Media: The Word on the Street

NO MAGAZINE, it seems, is immune to the hope that the FHM effect can work for them, too. That can be the only explanation for the highbrow monthly Prospect forming a partnership with Vivus, makers of "the more traditional forms of treatment for erectile dysfunction" - presumably this consists of White House interns, combined with a kind of Meccano set. Together, the upmarket magazine and the uplifting company are offering a pounds 5,000 prize for the best essay on the subject of sex. From the magazine's less than overflowing readership, of policy wonks and think-tanks, it has attracted 300 entries. We must hope that, for these people, the Third Way is as rude as it sounds.

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THE RELENTLESS upmarket race of the tabloids knows no bounds. A memo, circulated recently by the Daily Mail news editor, demands that all reporters have read the Financial Times by the time they get into the office. It is apparently a great source of stories for the paper. That will explain where yesterday's photograph of Scary Spice and her groom came from. Er, well, no - it came from OK Magazine.

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TABLOID SHOWBUSINESS reporters had to fight back the smiles last week, when news reached them that Matthew Freud (pictured), restaurateur and PR to the stars, had been hospitalised with kidney stones after being in pain for a number of weeks. "It's not that we want anything tragic to happen on the operating table," said one high profile showbusiness writer. "But a period of extended suffering would be nice." It's good to be popular.

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THE LONG-standing war between moralists and liberals, to keep filth, violence and other good stuff off of our television screens, saw a battle go to the liberals last week. Sir Peter Rogers, head of the Independent Television Commission, said that, from now on, the ITC is to allow anything that gets a certificate in cinemas straight on to our television screens. This will dispense with all the battles fought over getting Reservoir Dogs on to the small screen without upsetting certain moralising newspapers and rent-a-quote MPs.

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ELSEWHERE AT Associated Newspapers, close personal friends of Jonathan Harmsworth, the new Lord Rothermere, had a whole week of thinking that they, like he, were in a job for life. Then the unthinkable happened. Adam Edwards, editor of the Evening Standard ES magazine, and a very close personal friend of the new viscount, was sacked. Another close friend tells The Street: "I've just had my first sleepless night in years." Clearly, Lord Rothermere will be no protector of his buddies. How close he is to Veronica Wadley, features executive of the Daily Mail, is unknown, but she is tipped by insiders to become the next editor of the Mail on Sunday's Night & Day magazine.

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THE DEPARTURE of Michael Foster from his job as Ginger Television's chief executive hints of troubled times ahead at the brash young media group. Well, troubled, at least, for whoever inherits Foster's role of liaising with Alan Patricoff, the man who runs Ginger's financial backers, Apax Partners. Effectively Ginger's scary bank manager, Patricoff is the man with whom the buck really stops if things ever start to wobble at Virgin Radio. Ginger's finance director Andy Mullet is favourite for the job.

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HAVING COST millionaires like Robert Maxwell and the Barclay Brothers large chunks of their fortune it looks like it is the turn of Michael Bloomberg to lose cash on the newspaper for Europe that no one wants to read. Bloomberg's financial information services group is expected to buy a chunk of The European this Thursday. The newspaper is starting to resemble the kind of progressive taxation policies long abandoned on these isles. As a way of making the rich poorer it may lack the redistribution element of Socialism, but hey, as long as it makes them poorer that's the main thing.

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