Back Issues 10.07.03

you must be hoaxing

Infamous Fleet Street hoaxer Michael “Rocky” Ryan had been bound over by magistrates for making threatening phone calls to Observer editor Donald Trelford. Described by Press Gazette as “the news editor’s nightmare” for his supply of dud stories, Ryan was involved in a scuffle outside the court with a photographer who was trying to snatch a picture. Ryan defiantly told reporters: “I’m not a hoaxer – I just make up stories.”

sex stories are scandalous

A Sunday Sport advice column contained explicitly salacious sexual fantasies which had no place in a newspaper, the Press Council ruled. Reader Patricia Hussey complained that a letter headlined “Dad’s on the job with my best pal” purported to be from a schoolgirl who found her father making love to a classmate. Hussey said the letter was clearly not genuine and suspected a man had written it. Sunday Sport editor Drew Robertson said letters published in the paper were genuine and the more bizarre ones were censored but some slipped through the net. Hussey said that the net must have “the most enormous mesh”.

one-day protest

BBC local radio journalists in England were holding a one-day strike in protest at a 10 per cent cut in budgets which had led to the loss of 96 jobs.

snake bite

The chief photographer of the Bournemouth Evening Echo had been bitten by a python. Duncan Lee was taking pictures of a wildlife expert showing his exotic collection to school children when he got too close – and the python struck. Lee went on to cover two more jobs before phoning Poole Hospital. He was told to come in immediately. Python bites are not poisonous but like dog bites should be treated quickly. Press Gazette reported Lee was doing well “but there is no word yet from the other reptile”.

skin opener

Another journalist in the wars was Jamie Pyatt who, in his first week as The Sun’s new Thames Valley correspondent, cut an artery in his hand. Pyatt caused the injury using an old-fashioned plunger tin opener. His first call, as he was wheeled out of a Slough Hospital operating theatre, was not from his mum but The Sun newsdesk about a story. Pyatt rushed home and filed his copy, about sprinter Linford Christie, which made the Sun’s splash.

plans for Sunday indy

The Independent was preparing to launch a Sunday version – creating 40 new jobs for journalists. A final decision to go-ahead with The Independent on Sunday was to be taken in January, by Independent editor and founder Andreas Whittam-Smith. Some believed the decision had been prompted by the news that another new quality Sunday was being planned by a company set-up by David Lipsey, Douglas Long and David Blake. This was the short-lived Sunday Correspondent, which launched in September 1989 and folded in November 1990. The Independent on Sunday launched in January 1990 and was seen as one of the reasons the Correspondent failed.

journalistic terrorism

Outspoken host of Channel 4’s Media Show, Muriel Gray, was spitting fire at The Sun. She told Edinburgh magazine The Cut: “If I could advise the Scottish people to do anything, I’d advise them to get down to the plant where The Sun is printed and firebomb it. I’d like to see journalistic terrorism where they’d keep setting fire to Murdoch’s printing plants, all over the country, all the time.”

Q is a smash hit

Emap Metro had released record circulation figures for Q and Smash Hits. Q was up a massive 66 per cent year-on-year with a circulation of 79,713 while Smash Hits and broken through the 600,000 barrier. How the two magazines’ fortunes have changed. Q, with a circulation of 180,215 outsells, Smash Hits which has dropped to 145,174. n

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