John Walsh's Media Diary

A muscular response to resigning

The gymnasia at Canary Wharf are as quiet as a fleet of Mary Celestes, now that Martin ("Arnie") Newland is no longer occupying them for marathon sessions of crunch, plank and bench-press. Rumours of the ex-Telegraph editor's weirdly small salary (£130,000) and substantial final pay-off (£750,000) are nothing to the rumours about his exercise regimen. It's said that he used to leave messages for his wife pretending to be down the pub, so that she wouldn't be worried about the strain he was putting on his heart. How interesting, though, to hear that he had already tried to resign the editorship several times in the past - all since the appointment of chief executive Murdoch MacLennan, who finally drove Newland nuts by bringing in senior staff over his head. He might have been persuaded to stay again last week but, my Canary Wharf gym-bunny tells me, "this time, he didn't have the head of human resources [Lynn Cunningham] to talk him out of it."

NO NEWS about Simon Heffer or Gerald Kaufman this week, because Matthew "Snake Eyes" Norman is currently in St Kitts in the Caribbean, playing poker. Poker is currently sweeping the cyberspace universe - you can't move in the Tube these days for online poker adverts - and many hacks are falling under its spell. Victoria Coren has been a poker diva for years; likewise Anthony Holden (whose poker manual, All In, is published this week); ditto James Hipwell, late of the Daily Mirror share-dealing scandal, and Matt Born, who writes on media for the Daily Mail. So proficient has Mr Born become at poker - he has sat in at the million-dollar-spinning Texas Hold'Em championships in Las Vegas - that soon he may win enough to be able to retire from the most virulently anti-gambling newspaper in the UK.

WHAT WITH all the backslapping and fraternisation, it was like the 1914 Christmas truce at the National Portrait Gallery last week, when Press Gazette, the organ of the inky trade, newly re-vamped by Piers Morgan, announced the newspaper Hall of Fame. The magazine has been bitching and bombinating for 40 years, and, in a brazen shy at myth-making, chose the 40 greatest hacks from these decades. About half of the 40 are dead, but those who made it to the party included Bruce Page, Ann Leslie and Hugh McIlvanney, all of whom seemed undismayed by the burden of canonisation. Rival editors gossiped about the mayhem at the Telegraph. The Sun's Rebekah Wade girlishly air-kissed everyone in sight, determined to appear more fluffy than toughie. A froideur like the arrival of the Ice King settled over the partying throng when Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail walked in (and that was before he discovered that someone had defaced his portrait photograph). Reports from Kensington suggest that Dacre is avid for a knighthood, both to emulate his predecessor, Sir David English, and catch up with his peers on the Hall of Fame judging panel, Sir Harry Evans, Sir Max Hastings and Sir Peter Stothard. Elsewhere, Posy Simmonds refused to divulge the classic novel on which her new comic strip, "Tamara Drewe", is based (though it's obviously something by Thomas Hardy). The Telegraph's ridiculously beautiful diarist, Celia Walden, confronted veteran scallywag Richard Compton-Miller, who had written scathingly of her talents, and left him expiring with l'amour. Oh, and Alexander Chancellor's dog bit the Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger. Who says journalists can't enjoy each other's company without a punch-up?

HOW DID the Press Gazette secure an interview with Rupert Murdoch - the first time he's spoken in five years - in which he spills the beans about Wapping, print unions, The Times and the enmity of the British media ("They all hate me because of Sky")? "We've been after him for two-and-a-half years, ever since I became editor," says Ian Reeves, "and we've tried all manner of hooks and ruses, to no avail." Had the fact that the magazine's chief shareholder is Matthew Freud, Murdoch's son-in-law, helped to swing it? "Matthew's connection meant we could dangle a hook slightly closer to the man himself, and finally he bit." Reeves spent a frustrating two weeks of hints and winks that the interview was going ahead, but nothing was confirmed. For a while, he was on stand-by to fly to Australia. Then silence fell - "by Friday I'd given up. The interview wasn't on the flatplan. We'd other plans for the cover. And then I was summoned. I was to phone him at 9.30am Australia time, that's 11pm our time, and I'd have half an hour. It rather ruined my evening," says Reeves, ruefully. "One of my best friends had a 40th birthday. But I thought it might be unwise to push the boat out under the circumstances..."

I SEE that veteran white-suited war correspondent-turned-political sage Martin Bell is back on the box in a Channel 4 documentary about war. Broadly speaking, he's against it. In fact, the great bomb-dodger is now the head of an organisation called the Movement for the Abolition of War. I have no quibble with Bell's idealism. I would be quite happy (as would several beauty queens) to see World Peace break out. But for a war correspondent to campaign against the thing that once provided him with a living - isn't it like a motoring correspondent campaigning against the combustion engine?

HERE'S A tip for headline writers: when you're presenting a front-page story in 64-point bold type, try and get the facts straight. As a guide, you might look at Friday's Evening Standard, where the heading ran, "Question: Who is Jackie Chan's No 1 fan? Clue: He lives at No 10." Inside was a story about Mr Chan meeting Cherie Blair, who gushed to him: "The Prime Minister is a bit of a fan." Not quite the No 1 fan, then, but that's beside the point. The point is that the Blairs, to be strictly accurate, don't live at 10 Downing Street. They've been at No 11 since 1997. And, as far as I know, Gordon Brown (currently occupying No 10) hasn't yet admitted to being a big martial arts enthusiast.

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Analytics Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading organisation...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup