The feral beast: Blackhurst should know

Following news that Andrew Gilligan is leaving the Evening Standard to join the Telegraph, a rumour reaches the Beast that the paper's well-respected City editor, Chris Blackhurst, could be doing likewise.

The Sunday Telegraph has a City ed-sized hole and Blackhurst may be glad of a less-punishing schedule after seven years of 7am starts. Senior Telegraph hack Louise Armistead and The Guardian's Nils Pratley are also contenders, but Blackhurst rules himself out when I call – "and I should know, shouldn't I?"

Wark on women pensioners list?

Much talk at the BBC that Kirsty Wark could be made to walk. Executives forced to implement drastic cuts are said to be considering not renewing the Newsnight presenter's contract. Wark, 54, is known to enjoy a handsome pay package, but could find herself joining Moira Stewart, Anna Ford and Kate Adie in the ranks of female journalists mysteriously deemed surplus to requirement. "We never discuss presenters' contracts," says a Beeb spokesman when I call.

Holy cow! Candlesticks at dawn

War has broken out between two of Fleet Street's longest-serving religious affairs writers. Damian Thompson of The Daily Telegraph (also editor in chief of The Catholic Herald) wrote a snorter of a blog attacking The Times's Ruth Gledhill. Thompson took issue with her stories on the new Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, whom he firmly supports. Gledhill, in response, has accused Thompson of "bullying" her. The two hacks were once good friends but now it is "en garde" with the altar candlesticks.

Who are Burke's peers?

Observer foreign correspondent Jason Burke has been demoted. At least according to his Wikipedia entry, which has been inexplicably changed from "chief foreign correspondent" to just "a foreign correspondent". According to his official profile, he is a "senior foreign correspondent." Who wants to take him down a peg?

Gypsies win 'Mail' vote shocker

The Beast has little time for Twitter but was tickled to learn of an innovative new use of the medium. One of the Daily Mail's ever-entertaining online polls last week asked readers to ponder the tricky question : "Should gipsies be given priority by the NHS?" This was deemed to be the "worst Daily Mail poll ever!" by someone called monstris, who encouraged the Twitosphere to vote in the gypsies' favour. Was this the first time they have enjoyed 94 per cent support from Mail readers?

Snow counts nodding Lords

Jon Snow was on rambunctious form in a speech to the Association for Journalism Education before the Telegraph expenses story, turning his guns on lobby hacks for failing to expose politicians. He also rounded on the old fossils of the House of Lords which he visited recently: "There were people there I thought long dead," he said, suggesting the press monitor which ermined occupants "had slept the longest" during debates. Look out!

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