by David Banks
CIRCULATION static? Drifting down? Worse still, plummeting? Don't despair, dear editor: Point the finger at those meddling men in suits from Mahogany Row and play the blame game. Interesting, isn't it, how we journalists are so quick to lambast the Fat Controller who only wants to drive the clattering train when we seek circulation scapegoats?
Cristina Odone was at it in The Guardian this week: "It is an iron rule of journalistic lore that editors must be given their head" she thundered.
"Whoever heard of an interfering suit raising a paper's game?"
Er, far be it from me to cross dear Cristina — by and large I'm a believer, too — but fairness dictates that we give credit where it's due.
Interfering suits who add value include the Murdochs (Rupert for his sure touch and MacLennan for his cunning) and Bert Hardy, whose determination that news should override Veronica Wadley's comment-led Evening Standard has revived the flagging flack-ship.
On the distaff side, the only former editor I can think of whose genius translated into management was Sir David English. That's HIS Daily Mail the whole of Britain now reads!
Montgomery? Just a costcutter. MacKenzie? A brilliant one-trick pony whose management expertise wouldn't fill a gnat's bum. Neil?
Back to the business pages where you knew what you were talking about, Andrew. Even Lord Cudlipp wasn't so hot when he left the running plate and swapped an oily rag for the chairman's gavel.
Wasn't he the man who danced for joy when Rupe was ‘conned'
into buying a tired-out union rag named The Sun?
IN COMMON with other media publications, Banks' Notes presents a weekly appreciation of the person or persons who most inspired a media giant. This week, LBC97.3FM's Sony Award winner NICK FERRARI… Note to subs: SET & HOLD copy for use in unlikely event that 2006 Sony Radio Awards judging panel rewards Yrs Trly with Breakfast Show of the Year Award. Copy reads: WHERE do I begin? As I sit on this bench celebrating my triumph in the Sony Awards by popping the lid off a tin of Brasso, my thoughts go spinning back to the Big Boy who made it possible. The editor, friend, broadcasting partner and mentor who lunched me and launched me on the path to stardom. Where would I be without him? How long it seems since we left Mirror Group: he a shattered ex-hack demoralised by the debilitating condition known as Monty Zuma's Revenge, and me a fresh-faced, lithe and likeable superstar just waiting to happen.
It was the Big Man (can you guess of whom I speak?) who persuaded me to co-star with him on Kelvin's Talk Radio breakfast show. Co-star?
Sharing the billing was never enough for my brimming ambition.
Luckily, I persuaded the self-styled ‘Great One' to undergo the sex change for which we both knew he secretly yearned. We called it ‘leukaemia', but, in our hearts, we knew the truth. While the Big Lad became the Big Lady, the field was clear for me to dazzle those dupes at LBC with my smooth-talking style. And now the prized Sony Award is mine. But I owe it all to my Great Mate, the one and only, the unforgettable (copytaker note to chief sub: contributor slurring, lost the line…)