Back Issues 26.06.03

Hard hat protection

Journalists in Paris covering the Vietnam peace talks wore crash helmets to try to protect themselves as rioting broke out in France. Some fell victim to tear gas and others were on the receiving end of violence by the riot police. Keith Blogg, of the Evening News, was beaten up and kicked by police and finished up unconscious at a student’s aid post. Reporters had to use their ingenuity to get into France because all the airports were closed. The Evening Standard sent Mary Kenny in on a bicycle. Standard news editor Ronald Hyde told Press Gazette: “We realised we were not learning enough about what was going on outside Paris so we sent Kenny over on a bicycle to cover the northern provincial scene.” Kenny said she had taken a knife and a handful of pepper – to throw in any would-be assailant’s eye.

New paper for Newham

East Londoners got a new paper with the launch of the Newham Recorder by South Essex Recorders. Launch editor was Tom Duncan, who had edited the Havering Recorder and worked on the sports desk of the Daily Sketch.

Tragic train tale

Editors were reminiscing about the Press Association in a special feature marking the news agency’s centenary. One told an extraordinary tale. Morning Advertiser editor Lesley Forse wrote: “I was a down-table sub at the time. PA had carried a story about a train crash during the wartime blackout. The only casualty was the driver of one of the trains – scalded to death. I complained that his name had not been given. Almost simultaneously I was handed a PA snap which stated: ‘The driver who died was Cecil George Forse.’ I telephoned my father, and told him of the death of his youngest brother – my uncle.”

Chronicle wrung out to dry

The Press Council upheld a complaint against the Newcastle Evening Chronicle for staging a picture of a woman wringing out lace curtains after rain had seeped into her council house. The paper admitted the woman had doused the covers in water to re-enact what had happened.

Cambridge inquest ban

Cambridge News editor Keith Whetstone protested vigorously after the press were excluded from part of an inquest. Coroner Charles Young told reporters: “You publicise too much about inquests.” He had earlier told reporters: “I detest the press at suicides.” Whetstone said: “This is typical of an attitude now being shown by certain public figures towards the press, and it is one against which we must be on our guard.”

For King and Cudlipp

It was the story that rocked Fleet Street and marked the end of the partnership that had transformed the Daily Mirror into the country’s leading popular newspaper. The overthrow of Cecil King as chairman of IPC by the board and his replacement by Hugh Cudlipp represented the end of the era. The ousting of King followed his campaign against the Wilson government which culminated in a Mirror leader headlined “Enough is Enough”, calling for the PM to go. He was ousted by his fellow directors because of his “increasing preoccupation and intervention in national affairs in a personal sense rather than in the more objective publishing sense”.

Land of no hope

Michael Leapman, then a Sun reporter, was pictured on the front page of Press Gazette covering the war in Biafra. The Sun ran a five-column splash on Leapman’s report which was headlined “The Land of No Hope”, along with pictures by Ronald Burton. It was delivered to the Commons in the early hours and addressed individually to every MP ahead of a debate on the civil war in Nigeria.

No local radio anywhere

The Government’s decision to put the block on commercial local radio was reaffirmed by Postmaster General Roy Mason. In reply to a series of questions he said: “We’re not allowing commercial local radio.” He told MPs that “the House will realise that if commercial radio begins on any scale at all it would knock provincial newspapers sideways”. Tory MP John Hunt said the Greater London Council was satisfied that commercial radio was workable in London.

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