Raymond Snoddy's Media Diary

Sun sets on the Street of Shame
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The Independent Online

REUTERS MARKS its final withdrawal from the Street of Shame after 66 years with a grand remembrance service on Wednesday week. The management move to Canary Wharf - Reuters journalists are long gone - leaves DC Thomson, publishers of Beano, as the last media refugee in Fleet Street.

REUTERS MARKS its final withdrawal from the Street of Shame after 66 years with a grand remembrance service on Wednesday week. The management move to Canary Wharf - Reuters journalists are long gone - leaves DC Thomson, publishers of Beano, as the last media refugee in Fleet Street.

All those newspaper proprietors still speaking to each other will be there, as will the 96-year-old Baroness de Reuter, widow of the last baron, who will be able to reminisce with Lord Deedes, aged 92. A rabbi will open the proceedings in St Bride's because Reuter was Jewish, as is present chief executive Tom Glocer. Viscount Rothermere, chairman of the Daily Mail, is coming and Richard Desmond of the Daily Express has been invited.

After "Let All the World in Every Corner Sing", Rupert Murdoch will read the lesson. Murdoch's credentials for the task are impeccable. His grandfather and great-grandfather were Scottish Presbyterian ministers and he holds a papal knighthood. His involvement marks a rapprochement with Reuters. In the 1980s Murdoch, a former director, inadvertently breached a Reuters rule limiting individual ownership to 15 per cent. The Reuters history tells how Murdoch disposed of an extra 8 per cent "under the watchful eyes of the trustees and the chairman Sir Christopher Hogg". It's still not clear which part of the Good Book Murdoch will choose. The Beatitudes, perhaps?

IF DESMOND turns up at St Bride's, then all three leading candidates for the contract to distribute a free afternoon newspaper in the London Underground will be together. Mayor Ken Livingstone will launch a tender later this year. Some believe Desmond's plans for a London afternoon paper are merely a wind-up of Rothermere and the hated Daily Mail. Not so. I can reveal that Desmond's expression of interest has been the first to be received by Transport for London.

IT'S GOOD to see Greg Dyke is finding his feet after his post-Hutton defenestration from the BBC. Dyke is now socialising with Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine as chairman of HIT Entertainment following its purchase by venture capitalists Apax Partners. "That's my kind of programming," purrs Dyke. At least it may stem the implausible stream of rumours that Dyke plans a hostile takeover of ITV.

As a parent Dyke has a soft spot for HIT but believes few realise when they buy a Bob or Thomas video they will have to watch it at least 100 times and learn to play the parts. Dyke is now clearly "going plural" and the two-days-a-month HIT chairmanship will leave plenty of time for more chairmanships as Apax swallows media properties.

NOW THAT Dyke is more settled the new media parlour game is trying to guess where Kelvin will go next after trousering £7m from the sale of talkSPORT. He certainty will not be spending more time with his family. No family could possibly stand that. It is equally clear MacKenzie will not be replacing Rebekah Wade at The Sun, as some have suggested. In fact, there are a lot of places Kelvin definitely won't be going - among them the Daily Mirror, BSkyB, UK Press Gazette, the board of radio group GCAP whose chairman Ralph Bernard is not a fan, or the new trust that will run the BBC. The 58-year-old Kelvin, will like Greg, simply "go plural" and do a bit of this and that until he finds a media investment to boost the coffers.

NEW BROADCASTING minister James Purnell could hardly be more different from predecessor Lord McIntosh. At 35, Purnell is exactly half his lordship's age and while electioneering Purnell faced an indignity that could not possible have overtaken the elegant McIntosh - he was shown the door of a local pub for wearing trainers. Purnell happily admits that he tried to get into advertising and failed. Ditto television production. And as a management consultant he looked down his nose at a strange little American company using out-of-date technology. It was AOL.

Nothing left but politics, then. Now Purnell has to build on McIntosh's work and move the UK to digital. Here youth is an advantage. He has the entire second half of his life to devote to reaching the Promised Land.

WITH MORE BBC strikes looming there is an urgent need for a strikers' training programme at the corporation. Far too many young people have no experience, or real feel for striking. "I can't go on strike. I've got a mortgage," wailed one young thing. Others thought a day's strike equated to a day's shopping. A new BBC course, held (naturally) at a quality hotel, could provide trained strikers for the entire media industry.

One reason why the row is far from over is the unequal distribution of pain. The latest example involves three news executives whose current posts will disappear. All three have already got new jobs as a result of "changes in the management of planning across the BBC". Jon Williams, former home news editor, becomes television newsgathering editor; Ceri Thomas, editor of news at Five Live, becomes radio newsgathering editor; and Frances Weil, TV news planning editor, becomes editor, TV specials. In a previous wheeze the BBC property department is being cut from 94 to around 40 people. "The five most senior posts are to be closed and six new ones created to manage redrawn areas of work," the BBC announced.

IT'S GREAT fun doing a bit of television but a Radio 4 documentary is pure joy. The Riot That Never Was (17 June) shows that the BBC has always been very naughty. A transcript has been unearthed of a 1926 spoof broadcast that announced, as breaking news, that demonstrators had hanged a government minister, and destroyed both Big Ben and the Savoy. Panic ensued - and this was 12 years before Orson Welles's War of the Worlds broadcast. Complaints poured in, but when BBC managing director John Reith discovered there were even more messages of appreciation, he ordered more of the same.

AN INTERESTING idea from across the Irish Sea. RTE, the Irish national broadcaster, has just been required under Freedom of Information legislation to reveal - within bands - what it pays its top presenters. Now, wouldn't that be a nice little initiative for former BBC employee James Purnell?

Matthew Norman is away

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