The Feral Beast: There's no point in playing I-Spy at the 'Telegraph'
Sunday 20 January 2008
Musical chairs at the 'Telegraph'. As Celia Walden, left, moves from the Spy column to write features, I hear her deputy, Jonathan Isaby, is to get his own political gossip column, leaving two berths free at ailing Spy. And an astonishing decision has been made to drop award-winning photographer Ian Jones, with his reputation as the best Royal snapper in the business. He took the official portrait of Prince William's confirmation and spent five months with him at Eton, producing a portfolio to mark his 18th birthday. "After 15 years of loyal service they aren't renewing my contract," says Jones. "As something of a railroad shock, the excuses went in one ear and out the other when they told me... So I'm free and available for work." It won't be long before he gets snapped up.
Good week for
iTunes customers. Apple has announced it will cut the price it charges per song for UK customers from 79p to 74p within the next six months. The move comes four years after 'Which?' complained to the EU about Apple's pricing policies; it charges 99 euro cents, 74p, per song across the rest of Europe. Apple has blamed the price discrepancy on record companies that charge more to distribute music in the UK than in continental Europe.
Bad week for
Alex West, the junior reporter suspended by 'The Sun' after being caught attempting to buy cocaine in a nightclub. As the son of the security minister, Admiral Lord West, Alex's scrape in a Hackney nightclub caused embarrassment to a hat-trick of institutions – his paper, his family and the Government. The 25-year-old hack had been working on 'The People' until landing himself a contract at 'The Sun' last year. Sister paper the 'News of the World' specialises in scoops exposing the drug-taking of celebs including Jodie Kidd, Johnnie Walker and Sophie Anderton.
Maddy's off the front page
Followers of the Madeleine McCann story have been able to depend on the 'Evening Standard' to clear the front page for any development. So how come a potential breakthrough, with police looking into the disappearance of another little girl near Praia da Luz, was buried on page 17? The answer is: sales fell by 10,000 the last two times Maddy made the cover, so the news desk have been told to curb their Maddy enthusiasm. If only they'd tell the 'Express' to do likewise.
All smoke without fire
Scheisse! Red faces at the 'Hamburger Morgenpost' after it reported that a computer manager had fired three of his staff for being non-smokers. All a hoax, sadly for Stephanie Lamprecht, the hapless hackette who wrote the story. She said Thomas Joschko told her he had fired three of his 10 staff because of the disruption they caused by not smoking. "He's a chain-smoker and said he was tired of smokers being hassled so much," she said. It could happen to anyone.
Flying close to the wind
No newspaper advertising executive would ever risk offending a major client, least of all one shelling out for prized online ads. But shouldn't 'The Guardian' have thought twice about running a big ad telling us to "Upgrade to British Airways", offering "2 nights free in London" on its website on Thursday? It appeared bang in the middle of a report on BA's prang at Heathrow.
All knight long
The back-from-the-dead 'News at Ten' has been panned for being all bong and no dinner. Audience figures have disappointed. One niggle is the way Sir Trevor McDonald is announced. We know he's been knighted; do we really need a nightly reminder?
'Mail' keeps abreast
What's going on at the 'Daily Mail'? As a family newspaper, it has a policy of minimal nudity. But this past week? Three nipples. One was Carla Bruni's; two belonged to a girl in a jacuzzi. Editor Paul Dacre is away, and his deputy Alistair Sinclair – a strong candidate to succeed him – is in charge. Is this the shape of the future?
Sad Saga: Soames heads off
News that Emma Soames is stepping down, or sideways, as editor of 'Saga Magazine' will be a blow for the publication, which has blossomed under her five-year leadership. The Folkestone-based, subscription-only monthly boasts an astonishing two million over-50 readers, and a host of top writers. Soames, who is the granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill, is keen to get back to London, where her mother Mary, Lady Soames, is in hospital.
That's dedication to duty
Three cheers for Chris Moncrieff, the veteran political reporter for news agency PA who has been covering Westminster for 40 years. Despite being laid up with heart problems, Moncrieff filed a parliamentary sketch on Wednesday's PMQs from his hospital bed. In theory Moncrieff has retired, having comfortably exceeded the official retirement age of 65.
Pining for Parky? See AXA
Fans of Michael Parkinson suffering withdrawal symptoms since his retirement will be cheered to see him back on screen – in the ad breaks. Parky is the face of insurance firm AXA Sun Life Direct. AXA also sponsors British drama on ITV3, little sister of Parky's old employer. How cosy.
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