Dog watches dog 16.10.03

English football is hugely popular in Thailand and the local sports papers carry pages and pages of Premier League action. Despite being Thai-language papers, some occasionally have a stab at headlines in English. Jim Hawker, Bangkok Post sub and one of Dog’s many millions of fans in the Far East, sent this cutting from Siam Sport’s coverage of Arsenal’s 2-1 win at Anfield to demonstrate that his Thai counterparts don’t always get it right.

Morning News has got Dog’s number

This column is firmly in the Dog house this week following last week’s story about the Western Morning News and its coverage of Fame Academy, in which we incorrectly stated that a wrong number for the finalist – and eventual winner – Alex Parks was printed on its front page on the Saturday morning of the final.

Far from being on the front page of its Saturday edition, the incomplete phone number (one digit was missing) was printed on page 20 of Friday’s paper.

Far from being a fiasco, the WMN’s coverage had printed the correct number 54 times in the run-up to the final and on a free poster and on its page one special on final day.

And far from going on a tour of radio stations on Saturday afternoon, editor Barrie Williams simply explained the glitch on BBC Radio Cornwall on Friday morning.

Dog can only hang his head in shame that the original story was so far from being accurate. We apologise to Williams and his staff unreservedly.


PA’s role in royal wedding guest list

Dog could not possibly do justice to the singular delivery style of Chris Moncrieff, former political editor of the Press Association, who gave the guest speech at the packed Society of Editors conference dinner at the Imperial War Museum on Monday.

It was a barnstorming performance with a stream of anecdotes from behind the scenes in the corridors of power.

Listening to the torrent of tales was, as one guest put it, “like being in a power shower”.

Instead, Dog will pluck just one of Moncrieff’s gems by way of tribute. In 1981 he was covering a White House function attended by then President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy.

At one point, Moncrieff found his path through to them was suddenly clear of security guards, so he broke cover to put a question to the Prez and his first lady. Would, he wondered, they be attending the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer? “We’ll be there,” said Ron, slightly to Nancy’s alarm, who tried to suggest that actually they hadn’t had an invitation yet.

“Don’t worry about that, honey,” repeated Ron. “We’ll be there.”

Moncrieff duly filed the story that they would be attending.

All hell let loose at Buckingham Palace, where the decision had already been taken that invitations would go out to world leaders at vice-presidential level. These now had to be recalled and sent out to presidents and heads of state instead.

It was, as one royal official later drily observed, the only time in history that the guest list for a royal wedding was drawn up by the Press Association.

Daily Star struck

The story of “internet love rat” Mark Ridgewell was classic Fleet Street fodder. The philanderer had been confronted in his local pub by four of the women he had been stringing along, after he had inadvertently sent them all the same e-mail.

The tale sent newsrooms scrambling to find him, and so two enterprising hacks at the Daily Star e-mailed him through the Friends Reunited website.

Unfortunately, their cunning plan of posing as his former school chums was rather undone by their dailystar.co.uk e-mail addresses – which unbeknown to them showed up through the Friends Reunited system. Doh!

Horrocks’ show of support… sort of

While Yorkshire Evening Press editor Neil Hodgkinson was weighing up whether he should name the Leeds United footballer at the centre of the latest rape allegations, a text message arrived.

It was from Paul Horrocks, his opposite number at the Manchester Evening News. “Publish and Be Damned” it read. A fine message of support.

Except for the giveaway addition “…but let me know what happens when you do”


From the West Highland Free Press, previewing Stornoway Rugby Club’s weekend visit to Aboyne, Aberdeenshire: “The club will be keen to repeat their first-half performance against Caithness, which enabled them to dominate superior opposition before losing 52-3.”


Page 48 of Tuesday’s (tabloid, the only way to travel) Independent carries a diary item laying into The Times. The Thunderer’s sin on this occasion was printing an “enormous picture of a sexy French schoolgirl in a black thong”. This was, The Indy sneers, “accompanied by a ‘news story’ that declared: ‘The craze among French schoolgirls for wearing thongs has sparked an anguished debate…'” But wait. Let’s turn back to The Indy’s page 46, where John Lichfield’s column about two debates “raging” in France, begins: “Should teenage girls be allowed to show off their underwear at school by wearing skimpy thongs under low-slung jeans?” And what should be accompanying it? Ah yes, a three-column picture of not one but two sexy French teenagers in black thongs.



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