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17.5.04

Right decision time. Do we reckon the Mirror should ID whoever gave them the pics of QLR soldiers apparently taking a leak on some poor Iraqi?

I reckon it boils down to whether the paper now genuinely believes they were fakes. If they do - and Saturday's splash implies they did - then they should.

On the other hand, it might be the case that whoever gave them those pesky pics might themselves have believed that they were genuine. In that case, they're not hoaxers but genuine informants.

It's got my quark-addled brain tied up in knots. So vote away. I promise to send the results to Roy Greenslade.








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My so-called rival hacked-off has come up with a brilliant find - the worst named company in the UK....
An amusing vignette from Piersgate. Management tried to take the Mercedes off him - only to find out it was actually his personal property.

16.5.04

Top marks to The Observer for its coverage of l'affaire Morgan. And its headline Investors pressed Bailey to sack Morgan gets to the most important part of all this. Paul Dacre got it too. Which is why he was spotted yelling "FUCKING SHAREHOLDERS" at the top of his voice in the Mail newsroom on Friday night. Suddenly, Richard Desmond doesn't seem so bad, does he?

Haven't seen the Sundays yet. But here's Fleetstreet's exclusive runners-and-riders guide to the Mirror succesion.

Tina Weaver - she's back from maternity leave and made a decent fist of the Sunday Mirror. 2/1
Phil Hall - experienced and already working for Trinity-Mirror. But can he face the daily grind? 3/1
Andy Coulson - a young Turk who's shown he can cut the mustard at the Screws. But is his CV too much like Piers'? 5/1
Des Kelly - who ever hired a number two who was a threat? 10/1
Eugene Duffy - safe pair of hands, what he doesn't know about the Mirror isn't worth knowing. 12/1
Alastair Campbell - too busy doing his disburbingly Alan Partridge-esque "roadshow" in various Cumbria leisure centres amid the sound of flapping white coats. 1,000,000/1

Piers' last words to the staff? "Don't worry. It won't be Des."

15.5.04

Which tabloid news editor has found an extremely cunning way to dodge the stuffy old find-stuff-out-and-put-it-in-the-paper way of doing journalism?
What he does instead is he invents rumours about no-mark celebs and posts them on the Popbitch board, prints them out to have something to show the lawyer in case it goes pear-shaped and then he quickly deletes the said posts to stop any other showbiz hacks picking them up.
Hey presto - an exclusive page lead!

Here's a bit of red meat for you gossip hounds. If Blair goes this year, it will be a serious crisis in his other job - as a father - that pushes him out. Which is why newspapers have received a humdinger of a legal warning in the last month or so.

14.5.04

Right - I'm back. Is there still the same public out there? Apologies to loyal readers for going awol.

What's moved me to this is the Fleet Street story of the year - the end of the Piers show.

My, what an odd fortnight it's been. And it's going to get odder. More heads could easily roll. Already news supremo Conor Hanna has offered Natural Number Two Des Kelly his resignation. Des turned it down.

And what of him? Well, Des had the immense good fortune (he's always had good fortune - how else could somebody so thick rise so high?) to be on holiday during the crucial first week. Will he get the Big Job? Quite possibly. Sly Bailey will be dead keen on having someone pliable minding the shop while the consultants from McKinsey hack at staff lists.

According to my sources, Conor is deeply implicated. His metoric rise could well be over. Paul Byrne and Steve White - the two reporters who did the original story - may also be on their way out. A shame.

As for Piers - well the fact the first call on being ejected from the building was to PA, rather than to any of his "friends" at the paper says all you need to know.

How will history look at Piers? Well, as a failure really. By the yardstick that all editors really measure themselves - sales - he's been an abject failure. His reign saw the Mirror surrender its position as number 2 behind the Sun to the Mail. It's now hundreds of thousands behind every day. He had some brave ideas but they didn't work.

The serious post 9/11 Mirror was misconceived and often badly executed aside from some occasionally brilliant reporting - eg Andy Lines in New York - and some very sharp presentation. But generally, the paper went from writing bollocks about celebrities to writing bollocks about serious things. It was still bollocks.

Mirror readers didn't want John Pilger and putting Christopher Hitchens in the pages had a smack of casting pearls before swine.

The idea of scoop-led journalism as a way of building sales was let down by a lot of papers that were deeply ordinary. In the end, though, it was scoops that did him in. Live by the scoop, die by the scoop.

more follows

2.4.04

Here's the skinny on the William photos: It was all his idea. He saw the snappers and - in effect - posed himself up.
Not only has the second in line inherited his looks from his mum, it also seems he's inherited her bizarre wish to be her own spin doctor. The Palace then went along with his wish.
Now I know all dim Sloanes believe they are natural PRs - just look at the staff at most London agencies for examples of thick richkids who would be laughed out of any other workplace.
But there's a big difference between "masterminding" the launch of a Chelsea wine bar and attempting to manage what will be among the biggest tabloid stories of the next few years.
Just like his Dad needed Fawcett to hold a specimen bottle as he gave a urine test, Wills needs a professional who knows how these things work to negotiate the forthcoming minefield.
PS - the proof that the Palace gave The Sun the nod to publish the pics is underlined by the punishment they've been given - being excluded from royal photoshoots. All they'll have to do is send an agency to cover those events or take PA pictures. It's a joke, in other words.

1.4.04

White-faced fury across Fleet Street this morning after the pics of Williams a-huggin' and a-kissin' his Sloane girlfriend on the slopes of Klosters.
Why the fury? Well - it's impossible to imagine that The Sun would have stuck its neck out without some sort of say-so of approval from Clarence House. And when nightdesks tried to check the story when the first editions dropped last night, the duty royal press officer - Paddy "I'm honest and straightforward" Harverson - had turned his mobile off.
It all adds up to Clarence House giving one paper a huge competitive advantage. What a stupid game to play. Open season has now been declared on the Kate girl, which won't be a pretty sight, and Charles and Clarence House won't have a leg to stand on if they to protest.

29.3.04

Click here to see the tabloid version. Click here to read a really boring account of what it all means.
Fleet Street is like a shark sensing blood in the water with Beverley Hughes tonight. Each time the story looks to be over, it returns with her seeming even more mendacious. Rightly or wrongly, her department looks like a complete shambles.
More worryingly, for Blair, he is said to have staked his personal authority on her staying. Which makes him look like Major at his worst. The temptation to take him on is just too much for editors to ignore. Even the Mirror got in on the act this morning and they never do asylum/migration stories because execs believe that their readers are instinctively xenophobic and they don't want to reflect that fact.
She'll probably be gone soon - as will a chunk of Blair's political capital.
Wicked whisper: which former Fleet Street editor's silhouette could be clearly made out in the pictures of Sven Goran Ericksson visiting Chelsea chief exec Peter Kenyon run in The Sun on Saturday?
The poor chap's been forced the deny the untrue rumour that it was him wot leaked it.

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