TALK OF THE TRADE

Wapping nice guys?

With Bill O'Neill firmly in place at Wapping as News International's new chief executive, more information is leaking out about why Gus Fischer and his team were abruptly replaced by Rupert Murdoch. Since newsprint is bought in New York for the group, the shortage being suffered by the titles was never a convincing reason. The answer is that Murdoch is looking ahead to a potential Labour government, and cleaning up his industrial relations act after breaking the print unions with the move to Wapping in 1986. Insiders say that the non-unionised printworkers, who were originally bussed in from as far away as Southampton, are deeply unhappy. They have pushed up output at the print works wildly beyond expectations with the increase in supplements and, latterly, the price cuts, but have not shared in the productivity gains. Many are said to be very fed up - militant, even. A Labour government is expected to introduce new employment rights, allowing staff (where more than 50 per cent are union members) to vote for a unionised closed shop - a development that would negate Murdoch's gains. But he does not want a confrontation with a Labour government. Those on the receiving end of Bill O'Neill's instructions say that so far, all his statements have been carefully conciliatory.

Jaspan steams in

Andrew Jaspan rounded off his first week as editor of the Observer with a letter to readers, immodestly displayed on page 2 and topped with a flattering, close-cropped photograph, introducing himself and asking for their views on the paper. "I will edit an open-minded, challenging and questioning paper," he promised, pointing to its editorial independence through the ownership of the Scott Trust, which controls the Guardian Media Group. Journalists confirm he came into the building bustling with all the energy he is famed for, very clear about what he did and did not want in that week's paper. The quirky weekly feature from The Men Who Know failed to appear, while Melanie Phillips's social conscience column was turned into a feature about community morals and promoted to the top of the page, in an attempt to liven up the opinion pages. In another innovation, the foreign editor, Ann Treneman, introduced her world news section with a sharp introduction, explaining to readers why the paper was running that particular selection of stories. Jaspan also promised brighter writing, since "we are borrowing and sometimes intruding on an hour of your time".

Dunn roamin'

Richard Dunn, the former Thames chief executive who has just lined up a senior job at News International Television, left last weekend for a well-earned family holiday in the Caribbean. Dunn had seen a long-standing rival appointed as his titular boss - Greg Dyke, chairman of Pearson Television, which owns Thames - and spent a few months weighing offers, including one to become director-general of SES, the Luxembourg-based owners of the Astra satellite, before accepting an invitation from Sam Chisholm.

Rupert Murdoch's key TV executive outside the US. Dunn will arrive at BSkyB, 40 per cent owned by Mr Murdoch, on 18 April, tanned and ready. Among his first duties: advising on BSkyB's bid for Channel Five, the new terrestrial television channel. And he will, of course, be working alongside his former Thames TV chum David Elstein, director of programmes for BSkyB. You couldn't have written the script...

Dyke gets finger out

Channel 4's new season proves that Greg Dyke has enjoyed at least some gainful employment over the past few months. In the sports documentary series Fair Game, this loyal follower of Manchester United and Brentford conducts six investigations into major sports. Of equal interest will be The Politician's Wife, a three-part drama series starring Juliet Stevenson and Trevor Eve, in which an affair between a Tory minister for the family and an escort girl is exposed in the press. "We're not expecting any complaints from Conservative Central Office," a Channel 4 type explained at the launch last week, "it's far too close to the mark."

Angels on the air

Britain's first commercial radio station devoted to gay issues and programming will go on air in May, after being granted a licence to broadcast for a month. Freedom FM, which has grown out of a north London community fund- raising group called the Pink Angels, will offer a mix of phone-ins, music and current affairs. It is also proposing a daily soap, North Benders, about a fictional gay community in Islington, a lesbian and gay Blind Date, and a daily children's slot featuring the fairy stories of Oscar Wilde. Several big commercial radio players, their eyes on the pink pound, will be listening with interest.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Account Manager, Spanish, London Bridge

£30,000 + 20K Commssion: Charter Selection: This rapidly expanding organisatio...

Account Manager, Spanish, London Bridge

£30,000 + 20K Commssion: Charter Selection: This rapidly expanding organisatio...

Account Manager, London Bridge

£30,000 + 20K Commssion: Charter Selection: This rapidly expanding organisatio...

Content Manager - Central London

£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz