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MY APPRECIATION of newspaper sales execs last week omitted to mention another of the ‘black arts’ these splendid chaps were masters of, and that was fiddling the figures. Luckily, along came an embarrassing internal memo from Archant highlighting that particular attribute.
It appears that Archant Anglia circulation director Don Williamson, due to retire anyway this month, has been sacked after dodgy sales figures were discovered while he was on holiday.
A while ago I found myself in a meeting with a bunch of tieless twats desperately arguing that to stick all our content up on the website for free was commercial suicide. ‘But why not?’the whizzkids bleated. ‘Other newspapers do it and it hasn’t done them any harm. Look at Norwich. They’re up seven per cent.”
‘Well of course they are,’I answered. ‘But only because they’re fiddling their figures.”
Asked to explain, I could only point out that just about every other regional daily was down between six and 10 per cent, yet there in Norfolk, with no known revolutionary sales tactics or clever gimmicks, they’d managed to buck the trend in quite remarkable fashion.
‘So what do you think is happening?’I asked. The suits, newly-arrived innocents unused to such blatant chicanery, just looked at me blankly and went back to discussing how best to destroy our business.
AN INTERESTING sidebar on the Prince Harry story was the reaction of the Guardian. The Sun prevaricated over publishing the bollock-clutching pictures and made do with a ‘picture posed by models’ version featuring two of its own staff, one of whom happened to be a nubile, 21-year-old, blonde fashion ‘intern’ by the name of Sophie Henderson.
Within a couple of hours a story popped up on the Guardian website headed: ‘Sun denies it pressured intern to strip for Prince Harry front page.’So who said that they did? Well curiously the answer seemed to be â€¦ err â€¦ no one. No one at all. That’s nobody. The Sun’s pair of posers even went as far as to issue a statement saying that they were happy to take off their clothes for the picture.
Sadly this didn’t deter the Guardian’s ruthless wimmin from pursuing their agenda and a second website piece soon appeared condemning the newspaper’s behaviour and claiming that ‘Getting an intern to pose naked â€¦ shows the depths to which the male-dominated media can sink”.
The article, written by Lara Whyte, soon degenerated into the same old weary diatribe, noting that ‘mixing young, eager-to-please interns with older men in positions of power can be a foul cocktail”. Well that’s us told then. We’re apparently all imminent sex offenders. There then followed well over 700 frothing comments, mainly from women who probably wouldn’t thank you if you gave them a Philips Ladyshave for Christmas.
Now look, I’ve had a quick glance at Ms Henderson’s Bookface page, or whatever it’s called. She does not strike me as being a shrinking violet and I would imagine that if she didn’t want to pose for the picture, the hapless executive who made the request would have soon been dispatched clutching his privates in much the same manner as the Prince. Either way, I bet she isn’t still an intern 12 months from now…