Media: The Word On The Street

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The Independent Culture
IN A cost-cutting move of sheer genius, Express Newspapers' IT department decided it could save a little money if it removed the computer system which provides legal warnings for its electronic cuttings library. Clearly a luxury Lord Hollick's lean machine could do without. Almost immediately an old Hugh Grant interview was pulled up in which the actor was libellously quoted. The quote, which had cost The Express pounds 30,000, was repeated at the end of a new story about Grant as soon as the warning system ended and his lawyers have been in touch. A new legal warning system has been ordered.

MEANWHILE, AT Associated Newspapers, there are different problems with computers. They keep sprouting legs and running away. Police are investigat- ing the theft of nine new state-of-the-art laptops which disappeared through a hole in a secure room's ceiling, and at Weekend magazine a designer's computer has disappeared. But if the thieves hadn't been so blatant would an organisation as wealthy as Associated ever have noticed they were gone?

DURING THE Chinese cultural revolution no one could afford to be without the little red book of Mao thoughts. The BBC which, like the Chinese Communist party, is a monolith flirting with capitalism, has just produced its own little red book - a mission statement card to help employees remember the corporation's aim: "To be the world's most creative and trusted broadcaster and programme maker..." This turns into an eight-line sentence with nine subordinate clauses. As Orwell observed, the first victim of orthodoxy is usually the English language.