Media: The Word on the Street

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The Independent Culture
GREG DYKE's arrival at the BBC as director general comes in tandem with another high level change of allegiance, the decision of ITV chief executive Richard Eyre to take over Dyke's old role at Pearson Television. It is understood that the appointment was made some time ago, but the announcement delayed until the weekend. "You could say that this was Dyke's parting shot," said one insider. "Let the industry think that ITV is being destabilised just as he starts at the BBC."

DEBRETT'S TAKE note. Women in Journalism members have voted for a code of practice for parties and other social gatherings. This presumably replaces the previous informal code by which male editors had to be slagged off by the second drink or membership was revoked. The new code will say that freelances should not pester editors for commissions at social occasions. One WIJ member is quoted in Press Gazette as saying: "Not only is it fantastically rude, but hideously uncool." It's fortunate for male journalists that such inestimable social etiquette and sense of style are not present at the gents' loos in newspaper offices.

HOW LONG will the Booker Prize be staying with Channel 4 after its defection from the BBC? The relationship could be a short one if there is coverage as dismal as the debut offering last week. In a spirit of over-the-top egalitarianism, not a single literary figure was interviewed. Instead, almost the whole programme involved a debate by "ordinary readers" including such mind-expanding conversations as "Should Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth have been on the list?" "I don't know, I haven't read their books." "Nor have I." "Nor have I." A Booker insider says that some serious talking will be taking place to avoid a similar dumbing down of the event next year.

AN INTRIGUING head to head confrontation is looming between BSkyB's Elisabeth Murdoch and the new head of the Broadcasting Standards Commission, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Holme. Ms Murdoch claims that content regulation is redundant in the multi-channel world, where viewers who do not approve of a programme can simply choose another. His lordship is hoisting the republican Murdoch with her own petard and playing the people's card. "One of the first questions we need to ask," he said at lunch for broadcasting writers, "is who or what, in our brave new digital, multi-channel world, will stand up for the citizen?

THE MURDOCH-owned Australian newspaper is exhorting readers to vote against the Monarchy in novel style. It has printed a picture of the Earl of Wessex beaming in patrician style. The picture is helpfully placed on the outside of the page and readers are instructed to cut it out. It is not, however, for a primary school project. The Australian urges readers to take the picture with them to the polling booth. That way, it argues, they could never in a million years be tempted to vote for retaining the Monarchy.

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