The Feral Beast

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The Independent Online

Sitwell's revenge is a dish best served cold

William Sitwell used to write the Food Spy column for the 'ES' supplement in the 'Evening Standard'. It compensated for the day job as editor of 'Waitrose Food Illustrated' and, as he once said, "the fees help to heat the swimming pool in the summer". Then, following the umpteenth revamp, and at very short notice, Sitwell heard he was to be replaced by carrot-haired chef Tom Aikens. But revenge was sweet. Sitwell had taken the precaution of registering "Food Spy" as a trademark, and as the 'Standard' continued to use the name, it wasn't long before he asked it to kindly refrain. It didn't and Sitwell instructed m'learned friends. After much huffing, the 'Standard' caved in and Sitwell relinquished Food Spy in exchange for a sack of gold that will go some way to heating his pool.

The publisher vanishes

On 7 May, Simon Tiffin was announced as the launch publisher of the magazine 'Standpoint', which sees itself as a modern neo-con publication, with Daniel Johnson, the son of ginger-haired spanking aficionado Paul, as editor. Two months later it's all over and Tiffin is gone, nowhere to be seen.

Too posh for the Beeb

More evidence of BBC dumbing-down? One of the Beeb's political reporters wanted to use the word "quixotic" the other day to describe the recent resignation of David Davis MP (since re-elected). However, the adjective was deemed "too sophisticated" for BBC TV news bulletins and was dropped.

Praise from Dacre: a kiss of life, or death?

Kremlinologists at Associated Newspapers, obsessed as ever with the succession to editor Paul Dacre, are looking with fresh interest at his long-serving deputy Alistair Sinclair. At a big staff party thrown last weekend at Hampton Court, in London, Dacre, left, made prolonged and complimentary references to ex-features supremo Sinclair in his speech. "Without him this paper would never appear," said Dacre (who in news conferences is seldom so positive about his sidekick). Was this a hint that he is now favourite to become the next 'Daily Mail' editor? Or was it the old Kremlin trick of praising a close Politburo colleague – just before having him liquidated?

Who needs the day job?

Weep not for Susannah herbert, the 'Sunday Times' literary editor. While other hacks in the Murdoch empire might complain about pay, the statuesque Herbert has little to worry about on that front: she is a 25 per cent shareholder in a company run by her father, the former merchant banker Robin Herbert. In the accounts of Newbridge Construction, Ms Herbert, under her married name of Ford, is recorded as having received a £1m dividend. Certainly beats traipsing into Wapping for a living.

Europe falls to Murdoch

The 50 American journalists who are about to lose their jobs at 'The Wall Street Journal' are not the only employees affected by Rupert Murdoch's arrival as the paper's owner. We also hear reports of "carnage" at the European HQ of the 'Journal', with New York being designated the international production hub for the newspaper. Several non-editorial jobs have gone in Brussels – largely the result of Murdoch being able to get the work done more economically elsewhere in his media group.

Not on message at Condé Nast

Strange tastes at Condé Nast, whose internet supremo, Stefano Maruzzi, a former Microsoft geek, is employed to oversee the company's international websites. Maruzzi, it seems, might have missed the upmarket subtleties of the company that produces 'Vogue' and 'Tatler'. In a recent interview on, he said: "We all eat similar McDonald's meals or wear the same shoes. Conceptually the 'Vogue' websites can be identical. We have one centralised design team for the brand." Big Macs all round.