Matthew Norman's Media Diary

Will Jonathan King be redeemed?
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What will delight Wade and the gang even more than the fact itself is how King came by it. Nostalgically leafing through a cuttings file recently, he chanced upon a reference to the New York trip in the weekly column he wrote for a British paper. I wouldn't insult your intelligence by naming the newspaper, whose then editor was a certain Kelvin MacKenzie. If and when the CCRC reopens the case, and should Mr King be acquitted on appeal, we have no doubt that Wade will do the honourable thing, and clear the front page space for the headline "It's The Sun wot cleared him!".

IN THE meantime, The Sun continues to excel in the field of showbiz reporting. I especially liked last Wednesday's page three exclusive about Gwyneth Paltrow's passion for The Two Ronnies. "If you had told me five years ago that I'd love watching reruns of The Two Ronnies," declared Gwynnie, "I'd have said you were clinically insane." This quote appeared verbatim in the Daily Record on 6 January, in the Daily Mirror a week later, and in Scotland on Sunday on 15 January, and for The Sun to sit tight for more than a month before running the identical story as an exclusive shows remarkable self-discipline. So pay no attention to gossip about Rupert Murdoch tiring of Wade since the domestic with husband Ross Wade last year. It won't be goodnight from her for a long while yet.

THE BEST of luck to Kevin Marsh as he leaves the editorship of the Today programme to become editor-in-chief of the new BBC College of Journalism. Since the college was set up by Richard Sambrook - BBC news chief when the fabled Today "two way" about Alastair Campbell's tweaking of intelligence went out - ostensibly to avoid any repetition of that "mistake", the venture takes on an engagingly holistic aura. If there's any justice, Andrew Gilligan will be unveiled next week as the college's inaugural visiting professor of radio news.

BEN KINGSLEY'S insistence on the use of his title in film credits reminds us that such insane pomposity has no place in journalism. It is unthinkable, for example, that anyone ringing to commission a piece from Clement Freud, but failing to address him as Sir Clement, would hear the receiver hurriedly returning to its cradle. Anyone who cares to test this theory, and to supply a tape by way of proof, will be rewarded with a bottle of cooking sherry.

AN IMPORTANT new political commentator recently announced himself in the Observer magazine. "Labour need to be brave with the social and moral issues," insisted Mick Hucknall. "Tony Blair's a friend. I've said to him, 'You should have waited on Iraq'. He listens." Indeed, indeed. Rumours that Hucknall has been tapped up by that New Labour house bulletin The Times to replace Mary Ann Sieghart, thankfully returned safe from that endlessly captivating family sailing adventure, have yet to be denied.

THERE IS no more detail about Culture, Media and Sport secretary Tessa Jowell's reneging on predecessor Chris Smith's agreement to keep live Test cricket on terrestrial TV. Jowell was criticised for this, you may recall, by the Commons select committee, which refused to reveal the minutes of the meeting at which Sky's James Murdoch lobbied her on the nebulous grounds of "commercial sensitivity". Jowell is currently on holiday with husband David Mills, the respected offshore banking lawyer, but we hope to discuss the matter with her, and also with committee chairman John Whittingdale, when the Commons returns to action this week after a refreshing half-term break.

NEXT WEEK we will also return to Son of PC Gone Mad!, Simon Heffer's tender rite-of-passage memoir, when the author will complete his account of the ill-fated January sales trip to buy Mam's new hostess trolley. In the meantime, a word of clarification about his chum Colonel Andrew Roberts, the finger lickin' good historian and columnist who appears regularly in the book. If any impression has been given here that Roberts, a nascent high Tory grandee, is embarrassed about being the heir to one of the country's most important Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises, we apologise. In fact, when at Cambridge, where he took a starred First in the combined degree of history and deep-fat frying (his thesis, "The Economic and Military Implications of Secrecy in the Blending of Herbs and Spices", remains the standard text to this day), the colonel used to hand out KFC vouchers to undergraduate pals. I hope this ends any confusion.

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