Back Issues 31.07.03


Reader’s Digest grabbed the top slot as the UK’s best-selling magazine from arch-rival Radio Times posting an ABC of 1,651,820. Radio Times had dropped 3.8 per cent to 1,503,379. Reader’s Digest editor Russell Twisk claimed the secret of the title’s success was simple. “We are not a magazine for hand-wringers and really believe that people can change the world.”


Photographer Keith Butler was unrepentant after being on the receiving end of an outburst from Princess Diana, who told him was making her life “hell”. Butler admitted he had had a few run-ins with the princess the 13 years he had been taking pictures her. He said: “If she’s going to blow her stack, we’re the first out of the trenches. Photographers are the frontline element of the media and she’ll make a beeline for the one she knows best.”


More than 400 BBC journalists were planning to boycott director general John Birt’s “Awaydays” organised to explain corporation policy to all 23,000 staff. The NUJ chapels at Bush House and BBC monitoring service at Caversham resolved to stay away from the meetings in protest at a 1.5 per cent pay offer. The meetings, officially titled “Extending Choice: The Workshop”, were claimed to be costing the BBC £600,000.


Photographers at Tottenham Hotspur games were furious after being told they could only cover matches if they wore bibs supplied by the club that advertised a car hire firm. In a letter to the club’s owner Alan Sugar, the photographers claimed they were “as welcome as soccer hooligans at some clubs and treated like second-class citizens. Spurs is one such club.”


Today was the latest News International title to enter the price war. It slashed its price on Merseyside by 5p to 20p in what was seen as an offensive against the Daily Mirror.


The story of a little girl in need of medical help in Sarajevo after being wounded in a mortar attack highlighted the tragedy of the war in Bosnia and led to direct action by the West. The five-yearold, Irma Hadzimuratovic, and 41 other injured people were due to be airlifted from the besieged capital to get medical assistance, after extensive media coverage of her plight. BBC reporter Alan Little broke Irma’s story after he was approached by a doctor desperate for help. Little filed a story for BBC Radio 4 , which was quickly followed up by TV and the national press. One reporter in Sarajevo was concerned that Irma’s plight would soon be forgotten and deflect attention away from politicians. Michael Montgomery of The Daily Telegraph told Press Gazette: “We can be used by governments as an alibi. Focusing on single cases can cancel the responsibility and failure of the UN and the Western community.” Sadly, Irma died in a London hospital two years later, aged seven.


The Observer’s star sports writer, Hugh McIlvanney, was tempted away by an offer from The Sunday Times. McIlvanney, who had again been named Sports Journalist of the Year in the British Press Awards, had worked at The Observer since 1962, apart from a two-year stint at the Daily Express. He said: “The Sunday Times came in with a very good offer and I felt it would be almost cowardly not to take it.”

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