The Scotsman diarist Simon Pia has recalled how the death of Fanny Blankers-Koen, the great Dutch athlete, has been stirring fond memories among the more mature of his subeditor colleagues. Shortly after the Dutchwoman, who was known as “The Flying Housewife”, starred at the 1948 Olympics, she appeared in Edinburgh to be greeted by the immortal Evening News headline: “Flying Fanny thrills thousands”.
Live and dangerous
Phone booths from the old Hampden press box have been added to the memorabilia at the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden thanks to Radio Clyde. Visitors can pick up the phones and hear recordings from 30 years of Clyde’s Superscoreboard programme.
Its one-time sports supremo and now managing director, Paul Cooney, recalls that one of his favourite reports was by a hapless hack in Aberdeen.
He was giving a half-time resumÃ© at Pittodrie when he suddenly and frantically announced: “And there’s trouble here on the pitch where someone has run on to the park and is being chased by a police dog and – oh my god – his arm has come off!” At this juncture, a seasoned hack gently explained that it was a half-time display by the Grampian Police dog handlers.
Dubya gives hacks a ribbing
Dog really has no idea what to make of this genuine page from the White House website. It’s a carefully documented exchange between the head of state and some journalists in a restaurant in New Mexico.
Freedom of information at its finest.
Lehmann makes a lemon of a pitch
An anonymous Dog fan forwarded this blatant attempt at vote rigging to the kennel inbox. It was a round-robin sent by a press officer from Lehmann Communications to journalists begging them to vote for the company in some or other awards.
“Don’t they realise that this is a dangerous e-mail to send out to our kind?” says our source. “I implore fellow journos who have received this to vote for someone else. Surely Ms Patel realises that an offer to do ‘(nearly) anything’ is not good enough to tempt most hacks? I was brought up to stick to the principle that only specific offers of used notes or sexual favours can begin the bargaining process…”
Dog recently told the story of staff at the Newsquest-owned Dorset Echo who were asked to buy a copy of the paper so that they could get a wall planner for the office.
This prompted another Dog fan to tell the kennel that the Daily Echo in Southampton produced a prestigious magazine to mark the naming of the Queen Mary 2. A copy was placed in every cabin on the maiden voyage of the liner and Echo readers were able to buy the 132-page magazine for a hefty £10, plus postage and packing.
Newsquest was so grateful to its staff for producing the magazine in just four days that it offered them a £2.50 discount should they want to buy their own work. However, its largesse was limited to only two copies per employee.
Perhaps it is not surprising that wags have nicknamed Gannett, Newsquest’s parent company, “Grab It”.
Lost illustrations tickle a memory
Dog’s story last week about the LS Lowry drawing may have solved a long-standing mystery for Press Gazette’s New York columnist Jeffrey Blyth.
Way back in the 1949-50 period when he was on the News Chronicle in Manchester the paper’s cartoonist either quit or was ill and its then Manchester editor Ralph McCarthy had the idea of asking Lowry to do a couple of pen-and-ink drawing to fill in the empty space. “I was the reporter who was asked to find Lowry’s address,” Blyth recalls.
“Lowry agreed and produced two or three drawings which did run in the Manchester edition.
Afterwards there was a search in the office for the originals.
“They couldn’t be found. Years later I told this to Ralph McCarthy,who by then was editor in London. He said: ‘I always thought you had them’.
“I wish I had. Possibly the Lowry that fetched so much at auction may have been one of the News Chron drawings.
Camelot deal pays off for eds
The £8.5 million lottery jackpot scooped by Abergavenny Chronicle editor Pat Griffiths, has Bob Satchwell rummaging through his accounts.
Society of Editors executive director Bob told Dog: “Pat is down as a member so we will be checking whether she had paid her subs.”
Ironically lottery operator Camelot was a major sponsor of the Society’s conference in London last year.
“As far as I know this is the first major win by an editor since that valuable partnership was set-up,” he said.
Rumours that this year’s conference is being switched from Newcastle to Abergavenny have been denied.
Dog’s paw is raised in appreciation of the Lincolnshire Citizen’s response to compact editions of The Independent and The Times.