Back Issues 01.05.03

Observer’s new owner

There was relief at The Observer after it was finally sold by Lonrho to Guardian Media Group, although some redundancies were expected. Staff had voted to support the GMG bid against one from the owners of The Independent, which could have led to a merger between The Observer and The Independent on Sunday. Observer editor Donald Trelford was to leave once the deal was completed. There was speculation that he would be succeeded by Guardian deputy editor Jonathan Fenby or features editor Alan Rusbridger. It was Fenby who was appointed but Rusbridger succeeded him as deputy. Guardian editor Peter Preston described the two papers as “natural partners”.

Grimsby gets ‘Lamont quits’ exclusive

It was the Scoop of the Year – and it came from a junior reporter on the Grimsby Evening Telegraph. Clare Henderson beat Fleet Street’s finest and the country’s top political journalists by revealing that Norman Lamont had resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Her source? Lamont’s 82-year-old mother Irene, who lived in Grimsby and had been told by her son he was quitting. Henderson told Press Gazette: “I have known Mrs Lamont for about six months and interviewed her a number of times. She told me Norman had phoned her and said he’d resigned.” Editor Peter Moore admitted it wasn’t every day that a Telegraph story moved the pound.

Foot steps back to eye

Paul Foot had returned to Private Eye after his bust-up at the Daily Mirror when the company pulled his column criticising the management of the paper under David Montgomery. Foot said: “I had a very good run at the Mirror, was extremely well treated there by three editors who protected me against the proprietors, but in the end the proprietors got me. Increasingly, the Eye is the only place where there’s any sort of free publishing.”

Fag woman’s complaint succeeds

A woman who was photographed in public smoking a cigarette had her complaint about invasion of privacy against Scotland on Sunday upheld by the Press Complaints Commission. The picture, taken without permission, was later used to illustrate an article in SoS headlined “The girls who are dying for a fag”.

Spying row at Reed

The NUJ chapel at Reed Business Publishing was planning a protest after claiming the company had introduced a “spy-on-the-screen” computer program which could monitor the number of words written and subbed by individual journalists. Reed denied the spying charge and claimed the program was only used by editors and was not being collated across the company.

Photographer killed in blast

Tributes were paid to freelance photographer Ed Henty, 34, killed as he covered an IRA bomb blast in the City of London while on a News of the World shift. He was 20 yards from the explosion and died from multiple injuries. NoW picture editor Ian Bradley said: “Ed was one of the best news and investigative photographers I’ve worked with. He’ll be missed by me and by all his colleagues.”

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