The Feral Beast

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The Independent Online

Culture of cronies

A surprise appointment at the troubled New Statesman – Jonathan Derbyshire has been given the prestigious new title of culture editor, overseeing arts and books. Jonathan who? Indeed. Derbyshire is a lecturer in philosophy at Anglia University and although considered a good writer is not known to have any editorial experience beyond a stint as reviews editor for The Philosophers' Magazine. So how did he get the job? As it happens, Derbyshire is a contributing editor of Granta, the literary quarterly edited by Jason Cowley, above, until he left ... to edit the Staggers. Piccolo mondo!

Emotional? Paxman? Never

Wednesday brought disappointing news for Jeremy Paxman when the BBC finally admitted the US version of Newsnight had been axed. Paxo could be forgiven for drowning his sorrows but instead, there he was, bravely presenting the UK show that night. Viewers who thought he seemed tired and emotional were quite wrong, according to the BBC. "That is definitely not the case," says a spokesman, "Absolutely not."

A welcome in the Valleys

We've all been there – it's a colleague's leaving do, you have a pint or three, then you fall asleep on the train home. But pity David Morgan, the chief-sub at The Sun, who got on the train home to Reading recently and woke up in Swansea at 5am. That left him barely enough time to make it to back into Wapping for his next day's shift. Cheers!

Exit, hubris, stage left

Sunday Express theatre critic Mark Shenton, chairman of the Critics' Circle, has been loftily denouncing lay journalists who dare venture into theatre reviewing. He and his opposite number on the FT, Ian Shuttleworth, take the view that theatre criticism is a learned art. But what's this? In his blog for The Stage, Shenton reveals that before going freelance seven years ago he was not even a journalist, but rather a management suit at the Press Association so, er, not even a proper hack.

Cutting edge of journalism

Former Guardian hack Joanna Coles, right, is being called the new Anna Wintour, having swept in to New York as US editor of Marie Claire. Now she has her own reality TV show, Running With Scissors, which has been getting much publicity from her old paper. But her screen ambitions weren't always so easily fulfilled. Those with long memories will recall her stint as co-host on The Spin, a BBC arts show commissioned to replace the much-loved Late Show. Alas The Spin was deemed so poor only six episodes were made.

Much more to Manchester

Good to see Mike Agar enjoying himself as graphics editor at the Daily Telegraph. Having previously worked at The Observer and IoS, Agar is considered hot property in graphics. But what's this? A huge graphic in Friday's paper on the Manchester bomb plot showed a map of the city centre with a key showing an inch representing 1,000 miles. Oops!