REMEMBER how I told you that my newsman’s nose had detected the stench of a big sacking lingering over the Evening Beast? Well it turns out that the target wasn’t me, but the Eminence Grease, our loathed managing director.
I didn’t even know it had happened. I was in the newsroom when my mobile went. It was the Gomez Addams lookalike calling from a phone box down the road, explaining that he’d been bin-bagged not 10 minutes earlier and left to walk off our terrible industrial estate in search of a taxi. They’d given him five minutes to gather his personal effects and had taken his mobile phone and car keys off him before escorting him to the door.
I’ve never really understood why people are treated like that (apart from the odious Piers Morgan who, incidentally, still owes me two grand). What’s the harm in allowing the victim a bit of dignity and 24 hours to sort themselves out? It’s not as if there’s a nuclear button that can be pressed in anger. There’s no printing press to chuck a spanner in, no havoc to be wreaked. The worst that could happen is that the departing MD might cancel a vital order for paper clips out of spite.
Even the outgoing Prime Minster is granted enough time to clear the porn off his PC and squirrel away his black file of incriminating evidence about his enemies. (Mine’s a belter. I’ve just had a quick flick through and I could easily bring down five editors, three MDs, several ad directors and a Bishop.)
Despite his daily impersonation of a human oil-slick, I was sad to see the back of the Eminence Grease. Yes, he could smarm for England, but at least he came from an advertising background and therefore had a basic grasp of how newspapers worked.
He never asked too many difficult questions about expense claims, turned a blind eye when he knew damn well that I was fiddling the head-count to protect the needy, and let an editorial kangaroo court sort out most disciplinary matters, rather than calling in the group HR Gestapo. Yes, he might have been an oleaginous bastard, but he was our oleaginous bastard.
From what I can gather, we’re to be managed by some bloke 30 miles up the road who already has three daily titles and a slurry of weeklies under his beady eye. He is, inevitably, a grey-suited, teetotal bean-counter. This does not bode well.
How is someone supposed to make life-and-death decisions about a fast-moving daily newspaper business when they’re not even on site? Who, for instance, is next in the chain of command? When it comes to the hierarchy there’s just me, Dodgy Den the ad director, and a fat female accountant with cats and a BO problem. Who will be the link with the boss man? Who will get to put the spin on the daily phone call?
I go back to my black file. I’m sure I’ve got something on Dodgy Den the ad director in there.
This is an extract from the April column. For the full version, subscribe to Press Gazette via links on this site, you free-loading bastards.