Back Issues 21.10.04


Trainee journalists might moan about their low wages and student loans but at least their parents didn’t have to pay to get them a
job on a newspaper. Alfred Jenner, (right) editor-inchief of Eastern Counties Newspapers, was quoted in Press Gazette reminiscing about his start in journalism in the 1930s. ” I was taken on as an indentured apprentice reporter by a manager, on payment by my father of a £50 fee, on the princely salary of five shillings (25p) per week,” he said. It wasn’t all bad news.  Jenner was allowed expenses of one shilling and sixpence a week “for bicycle maintenance”.


David English had been made editor of The Daily Sketch at 39, succeeding Howard French. The Sketch was fighting for its life in a
fiercely competitive tabloid market. English, sounding like Henry V exhorting his troops, said: “The Daily Sketch team has had to smash its way through; the result is that there is no flabbiness there to be sweated off before battle can commence. The whole Fleet Street stage is set. And the Fighting Sketch will be happy to show allcomers what it can do.” Editor-director French (below) was to concentrate full-time on editorial development and training. The Sketch fought on until 1971 but was finally vanquished when it was merged with the Daily Mail. English was appointed editor of the combined paper.


The Daily Mail blamed the establishment for trying to “smother the publication” of Profumo scandal call-girl Christine Keeler’s memoirs in The News of the World. Press Council chairman Lord Devlin had condemned “the raking up of old scandals”. The BBC had stopped Keeler appearing on its 24 Hours current affairs programme and the Independent Television Authority had banned adverts for the NoW serialisation. The Mail said: “We regard the Keeler memoirs as sleazy and stale stuff. But that is no argument for trying to censor them. Free speech means what it says. It means freedom for silly or tasteless words just as for the wise and noble. It is not for the law to decide questions of taste. Every journalist must argue those out with his own conscience. And he must do so w ithout fear of ‘the men in power.'”


Reuters correspondent Anthony Grey was pictured on the front of Press Gazette holding a golf club in a Karachi garden after being freed by the Chinese who had held him in detention for 800 days in Peking. Grey made light of his ordeal, claiming: “I just happened to be the chap who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Two other British journalists were also released. They were freelance Norman Barrymaine and Eric Gordon, now editor and owner of t he Camden New Journal .


In a first for British national newspapers, The Times had appointed Philip Evans as race relations correspondent. Evans, the paper’s home news editor, had written an acclaimed series on immigration and the rise of the Black Power movement. The appointment led to a
major reshuffle on the team, with Colin Webb appointed as home news editor.

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