Back Issues 02.12.04

Jon Slattery trawls the archives to look at what was making Press Gazette headlines in 12.94



Birds of a Feather stars Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson were having a go at journalism for the BBC documentary Jobs for the Girls . As part of the programme they were on assignment for The Guardian . Their mentor, Andrew Neil, tried to calm their nerves by telling them: “Everyone is at their best with just that little bit of tension and feeling that they are up against it.”


An extreme right-wing group had threatened to blow up the offices of the Evening Argus. A caller to the news desk also claimed that Combat 18 had been behind an arson attack on Argus reporter Simon Tegal’s home. Tegal had written articles exposing the activities of rightwing groups.


The Sunday Times announced it was to disband its Insight investigative team which had just won “Scoop of the Year” for its MPs cash for questions story. Insight team leader Ma urice Chittenden was being made chief reporter, Mark Skipworth was appointed deputy news editor, Jonathan Calvert was off to The Observer and Randeep Ramesh had joined the business section. New Insight team leader was Frank Ka ne, the paper’s deputy city editor. Kane said: “It is one of the biggest jobs in British journalism, with a long and glorious tradition.”


The News of the World and Yorkshire on Sunday were defending their actions in naming an £18 million lottery winner from Blackburn. Their revelations were criticised by Blackburn MP Jack Straw. NoW editor Piers Morgan said: “It is totally unrealistic for anyone to think that the identity of the winner of £18 million in the National Lottery can be kept secret. If you pay £1 for a lottery ticket you are entitled to know who wins the jackpot.” YoS editor Mike Glover added: “The press has quite enough restrictions on it, and who are we to invent new ways of gagging ourselves?” Glover maintained that the winner’s name was common knowledge in Blackburn.


The Radio Authority had fined Virgin Radio £20,000 over a broadcast describing what the RA called “scatological sexual practices” – urination during sex. The words complained of were made by a listener in a phone-in.


November sales figures for the national newspaper showed that in 1994 the popular dailies were averaging sales of 8,033,192. This compares to 6,403,017 for November 2004. Top dog was the Sun with sales of 4.3 million. It is still number one, but with sales of 3.3 million.


David Aaronovich had quit the BBC to join The Independent as chief leader writer. Aaronovich quipped: “People have been telling me for years I speak in leaders.” He made such a big impression at The Independent that he was poached by The Guardian .


Industry minister Tim Eggar had approved the takeover of the Nottingham Evening Post by the Daily Mail and General Trust. The £92 million deal went through despite a Monopolies and Mergers Commission report coming out against the takeover. It argued that DM&GT’s Northcliffe titles in the East Midlands gave it too heavy a concentration of newspapers in the region. In a submission to Eggar, 54 of the Evening Post’s 91 journalists supported the deal.

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