Dog watches dog 06.05.04

Editor is in right place at right time

On his return to the Midlands from the 2004 Newspaper Awards, Central Independent Newspapers group editor Sam Holliday strolled into the café at Tamworth railway station. Inside a woman could be heard berating the Tamworth Herald – one of his titles – and saying, “I wish the editor was here now. I would tell him what I think.”

Holliday initially assumed it was someone who had spotted him and that the tirade would be swiftly followed by a mock double take and an “Oh hello Sam, didn’t see you there!”.

But as it continued, he realised the woman was genuinely cross with the paper for printing too much “bad” news. Eventually he could stand it no longer and interrupted her conversation.

“Actually, I am the editor.”

“I wish you were,” she responded. “I would tell you what I think.”

Holliday picked up the paper, showed her his photo on page two and watched her jaw drop.

“It was a classic sitcom moment along with a bit of rather uncomfortable (free) market research to boot,” said Holliday.

“Next week,” he said in his memo to staff, “we lead on a good news story.”

McAlpine doesn’t mince her words

The Herald’s redoubtable deputy editor Joan McAlpine is reckoned to have notched up a points win in a no-holdsbarred verbal sparring bout with host Dominik Diamond at the Scottish Newspaper Awards ceremony.

Diamond, the Daily Star columnist and Radio Five Live presenter, in a blatantly sexist display, had rated female award winners as “fit” or “mingers” according to his arbitrary standards of female pulchritude as they stepped off the stage.

When McAlpine accepted the award for best daily newspaper, she retaliated by poking Diamond in the midriff and suggesting he do a “couple of sessions at the gym”.

As she left the stage, Diamond denounced her as a “minger”, to which McAlpine retorted that he “should buy a toupée”.

McAlpine told Dog she made her public stand because of Diamond’s “total boorishness” and “utterly inappropriate behavour”. And if her remarks were taken to imply that he was a mite overweight and follicly challenged, she was happy to be quoted as saying he was “fat and bald”.

Model behaviour from TV critic Bentley

Readers of the Sutton Coldfield Observer are seeing more of news editor Ben Bentley – after his portrait went on display in the town’s library.

Bentley, who also writes a TV column for the Northcliffe weekly, enraged the town’s arts community earlier this year with a review of TV show Star Portraits with Rolf Harris.

The column sparked angry letters from local arts lovers, including one that described Bentley as a “Philistine” whose comments were strictly at the “fourth form school level”.

To make amends, the plucky critic agreed to sit as a model for a portrait class, with the newspaper printing the results – good and bad.

Last week his redemption was complete when one of his portraits – painted by amateur artist Rachel David on a page of the Observer – was included in the latest exhibition by the Sutton Coldfield Society of Artists.

“It’s weird being painted – portraits tend to bring out bits of your character you didn’t even know you had,” said Bentley.

“My mum says the picture looks just like me – then again, she’s always had a soft spot for Hywel Bennett.”

Dog has every sympathy for whoever put this page together on Yahoo’s news service and added a picture of the wrong Michael Jackson. After all, the subject is only one of the most recognisable faces on the planet.

From the Western Daily Press. Prisoner DW6622’s collection must be utterly fascinating.

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