Dog watches dog 12.12.03

Jackson tape fails to excite

A Sunday Mirror report that Michael Jackson went into a mid-air rage while being flown to Santa Monica to face child abuse charges was widely followed up in the US.

The story that Jackson tried to persuade the pilot to fly him to South America was picked up by the Drudge Report website, The New York Post and the numerous television stations.

So Los Angeles-based journalists were naturally excited when charter company Xtra Jet revealed it had a secret tape recording of the flight.

But when the tape was played at a special press showing, it wasn’t quite the high-altitude blockbuster many had hoped for.

One US-based hack told Dog: “Everyone was expecting him to freak out but nothing of the sort happened. The most exciting bit was when Jackson got up to go to the toilet.”

According to Fox TV: “Jackson looked calm, often smiling or laughing during the flight.”


Scrooge lives on at Trinity Mirror

Ho ho ho. Those festive funsters at Trinity Mirror are at it again, spreading good cheer wherever they turn.

On Monday it’ll be the Racing Post staff’s opportunity to feel a warm glow when they hold their office Christmas party – provided, of course, they stump up the tenner each that’s being demanded of them to attend.

“It’s the principle of having to pay to attend your own party that really irks,” chortled one merry journalist.

The cash-for-Christmas party scandal is despite the handsome profits made by Trinity Mirror’s four horse racing titles. And staff at the Post believe stablemates The People and the Daily Mirror have Christmas party budgets in excess of £10,000.

One Post employee sent an e-mail to Sly Bailey to let her know the yule spirit was running low in the camp.

So far, the answer from “my door’s always open” Bailey has been a deafening silence. Too busy fattening some goose or other, Dog reckons.

Want to be Lord of Fleet Street?

A piece of the nation’s newspaper heritage is up for grabs to the highest bidder. Across the nation, nay the globe, press barons and would-be press barons are carefully examining their finances to see whether they can afford to make an offer for these historic titles.

No, not the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. Something considerably older and infinitely more valuable.

The Lordship of Bridewell Palace, the parish of St Clement Danes, in the City of London, is to go under the auctioneer’s hammer. Whoever buys it will be the Lord of Fleet Street.

Manorial Auctioneers, which is under instruction to sell the title, believe it is the first Manor to come up for sale within the City of London – having passed through the hands of Cardinal Wolsey, King Henry VIII and Edward VI before the Royal Hospital of Bridewell St Thomas’ and Christ’s became its owner in 1553. Their heirs at law, the trustees of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, are now selling it to raise funds.

The Manor encompasses St Clements, across Aldwych from the Royal Courts of Justice, St Bride’s, Ludgate, Fleet Street and Salisbury Square, home of the Press Complaints Commission.

And the price of this unique slice of history? Experts suggest it may top £100,000.

Dog has already scrabbled around for loose change in the yard to start the bidding at £1.47. But there must be others out there – perhaps someone whose, ahem, publishing portfolio might rule out a lordship by conventional means – who might just be able to meet the asking price.


Frankly Crude

New Newspaper Publishers Association chairman Ellis Watson’s stellar career rise has taken him through some of industry’s biggest groups, including News International in the Nineties – at a time when Kelvin MacKenzie was in his pomp.

MacKenzie, not one to stand on ceremony when it came to nicknames, always addressed Watson as “FC”.

Fine Colleague? Fantastic Chap? Fabulous Crusader? No. Dog is told Watson was somewhat more portly in those days. And MacKenzie never uses words of more than one syllable.

Herald’s sneaky scoop

Students at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design have learned a harsh lesson. After spending 10 weeks on their first newspaper production exercise, they were all set to publish The Tab – including a splash concerning one of their film studies students living in his camper van in the university car park with his dog.

Local newspaper the Farnham Herald had agreed to print The Tab -which is when its own staff took a shine to the story and promptly scooped its student clients by splashing the story first, a day ahead of The Tab. This despite having been warned off by student reporter Richard Allen, sessional tutor Steve Usher and even by Neill Hodges, the subject of the story. The Herald had assured it would not ruin the students’ splash, telling Allen the Herald had a different target audience.

To add insult to injury, Herald reporter Neil Barston stuck in this par: “Neill Hodges thanked journalism student Richard Allen for highlighting his case in the college’s first newspaper, which is out this week.”

He’s now known as Neil Barstard by the disgruntled students.


Maclife: no marks for spelling

How not to impress your course tutor

A quick quiz for the second-year students on Sunderland University’s journalism course. The newsletter you published as an assessed part of the course, Maclife, had to be withdrawn from circulation. Why? Was it: a) because of the possibly defamatory derogatory description of fast-food chain McDonald’s on page 11? b) because of the clearly defamatory story of a named pop star involved in a three-in-a-bed romp on page 5? c) because you spelled the name of your course tutor, former Newcastle Sunday Sun editor Chris Rushton, wrong on page 2?

Cosmo Girl! editor Celia Duncan must have delighted National Magazine Company bosses on Monday night when she appeared on the new-look BBC News 24. During a four-minute interview about a British Medical Association report into the teenage “health time bomb”, Duncan mentioned Cosmo Girl! no fewer than five times.


Beginning many of her answers with “Well, at Cosmo Girl!…” Duncan appeared to irritate News 24 presenter Louise Minchin, who at one point gently admonished her with the words, “Well, you’ve had a lot of plugs for your magazine but what about…” Full marks for effort, but how many potential Cosmo Girl! readers does Duncan imagine watch BBC News 24 at 9.30pm on a school night (or any night)? Having shown herself to be a shameless product plugger, will the Beeb ever risk putting her on live television again?

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