Dog watches dog 23.09.04

Chopper chase spears splash for agency

It used to be that the hardened hack in pursuit of a hot tip would
leap into a taxi shouting “follow that car!”. These days, it’s a little
more high-tech, as the team of ex-pats from the Splash news agency in
Los Angeles discovered last week.

Agency boss Kevin Smith and photographer Tom Vickers were in a
helicopter following the limousine containing Britney Spears and fiancé
Kevin Federline having been tipped off they were on their way to get
married at a secret destination.

Unfortunately, they’d been in the air so long waiting, that they
began to run low on fuel. The pilot landed for a quick fuel stop at a
local airport, but by the time they were back in the air, there was no
sign of the limo.

“What now?” asked the pilot. Quick as a flash, Vickers spotted the
helicopter of a rival photographer from a US tabloid on the horizon and
shouted: “Follow that chopper!”.

It was worth it, too. Splash got the only snatched pictures (OK!
has reportedly paid $2m for the worldwide rights to the official ones)
of the couple in their fetching tracksuit-cumwedding outfits

For some journalists, writing three columns a week just isn’t enough
– they feel the need to contribute to online messageboards. And even to
share news of their trials and tribulations at work.

On Saturday, a user called “Glenn” posted this message at the Racing Forum website (www.theracingforum.co.uk):
“What happened to your column today, Zorro? I turned to p16 of the Post
and all I saw was a Betfair advert. Are they trying to tell us
something?” “Prufrock” then sympathised with Zorro, whose duties
include writing a Monday TV column.

“Zorro, you must have one of the most unenviable tasks in racing, being forced to watch some of this garbage.”

“Zorro” replied: “Glenn, thank you for asking. My column today got mugged by the lawyers.

Prufrock, it is tough. Soon though my long vigil will be over. I
have negotiated time off for bad behaviour and others are going to have
to suffer in my place.”

Who is the journalist hiding behind the moniker Zorro, Dog wonders?
Paul Haigh’s column failed to appear in Saturday’s Racing Post.

He also pens – at least, for now – “Haigh on TV” every Monday.

We discover Blair’s foxhole

The question they were all asking on Wednesday afternoon last week
was: Where was the Prime Minister when the landmark Commons debate on
fox hunting was taking place? One person who can answer that
unequivocally is Jewish Telegraph group editor Paul Harris, who at the
time was ensconced in Tony Blair’s Downing Street office with the PM,
conducting an exclusive interview.

And Harris was on hand when clearly ruffled No 10 press supremo
David Hill burst in on the interview to break the news of the anti-hunt
protesters’ invasion of the Commons.

During their session, Blair promised officially to open the Telegraph’s newly refurbished Manchester head office next year.

McPherson puts his foot in it with commentary filler

Perhaps Scottish Television’s veteran football commentator Archie
McPherson should be seriously contemplating hanging up his microphone.

Desperately filling in time because the kick-off for the Champions
League match between Celtic and Barcelona had been delayed to allow the
crowd to get in safely, the hapless McPherson quizzed panellist pundit
Kenny Dalgleish on whether he had ever been involved in any major
pre-match delays.

The former Liverpool manager and captain turned a whiter shade of
pale at McPherson’s extraordinary gaffe – hardly surprising for a man
who had experienced the unspeakable horrors of both the Heysel and
Hillsborough tragedies.

Recognised by-lineage

The fact that page 61 of last Friday’s issue of The Sun had two
picture bylines may not be worthy of great note – but the identity of
the respective journalists might.

Freelance theatre reviewer Bill Hagerty’s review of the Woman in
White appears underneath that of Will Hagerty’s piece about the DVD
release of the StarWars Trilogy. The latter is the paper’s deputy night
editor – and also the son of the former.

Could it be a first? Dog would like to hear from anyone who thinks otherwise.

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