Dog watches dog 20.03.03

‘I’m number one’ -JC

We’ll have more pictures from the British Press Awards next week, but here’s a quick taster: Jeremy Clarkson, right, joyfully signalling his delight at becoming Motoring Writer of the Year, to the respectful applause of his magnanimous rivals. His thoughtful gesture says it all: I may be number one this time lads, but we’re all in this crazy business together.

Undoubted highlight of the night, though, was the baffling acceptance speech from The Sunday Times’s Waldemar Januszczak. The boos and “gerroffs” grew louder as he rambled on, but by the time his diatribe got to the fact that The Guardian is a right-wing confederacy run by MI5 (or was it MFI?), the crowd was baying for his blood like a crowd at the Colosseum. Critic of the Year gets jeered off the stage. How beautiful is that?

For a webcast of his bizarre outpourings, go to www.Pressgazette.co.uk and click on “webcasts”.

Liverpool lesson learnt the hard way

Football’s so-called “Battle of Britain” (part one) between Liverpool and Celtic in the quarter-final of the Uefa Cup got underway in Glasgow last week. This week’s return leg will bring back dastardly memories for The Herald’s chief sports writer Graham Spiers, who when the clubs last clashed at European level, had a fraught journey to Merseyside – arriving at Anfield seven minutes before kick-off and forced to abandon his car outside.

Seeking his pre-booked press ticket, he was told: “Sorry. Someone claiming to be you turned up two hours ago and took it.” The by-now panic-stricken Spiers eventually talked his way into the press box but later discovered the local constabulary had towed away his car which cost him £120 to retrieve.

A week later he received an epistle signed by a Mr Gerry McGeever, saying: “Thank you very much for the loan of your ticket for the Anfield match. Had absolutely splendid time. Hope you weren’t inconvenienced.” Spiers, a devout Christian, eventually forgave the entrepreneurial McGeever but Dog suspects he will have set off in good time to make bloody sure he got to Anfield.

NI trays are gone astray

Sounds like a case for Knacker of the Yard –or perhaps News of the World investigations editor Mazher Mahmood –at Fortress Wapping. Fib=ve hundred wooden trays have gone missing from the News international canteen in the last few months.

And canteen bosses are so anxious to get back the missing trays that they have declared an amnesty. So if anyone at Rupert Murdoch’s HQ has built a garden shed out of the wooden trays but is now feeling guilt-stricken, now is the time to return them, no questions asked.

There is a hint in the latest issue of staff newspaper The News (nicknamed The Wapping Liar by some cynical NI employees) that drastic action could be taken by canteen chiefs if the trays are not returned.

The latest Recipe of the Month is Killer Kidney Bean Kiev. Now is that a veiled threat or what?

It’s an easy mistake

If Dog’s movements seem a little sluggish this week, it’s because of the large portions of humble pie that have been consumed. A number of gleeful spotters pointed out that last week’s picture on PG’s page four was not, as captioned, the Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith, but rather the Lord Chancellor, Derry Irvine. Scapegoats have been identified and we wish them all the best in their new careers.

In light of the above, Dog sympathises with anybody who gets their pictures mixed up, but still can’t resist sharing this one from the South Wales Echo. Was that really a picture of Sharon Stone in the “Born on this day” slot last week, a reader wondered? No, actually it was the, er, almost-as-gorgeous Christine Hamilton.

Top of their game

A question that sometimes keeps Dog awake at night – when not pondering the Iraqi crisis – is this: which showbiz journalists know most about the industry they cover?

Fortunately, digital TV channel Challenge is on hand with the answer, following its quiz evening at London’s CafŽ de Paris.

The answer, it turns out, is the team at TV & Satellite Week, who tipped Liquid News’s finest for the trophy. The Sunday Mirror, tied for third place with TV Quick and TV Choice, was the best showing newspaper Ð just ahead of Heat. But, oh dear, who’s this bringing up the rear in 40th spot? Shame on you, the Daily Star. Or did the free bar have anything to do with your performance?

Meehan keeps a special eye on Gulf

One editor who’ll be watching the unfolding events in Iraq with more than the usual anxiety is the Hull Daily Mail’s John Meehan.

His concern about the 45 Territorial Army soldiers heading Gulfwards from west Hull’s Wenlock Barracks goes beyond that of the regional newspaper editor worried about his readers.

That’s because among them is Captain Natalie Baker, who has been selected because of her medical expertise. She’ll be just behind the front line, and will tend to the casualties – potentially from both sides – before sending them on to be treated at field hospitals. She also happens to be Meehan’s fiancŽe – so plans for their June wedding have had to go on hold.

Dog wishes Natalie – and indeed all those heading for the Gulf – a safe and speedy return.

‘I can stratch the itch’

The media pages of The Guardian have come up with a brilliant new verb: to stratch. Dog assumes it’s that movement you make when you get out of bed, a combination of stretching and scratching.

The good folks at British Baker magazine contacted the kennel brandishing what they think may be a record for slapdash journalism. It’s a piece from the Sunday Mirror poking fun at awards ceremonies, in which the entry for Cake Maker of the Year contains an impressive three errors in just 40 words, in this case the name of the organisation handing out the award, the number of people attending the ceremony and the description of the cake sculpture itself. That’s an error-to-word count percentage of 7.5. Is this, the fuming BBers wonder, a record? Dog would be interested in hearing of other contenders. And why does the Sunday Mirror have such a downer on awards ceremonies anyway? Let’s take a look at the British Press Awards roll of honour this week… A-ha! – we have our answer.

In his splendid Seven Days column in this very magazine two weeks ago, Aberdeen Press & Journal editor Derek Tucker, above, noted his displeasure about his paper being scooped on a story: “I am decidedly unhappy and make my views known.” Inspired by the mauling, his team redoubled its efforts to get ahead of the rest of the pack – and with one story beat the nation by weeks. Unfortunately, the scoop in question, which ran on Friday, 7 March, was a reminder for readers to put their clocks forward for British summertime that weekend – some 23 days before BST actually begins.

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