Media: The Word on the Street

IS THERE a greater than usual degree of paranoia at News International? On the day of the disturbances by anti-capitalists at Euston, Rupert Murdoch's lieutenants decided they would be target No 1 and bused staff in from various London stations. Curious memos then began to circulate from senior management, in Wapping giving staff regular updates on the threat and warning reporting staff not to accept any unsolicited campaign literature, as it might contain hazardous items. Wapping security staff were seized with nostalgia. "Like 1986," said one, thinking back sentimentally to the great print workers' lock-out. Mind you, if we are to believe The Express's headline next day, we all should have been considerably more alarmed than we were. The measured splash said "Riot Thugs Torch City".

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A TRADITIONAL interviewer's question to the Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport - "What's your favourite TV programme?" - can now be answered. Chris Smith has written to the BBC's director general, Sir John Birt, telling him how much he liked BBC1's Kosovo war drama Warriors, and urging him to make more programmes like it. Only problem is, that would mean Britain getting involved in another war - a bit much to ask, even to keep the Culture Secretary a contented viewer.

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THE GUARDIAN yesterday profiled the TV gardener/ cook and bon viveur Monty Don. He and his wife "are how we'd all like to be", writes interviewer Sabine Durrant, admiring his good taste and "huge, scrubbed kitchen table". And we won't argue with that; on the huge, scrubbed kitchen table in The Guardian's photograph is a copy of The Independent.

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NEWSPAPERS ARE always searching for new ways to woo women readers. The Daily Telegraph's approach is - sheer, unadulterated flattery. In last Friday's issue the deputy editor, Sarah Sands, described the female Telegraph reader as "capable, charitable, courageous, unfussy, good fun". Come now. Don't sell them short. Surely slim, sexy and kind to animals as well.

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