Back Issues 27.03.03

Immoral or mad

Some things don’t change. The Daily Mail was having a go at The Guardian. In what was described as a blazing front-page leader, the Mail thundered: “The gaunt, grey Guardian – that once-great paper – seems to have either gone immoral or mad. Three times in a few days it had demanded war with Rhodesia. Such a call from such a source would once have been unbelievable, for its tone was traditionally pacific. It believed in reason rather than force, in negotiation before action. It opposed ‘gunboat diplomacy’.”

Russian blanket ban

The Soviets had given the Moscow Reuters bureau a final warning against publishing stories based on contact with private citizens. The agency was told: “Information based on unauthorised contact with Soviet citizens either direct or indirect is barred.”

The price is write

It was reported that freelances could expect £25 to £100 for a feature in a national daily. The Sunday Times paid between £150 and £200 for a Review front and between three and 40 guineas for a news story. The Observer paid between two and six guineas per 100 words for news stories.

Chilling with The Beatles

Simon Regan,  the News of the World’s Middle East stringer, got a cable saying “Go and meditate with The Beatles” and file a story and pictures within six days. PG said: “By any reasonable standards it was an impossible task.” The cable was sent care of the Amman post office, thousands of miles from India where The Beatles were meditating with the Maharishi. There was no time to send expenses. But Regan came up trumps. The story and pictures, taken with a 30-shilling camera, arrived in time to make a spread. Regan went on to found Scallywag magazine, was sued by John Major and died in 2000.

Summer evenings soar

Sales were booming. Of Britain’s 75 evening papers, 44 showed gains in the second half of 1967, according to the Evening Newspaper Advertising Bureau. Total average daily sales were 8.7 million. In London, the Evening Standard and Evening News together were selling 1.8 million copies a day. Today the Standard sells 428,000.

Doors mark ten decades

Press Gazette ran a picture of a bustling Fleet Street in the 1890’s to mark the Press Association’s centenary. The picture shows a sign by the Cheshire Cheese pub pointing the way to PA’s first home in Wine Office Court. Centenary celebrations began on 14 March at St Bride’s when the Archbishop of Canterbury presided at a service which saw the dedication of commemorative glass doors.

Stalwarts Pilger and Preston

It was National Press Awards time, then run by IPC. Some of the top award winners are still going strong. John Pilger, recently returned to the Daily Mirror, was making his name on the newspaper 35 years ago and won the “descriptive writer of the year”. Another winner was Peter Preston, still with The Guardian and a former editor of the paper, who won a special award – and 100 guineas – for the continuing high quality of the Miscellany column he edited. The judges remarked that Preston had edited the column “with less staff and fewer resources than are frequently available to column editors”.

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