Media: The Word on the Street

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The Independent Culture
THE late Sir David English might have had a chuckle at the Press Complaints adjudication involving Telegraph editor Charles Moore last week. The Daily Telegraph had paid Victoria Aitken to write about her feelings on her father's imprisonment, and the PCC gave a scathing judgment, saying it contravened clause 16 of its code (payment for articles) and "did not reveal any material of genuine public interest". In September 1997, Moore lectured Sir David in an open letter: "I ask you to answer these points in your role as Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Mail, but also in your role as chairman of the Code Committee of the Press Complaints Commission (of which I am a member), bearing in mind the Code's opening words that "All members of the press have a duty to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards".

CHRIS EVANS has been having fun baiting the editor of the Daily Star. Evans pointed out on his Virgin radio show last week that the Star was alone in running a story about Last of the Summer Wine actor Bill Owen being "seriously ill". Every other newspaper changed its later editions to report that Mr Owen had died. Star editor Peter Hill was livid, and called Virgin Radio demanding to speak to Evans. The Ginger DJ ignored the call, but did pass on Hill's feelings to his listeners. Hill will never be Evans's biggest fan: Evans tried to buy the Star earlier this year and planned to replace Hill with former FHM editor Mike Soutar.

EMAP NOW has enough fingers in enough pies to start plugging itself like other media empires. A few weeks ago, Heat, the empire's entertainment title, did a review of the year so far, and named one of the televisual "winners" of 1999 to be The Box cable music channel. Then this week its screen grabs section - the bit of Heat for those who may have missed some good bits on TV - featured the new advert for Kiss FM, a picture from the ad, a plug for the "Live Sexy" ad slogan, and a plaudit for being the strangest ad of the year. Heat, Kiss and The Box are all owned by Emap.

BACK to the Telegraph, where Charles Moore was in curmudgeonly mood last week, for obvious reasons. This must explain the memo he fired off to staff saying it had come to his notice that there were those in the employ of the Telegraph who were supplementing their earnings by taking on freelance assignments without authorisation. In future, all their energy must be devoted to serving their paper.

Curiously, the memorandum didn't name and shame any culprits. Had it done so, it would have been hard to avoid the biggest freelance earner of them all - Charles Moore, author of the projected biography of Margaret Thatcher with an advance of pounds 750,000.

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