Is Jeff Randall leaving The Daily Telegraph?
Whispers reach me the jovial editor-at-large may be off once Peter Oborne starts his weekly column at the end of September. Poaching Oborne from the Daily Mail was a coup for the Telegraph, but it's said to have unsettled its existing political columnists, Benedict Brogan and Simon Heffer. The Telegraph can't have been quite as fun for Randall since they sacked his number-one fan, Will Lewis, earlier this year. "If Jeff is going, it should be good for the Telegraph's expenses budget," says a Victoria mole, "He's a terrific luncher." The Telegraph declined to comment.
Cashing in on the big day
The Guardian followed up on Chelsea Clinton's multi-million-dollar nuptials with a po-faced article lamenting the commercialisation of marriage. "The way we marry now is largely a confection created by commercial interests," pontificated Rebecca Mead, who has written a book on the matter. Commercial interests? What, like a 24-page supplement called "The Ultimate Wedding Guide", chock full of ads and free to readers of, er, last Wednesday's Guardian?
Is the 'Mail' talking in code?
The family of murdered MI6 spook Gareth Williams is peeved at tabloid talk that he was a cross-dresser or gay. The main culprit was The Sun, but not so blameless was the Mail. A caption on a picture of the keen cyclist in his Lycra gear read: "Uphill racer: Mr Williams cycled for the Cheltenham club". What did they mean?
Only techies need apply
The Daily Mail website consistently ranks top of the hit-ratings – now we know why. It is seeking a "Search Engine Optimization manager" – someone to bully hacks into putting Cheryl Cole in every story – and is using a sophisticated technique: burying the ad in a techy sphere of the web where only SEO managers go. "Mailonline is looking for a talented SEO manager so if you found this you're the kind of techie we need", they trill. It's the kind of sophistication we expect of MI6, or at least we used to.
Festival luvvies rally round
A crafty move by Donna Renney, the head of Cheltenham Festivals. She is contacting all the media luvvies who appear at her festivals, along with anyone who has ever bought a ticket, asking them to lobby Cheltenham's politicians to see off any possible cuts to the town's arts budget. With the full force of the arts lobby about to descend, those poor politicos won't know what's hit them.
Stalking the baboon killer
The Sunday Times is touchingly trying to crawl back into Clare Balding's favour, after the hoo-ha in which baboon-shooting TV critic A A Gill doltishly branded her "the dyke on a bike". In last week's TV listings they gave her Britain by Bike a big Critics' Choice puff, even though it was the final episode. And they found room for a pic of Balding and her bike. Wouldn't it just be easier to sack Gill?