For the record: 29/03/2010

"We hope that other philanthropists will also be interested in maintaining quality journalism to protect freedom of speech and encourage investigative reporting to promote greater transparency in society." Alexander Lebedev speaks out after acquiring The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.


Cool Newell


After last week's British Press Awards, we already have an early contender for next year's Reporter of the Year in the ice-cool Claire Newell of The Sunday Times, who went undercover for the lobbying exposé shown on last week's Dispatches.

Newell, some may remember, was arrested – though not charged – by police in 2004 after The Sunday Times landed a series of scoops based on leaked government documents. Newell, then 23, had worked as a temp in various government departments including the Cabinet Office. She had done a brief summer stint at the ST before returning to temping in Whitehall. Now she is back at the paper and proving her undoubted journalistic talents. But she's still comfortable in the corridors of power, just ask Stephen Byers and Geoff Hoon.

Asian exports

The demise of BBC Asian Network, comes just as America is embracing the Desi music scene spawned in Britain and spearheaded by Billboard No 1 artist Jay Sean, from London. That's a great opportunity for British commercial outfits such as Buzz Asia radio, Brit-Asia TV and Brit-Asian magazine (featured in Jay Sean's latest video). Best placed of all is Brit entrepreneur Anjula Acharia-Bath who has turned her multi-platform Desi Hits brand into a New York-London-Mumbai operation and is backed by megarich Jimmy Iovine, founder of Interscope records.

Not bad, punk

The Scottish-born CBS chat-how host and reformed alcoholic Craig Ferguson is modestly playing down speculation that he is the natural eventual successor to the same network's great David Letterman.

In the meantime, Ferguson, who once played in a Glasgow punk band with Peter "Malcolm Tucker" Capaldi, must content himself with a role in the Dreamworks 3-D animation movie How to Train Your Dragon. Ferguson provides the voice for a character named Gobber the Belch.

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