Media: The Word on the Street

GLENN HODDLE was famously vilified for revealing private conversations with England footballers. Where does that leave Nicholas Coleridge, publisher of Conde Nast? Coleridge's reputation as a gentleman in an ungentlemanly world is looking a little shaky after an article in The Guardian in which he spills the beans on his interviews with applicants for the Tatler job. Coleridge names no names; so we must guess at the identity of the award- winning writer described as being "one walnut short of a Caesar salad". Coleridge is more forthcoming about the identity of the friend who told him to recruit someone who was good with staff as she and her husband had had problems with butlers coming and going. It was Barbara Amiel, columnist and wife of Telegraph owner Conrad Black.

THE TRIALS of Conrad Black, examined on these pages today, are compelling; but we would not necessarily claim they are apocalyptic. Frank Johnson, the normally languid editor of the Black-owned Spectator, dutifully suggests otherwise. The Spectator's Portrait Of the Week says: "The world was astonished when Mr Jean Chretien, the Prime Minister of Canada... blocked the ennoblement of Mr Conrad Black..." The media village may have been intrigued, constitutional historians interested; but the world, one suspects, had other things on its mind.

SECTION SHALL not speak unto section. The Observer's media page in its business section last Sunday speculated excitedly that "rumour abounds" of "the impending nuptials of Rupert Murdoch and his most recent paramour Wendie Deng... All eyes on the New York Post for a discreet announcement". Actually there was a less than discreet announcement, albeit with the paramour spelling her name differently, on page 3 of The Observer. The lead story headlined "Murdoch acts party animal to wed Wendy" reported the wedding in full.

INDIA KNIGHT of The Sunday Times hopped over to the London Evening Standard to pour bile over her former employer, Roger Alton, editor of The Observer. Knight was furious with Alton for running what she thought an unfunny spoof suicide column, already discussed some weeks ago on these pages. Colleagues of Alton are somewhat surprised at Knight's venom as she was allowed to pen an even less witty confessional column in her Observer days about her marriage breakdown, leaving readers unclear as to why it had broken down in the first place.

ONE ITEM for action on Greg Dyke's agenda might be to improve the grammar of his publicity department. Each copy of the BBC's annual report last week said: "The contents of this report is strictly embargoed."

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