Dog watches dog 22.01.04

Lowry picture draws a decent return

It’s a scene that many will easily be able to picture.

El Vino’s in Fleet Street. A convivial gathering of newspaper staff, raising a glass to one of their long-serving retiring brethren and handing over a small token of their esteem.

The year is 1955, and the journalist from the Manchester Guardian – as it was then – is no doubt chuffed to bits at the small pencil drawing that is presented to him. It’s by LS Lowry, an artist whose reputation is spreading, and is worth about £120.

Fast forward nearly half a century. The retired journalist’s family, who wish to remain anonymous, decide to sell the picture at Bonhams. It turns out that there is a matching oil painting of the scene, which is highly unusual because Lowry, famous for his “matchstick men” pictures, did not usually produce preparatory drawings for his work.

So imagine their delight when it fetches a far-from-skinny £47,800, bought by Selwyn Demmy, a Manchester bookie who also owns the oil “double” and will lend the sketch to the new Lowry Centre in Salford.

Not bad for a quick whipround.

Scots lose solitary sale in Ireland

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Irish circulation of The Scotsman has collapsed.

For some time, it seems, the average sale of the newspaper in the Republic amounted to a solitary copy. But during the second half of 2003, the average circulation dropped to zero.

The Irish Times reports that the Barclay brothers cannot disclose the location or name of the Scottish soul.

“But now,” says The Irish Times, “this unknown individual has disappeared, passed away, cut their links with the homeland, or dare it be said chosen a non-tartan newspaper.”

Anybody who knows where the mysterious Scot has gone is asked to contact the Current Account column in The Irish Times business section – and win a free haggis.

 

A mystery informer contacts Dog further to the story last week about a story on the Hull Daily Mail website which had been bylined as a “rare exclusive” by a “rubbishy court reporter”. Dog put it down to a mischievous sub.

“It seems you were misinformed,” says deep throat. “The reporter himself (Andrew McFarlane) had written the slur in the ‘notes’ field of the editorial system, which does not appear on the page.”

An unusual approach to bringing yourself to the editor’s attention.

 

Further evidence, were it needed, that the wheels are falling off No 10’s oncemighty media machine. A Christmas card, complete with charming picture of Tony’n’Cherie, was dispatched to the address as shown.

But should it have been destined for Keith Newbery, the Chichester Observer editor whose office is at Unicorn House in Eastgate Square? Or Keith Sutton, the Cumberland News editor whose office is approximately 372 miles away? Newbery said: “I had not considered myself to be top of Mr Blair’s Christmas card list, but you never know. It’s the thought that counts. Next year I’ll send him a nice festive snap of me in a jumper, just in case.” A disappointed Sutton said: “I did wonder where my card was this year. The Prime Minister is, of course, a regular of The Cumberland News, so I hope it wasn’t something we said.”

 

This delightful poem, apparently sent in by a reader, appeared in the Express & Star on 3 January. But it is not what it seems, and has led to much frenzied dashing about in head office to remove every copy from the shelves. Why? It has just been drawn to editor Adrian Faber’s attention that the first letter of every line spells out a rather different message.

 

The editor won’t be in… ever again

A whopping £8.5m. Now that’s what Dog calls a scoop.

It’s the sum collected by Pat Griffiths, editor of the weekly Abergavenny Chronicle in Monmouthshire, after winning the lottery jackpot.

Griffiths picked up the cheque for £8,485,162 with her husband Roger and two sons.

She said: “I never thought I’d make the headlines myself but I can’t think of a better way of doing it. I was very calm when I saw my numbers. I always thought they would come up one day.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the fact she was paid £20,000-a-year at the Tindle Newspapers title, she has decided not to return to work.

Making the headlines: the Chronicle’s Pat Griffiths

Her win beats the profits of her entire newspaper group in the latest financial year. Surrey-based Tindle Newspapers made £5.3m profit from its 128 newspapers across Britain.

Instead, she wants to help her husband run the family’s 148-acre hill farm, near Abergavenny, where they raise sheep and cattle.

Abergavenny Chronicle deputy editor Liz Davies said: “We are all delighted for her and grateful that she has given us a big story this week. I’m hoping she will come in to write it herself.”

 

 

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