Back Issues 17.07.03

miss-taken identity

The Globe & Mail in Toronto had given in to pressure from feminists angered by the newspaper’s decision to rename a section of the paper Women’s Globe & Mail. The feminists claimed the renaming of the section, which dealt with recipes and fashions, was “sexual stereo-typing”. The newspaper responded by giving the section another new title – The Thursday Section.

racist symbol was unnecessary

The Press Council upheld a complaint against the NUJ’s magazine, The Journalist, for using a swastika in a headline over a story about an industrial tribunal backing the union’s right to refuse membership to a writer of racist material. The Press Council ruled that, although the tribunal did refer to the complainant David McCladen’s views on racism, this did not justify the use of a swastika in the headline.

Disaster strikes

Press Gazette, looking back at the previous month, June 1978, described it as a “disaster” for the national press because of the huge number of copies lost due to industrial action. June added another four million to the toll of 64,110,000 copies lost of daily and Sunday nationals in the first six months of 1978. In June only three newspapers, the Daily Mirror, The Guardian and Financial Times had clear runs.

Four million-plus readers

The Sun sales were soaring and reached more than four million. Its average sales for the six months to the end of June 1978 were 3,722,731 – just behind the Daily Mirror’s figure of 3,844,592.

Mirror ‘out of touch’

Journalists on the South Wales Echo in Cardiff had accused the Daily Mirror of bad taste and intrusion into grief. They objected to a centre page spread photograph of the Aberfan disaster as part of a series to mark the golden jubilee of photographer Freddie Reed. Echo journalist John O’Sullivan said: “Our colleagues in Fleet Street are completely out of touch with the feelings of Aberfan. The parents and relatives of the 116 children and 28 adults who died are still struggling to overcome the tragedy of that October day in 1966.”

Testing times

The Daily Mail had bought up the story of Britain’s first test-tube baby, provoking a row about ethics with the rest of the press and within the National Health Service. Press Gazette reported that the Mail initially had the story so tightly sewn-up that even press inquiries to the hospital switchboard were referred to the paper.

The Mail was rumoured to have paid £325,000 for its exclusive. The Guardian attacked the exclusive Mail deal, saying the Oldham Hospital where the baby was to be born was a public hospital and the test-tube research carried out by gynaecologist Patrick Steptoe had been financed by public funds. It said the Department of Health should remind the Oldham health authorities that they had a duty to inform everybody about the progress of the birth. Eric Price, editor of the parents’ local newspaper, the Western Daily Press, raged in a leader: “The buying-up of news by one newspaper group, to deny it to others, is a corruption of our heritage of freedom of speech.” The Daily Express was crowing that it had scooped the rest of the press by breaking the story ahead of the Mail – without paying a penny. The other health story featured on Press Gazette’s front page was a Sunday Mirror picture special which showed a patient who had undergone open-heart surgery at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, and the vast medical team that had attended to him.

Women’s titles looking good

IPC’s “big four” weeklies were piling on circulation. Unaudited figures showed together they had put on 198,000 sales. Woman was up to 1,546,000; Woman’s Own to 1,595,000; Woman’s Realm to 799,000 and Woman’s Weekly to 1,448,000.

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