Dog watches dog 18.12.03

Kent moaners are something chronic

Sevenoaks Chronicle assistant editor James Blake is used to dealing with the odd complaint from the public.

There may be an incorrect spelling here, or an errant obit there, but never before has a complaint been quite as odd as the one received last week.

One keen reader decided it was time to vent her anger over why the paper, which includes weekly property and car buyer sections and an all colour entertainment supplement, would not fold neatly in half and to the correct dimensions.

“It’s terribly difficult for me to pass the paper to my daughter without it going out of shape,” the frustrated caller opined. “So what are you going to do about it?” Intensive origami lessons for the Chronicle’s paper boys, girls and newsagents are now being arranged.

Bearded runaway, this time lucky?

A word of caution for all those politicians and journalists getting so carried away over the capture by US troops of Saddam Hussein hiding in a hole in a remote farmhouse near Tikrit.

Dog well remembers the last time newspapers (well, The Sunday Telegraph, anyway) got excited about the discovery of a highly sought after fugitive – Lord Lucan. After it printed an extract from the book Dead Lucky by Duncan Maclaughlin and William Hall, it turned out, of course, that the prize was nothing of the sort.

But given the similarities between the pictures of the two absconders, let’s just hope this one doesn’t turn out to be a folk singer from St Helens too.

Scotland on Sunday’s City editor is surely a journalist who will have all of Scotland’s best interests at heart. The current incumbent is Andrew Murray-Watson. That’s him on the right.




Occasionally, PR departments leave Dog’s head shaking in disbelief with their bizarre sets of priorities and misguided sense of self-importance.

But an e-mail that popped into the dogbasket this week was quite breathtaking in its misguidedness.

“Instead of sending out Christmas cards this year,” chirp the Emap group communications team, “we wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas by inviting you to take part in our Christmas quiz. Just how well do you know Emap? Now’s your chance to prove to all your extensive knowledge of the UK’s leading media company.”

Yes, lucky recipients of this electronic piece of festive good cheer get the opportunity to answer 16 mindnumbingly banal questions (sample: name Emap’s senior independent non-executive board director). It’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it? And if that’s not bad enough, there’s a tie-break question at the end. “I like Emap because…”.

No more than 50 words, the form states. Dog wonders how anybody would manage to stretch their answers that far.

News no better second time out

Readers of the weekly Warrington Guardian were left with a sense of déjà vu when a month-old news page was published inadvertently on page three of the 11 December issue of the Newsquest publication.

The blunder follows the company’s cost-cutting measures involving moving production of the paper to its Newsquest printing plant in Glasgow.

Unfortunately the cock-up marked the end of a year of 150th anniversary celebrations and has left advertising sales staff attempting to explain to their clients why their Christmas adverts did not appear.

The news page also carried a monthold court report and a story about a swimming pool reopening “this morning” after being closed due to a leak.


Alert readers will need no reminding of the floods that hit the Birmingham Post & Mail last week, causing massive disruption to printing. On Monday, after the presses were dried out, the Birmingham Evening Mail announced the new sponsor of its weather panel. Severn Trent Water’s “Leakline”.


Pauls aplenty

The Scunthorpe Telegraph is thinking of rebranding as the gospel according to Paul. The north Lincolnshire daily has no fewer than five Pauls on its editorial team: reporters Paul Bloomer, Paul Savage and Paul Drury, photographer Paul Torrie and business editor Paul Hart.

On quiet afternoons, Dog likes to ring up and ask for Paul, just to enjoy the confusion.

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