Brave new BBC
The BBC screened a specially made film at the launch of its strategic review last week, in which two news-room stars were picked out to give evidence on why the corporation can make good its promise to produce the best journalism in the world.
So who were these chosen stars? Orla Guerin, talking about her life as a correspondent ("Pakistan is now my home"), and favourite of the top brass Evan Davis. "Everything that we are is impartial," Davis told the camera. "That does not mean we just let the politicians have a free ride." Will BBC top brass be similarly robust in the months to come?
The Bell tolls
Golden age nonsense from white-suited former BBC war correspondent Martin Bell, whose rather bitter poem The Death of News is published in the latest British Journalism Review. "These days they don't report but they perform/Waving their arms in fake sincerity;/Hardly a gimmick that they won't refuse/Lip gloss for men is actually the norm." Brave reporter though he was, Bell's comments make light of the fact that a record number of journalists were killed doing their job in 2009.
You've got to admire the sheer brass neck of Max Clifford. The man whose publicity skills helped Simon Cowell become the richest man in American prime time, and who represented Celebrity Big Brother star Shilpa Shetty during one of the biggest entertainment television stories of recent times, is to address the Cambridge Union on Thursday, supporting the motion "This House Believes that Reality TV Represents Everything Wretched about Britain Today."