competition way back in March 2004.

But if anyone knows of an older claim, Dog is all ears.

Emap should pay more for SRH, says … Emap

Pressure on Emap to raise its bid of £10.40p per share to
£11-£11.50p to get hold of the remaining 72 per cent of Scottish Radio
Holdings has come from an interesting source.

In the latest issue of a certain trade magazine, a media analyst
says the higher figure is probably fair value for the shares in SRH,
which owns a string of commercial radio stations and 44 newspapers in
the UK and Ireland.

It’s no doubt slightly galling for Emap’s
chief executive, Tom Moloney, to see the shares being talked up. But
perhaps even more so since the mag in question is Broadcast, published
by, er, Emap.

Still, good to see he respects editorial independence.

Glenys: my ‘irrelevant’ hubby

What a pity it is that Dog was unable to leave his Croydon kennel to
get to Barbados this week to attend the Institute of Travel &
Tourism’s conference.

At the conference one of the highlights was sure to be Travel Weekly
editor Martin Lane chairing a discussion on ethical tourism with guest
speaker Glenys Kinnock, MEP.

Previewing the event last week, an
unbylined Travel Weekly exclusive referred to Mrs Kinnock as “the wife
of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock”.

This did not go down well
with the Welsh windbag’s other half, who sent off a quite ballistic
email to the magazine, according to our mole in Brussels.

Ms
Kinnock pointed out that her being the wife of the former Labour leader
was “irrelevant” and that more “experienced” journalists never referred
to this relationship.

Still, it could have been worse for poor
Glenys. They could have called her, correctly, Lady Kinnock, the title
she was lumbered with simply because hubby Neil was elevated to the
House of Lords.

Question: How many times can you get the smiling face of your
competition sponsor in a twopage spread? Answer: 12, if you’re the Bury
Free Press
 
Bust-up at Scottish committee meeting
 
Word reaches the kennel of a bit of a bust-up at the Editors Committee of the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society last week.

At the meeting the Scottish Sun’s Rob Dalton complained bitterly
that indigenous titles were favoured in the Scottish Press Awards, and
that the Scottish editions which have counterparts published down south
weren’t getting a look in.

Cue a spot of verbals from Bruce
Waddell of The Record (and, of course Dalton’s predecessor at The Sun),
who gave Dalton something of a savaging.

Dog is delighted to hear that it’s not just the British Press Awards that makes editors’ blood boil.

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