Friday, 24 April 2015

Test your news knowledge with this week's quiz

Last week’s newsquiz was clearly a lot tougher than usual. The top collective score was 18 by the in-form Batstones (Adam and Lucy). But the individual scores were well down. Ted Ditchburn, from North News and Pictures, made an impressive debut with 14. Sally Tipper, Peter Campbell, Blaise Tapp and Alex Murphy all clocked in with 13. James Restall scored 12, Natalie Marchant 11, Chris Lennon 10 and Matt Chorley, who for the next few weeks will be living purely in a political bubble, scored 8. My pub mates struggled too, getting a dodgy 13.
Here is this week’s quiz. I think it might be a little easier ... but it is difficult to judge. As usual there are 20 questions with five bonuses, so 25pts up for grabs. Let me know how you get on.

 Wegasi Nebiat is pulled from the sea after the boat
she was travelling in capsized (see Question 19)
1. Who said: ‘The SNP is a real and present danger to our future. They will pit Scotland against England. That could be disastrous to the people of Scotland – and fatal to the UK as a whole.’?
Bonus: Abby, a 17-year-old Labour supporter, started 'a movement against the distorted media portrayal of Ed’ and got which hashtag trending on Twitter?
Bonus: Tory Party chairman Grant Shapps denied that he, or an associate, cleaned up what?

Bonus: What is the name of the food blog Miriam González Durantez (Clegg) has been writing for three years?
2.Tesco has reported the worst results in its history with a record pre-tax loss of how much?
Bonus: Who is considering a name change after making a loss of £37.3 million?
3. European politicians disagree over whether the Mare Nostrum operation should be re-introduced. What is it?
4. Why was a lollipop man suspended in Luton?
5. Who received criticism after saying: 'I don't believe stores should stock clothes below or above a certain weight. They should be made to feel uncomfortable when they go in and can't find a size.’?
6. Cricketer James Anderson became England’s highest Test match wicket-taker, overtaking Sir Ian Botham’s long-standing record of how many wickets?
7. Why was DNP in the headlines?
8. A 14-year-old boy from Blackburn has been charged with inciting another person to carry out an attack on which commemorative occasion?
9. What did a collie named Don do that caused a tailback on the M74 in Lanarkshire? 
10. John Hinckley Junior appeared in court to request his unconditional release from the mental hospital where he has been living for three decades. What was Hinckley’s crime?
11. Who announced the end of Operation Decisive Storm and the launch of Operation Renewal of Hope? 
12. Which two football teams will meet in the FA Cup Final? Half point each
Bonus: Which Premier football team has the most Twitter followers in the UK?
13. It was the Queen’s birthday on Tuesday. How old was she?
14. Who, according to his parents, 'lived and died a hero’?
15. Robert Downey Jr stormed out of a Channel 4 interview after being asked questions about his personal life. Which film was he promoting?
16. Paula Radcliffe declared she is ‘unfit and unprepared’ for what? 
17. It’s ten years since the first video was uploaded to YouTube. What was it called?
18. Teenage actor Sawyer Sweeten has been found dead. What television series did he appear in for ten years, from the age of 16 months? 
19. Eritrean refugee Wegasi Nebiat was photographed (see above) being pulled from the sea when a migrant ship sank off which island?
20. What was revealed to be 50cm (20in) deep, 25cm (10in) high, 45cm (18in) wide?

Answers here

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Six cracking regional newspaper front pages


The shortlists for the Regional Press Awards have now been announced. Well done to all of those who made it to the final six. I judged three categories and was, as always, hugely impressed by the quality. It is clear there is plenty of life in regional newspapers yet - and anyone who writes them off should have a close look at the entries. There really is some excellent writing, campaigns and designs. The digital award just shows how far the industry - well Trinity Mirror and the Belfast Telegraph to be accurate - has progressed over the last year. One category that always catches the eye is Front Page of the Year. Below are the shortlisted six. I wasn't involved in the judging of these so have no idea who has won ... could be any one of them. The winners will be announced at the awards lunch on May 15 at the Marriott, Grosvenor Square, London. It is one of my favourite events of the year, so I am looking forward to catching up with old colleagues and friends over a glass or two and celebrating the cream of the regional industry. See you there. Click here for the full shortlist.


The Belfast Telegraph on the death of Ian Paisley
The Brentwood Gazette on the brutal Tweets sent after a man was hit by a train 
The Dorset Echo's WWI centenary wrap
The Edinburgh Evening News on the result of the referendum
The Evening Telegraph, Dundee, on drug users on a street at 5.30pm


The Western Mail on the Nato Summit in Newport


Guardian wins 'best designed' in world - again

Congratulations to The Guardian for being voted one of the best designed newspapers in the world ... for the second year running. The Society of News Design judges started with 215 papers from around the globe and whittled them down to 58, 17 and then earlier this month selected the final four. The judges said of The Guardian: 'It sets a standard for the industry in just about every discipline for a print publication.' These were the top four:

The Guardian (Britain) 


Dagens Nyheter (Sweden) 


De Morgen (Belgium)


Politiken (Denmark) 

The Guardian and Dagens Nyheter were both in the top five last year too. Before last year, no British newspaper had reached the top places since 2007. It’s a great accolade for the paper and, with no North American papers making the cut, for European designers generally. I looked at the final 17 in a previous post here and the SND report on the awards is here

Monday, 20 April 2015

Street of shame ...


I was disappointed to see that even the Weatherfield Gazette hasn't escaped the demise of the sub-editor. Apart from the typo on the splash headline, the tracking is outrageous. And why, you might ask, is a local Manchester weekly leading its back page on the Scottish FA Cup fifth round? Shame. 

Hat-tip to Jonathan Kennaugh and Paul Cunningham.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Have a crack at this week's newsquiz

Here's this week's newsquiz. Last week's questions were clearly a bit tougher as the excuses were certainly flowing - 'distracted by the Grand National', 'sleeping', 'spent the week abroad' etc. The best collective score, for the first time ever, went to my drinking pals at the Plough who clocked up 17. The top individual score was 15 - by Alex Murphy, James Restall and Michael Owens. Chris Lennon equalled his personal best of 14 for the fourth time in the last five weeks, the same score as the Batstone collective. Blaise Tapp, who scored a highly impressive 20 a couple of weeks ago, slipped back to a disappointing ten. Try your hand at this week's questions. As usual there are 25 points for the taking. Don't forget to let me know how you get on.

The Independent reports on Lord Jenner
(Question 18)
1. Which of the parties, apart from Labour and the SNP, taking part in the BBC election debate had the most seats in the last parliament? 
Bonus: What did Nick Clegg (who was not at the debate) call the potential rightwing alliance of Ukip, the Democratic Unionists and the Conservatives?
2. The owner of which two daily UK newspapers gave Nigel Farage ‘one of his best birthday presents ever’ with a £1.3m donation to Ukip? Half a point each for each paper.
Bonus: Polish prince Janek Zylinski challenged Farage to what?
3. A memorial service is to be held in Castleford for a woman who during her life was deported from Malta for punching a policeman, became a Jehovah’s Witness and posed on the sleeve of a single by the Smith’s. Who was she?
4. Why was Nimrud in the headlines?
5. Christopher Eccleston revealed the reason he quit the role of Dr Who. What was it?
6. How were Shout by Lulu, Young Americans by David Bowie and I’ll Be There by Niles and Chic Rodgers connected?
Bonus: Percy Sledge, who died this week, had a No 1 in 1966 with his debut single. What was it called?
Bonus. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry revealed that the biggest selling album in the world in 2014 sold 10 million copies (4 million more than second placed 1989 by Taylor Swift). What is it?
7. Which country voted to continue the spring hunting of quail and turtle doves, an activity that is banned across Europe?
8. Why is a candlelit vigil planned for tonight (Friday) in St George Square, Glasgow?
9. Jordan Spieth was crowned the youngest Masters winner since Tiger Woods - how old is he?
Bonus: Spieth’s final score equalled Woods’s 1997 tournament record at how many strokes under par?

10. Whose headstone was vandalised at Washburn Street Cemetery, Scranton, Pennsylvania?
11. Why were all flags on New South Wales government buildings and establishments including, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, lowered to half-mast?
12. How did Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring upset her exclusive neighbourhood?
13. Who wrote: 'This morning, someone suggested they’d like to see me burn to death. All of which goes to say that I am off Twitter for a bit. Love and peace x.’?
14. There was a reported 'flurry of excitement’ among Premier League football clubs when coach Jurgen Klopp announced he would be leaving which club in the summer?
15. Why was Joshua Leakey in the headlines?
16. Who was accused by the European Union of formally violating antitrust laws?
17. What is the name of the spacecraft that was launched to deliver more than 4,300lbs of supplies, including an espresso maker, to the International Space Station?  
18. Which police force, which interviewed more than 2,000 people and submitted a file of evidence to the CPS, condemned the decision not to prosecute Labour peer Lord Janner on child sex charges?
19. Which supermarket announced it is to cut up to 720 head-office jobs while recruiting 5,000 shop floor staff as part of a plan to focus on customer service?
20. A maths question, which asked High School students in Singapore 'What date is Cheryl’s birthday?’, went viral. What is the answer to the puzzle, i.e. when is Cheryl's birthday?

Answers here

Friday, 10 April 2015

Try your hand at this week's newsquiz

Here's this week's news quiz. Last week saw a top individual score by our old favourite Lydia Willgress with 19. Sophie Jamieson and her family got a whopping 22.5 on a family break in Portugal - I am impressed the that the Jamiesons keep up with the news even when on holiday. Penny Dawson scored 17 and Alex Murphy 15.5. There were a few on 14, including master of consistency Chris Lennon, James Restall (slipping back one from his usual score of 15) and last week's top scorer Blaise Tapp. The Batstone collective were clearly in Easter holiday mode, only clocking up 13. Here's this week's quiz. As usual here are 20 questions with five bonuses, so 25 points to be had. Let me know how you get on. 

Picture of the week - by the Press Association's Stefan Rousseau
(Election Questions 1 and 2)


1. Who, according to Ed Miliband, demeaned himself and his office?
Bonus: Ed Miliband said which rules were ‘indefensible' and axing them would raise 'hundreds of millions' in tax?
Bonus: The Green Party released a boyband video featuring lookalikes of Ed Miliband, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage singing a pop ballad. What is the name of the song?
2. Joey Essex went on a boat trip with Nigel Farage. Where?
Bonus: Vice chairman for Ukip in Bristol, John Langley, who is standing for next month’s city elections, revealed he had worked as what for 40 years?
3. The US Masters is being held, as always, at the Augusta National Golf Club. In which state is it?
Bonus: Who was caddy for Rory McIlroy in the pre-Masters Par 3 contest? 
4. The Prince and Princess of Wales celebrated their wedding anniversary. How long have they been married?
5. Who wrote The Adventure of Alice Lascelles which is due for publication in June?
6. Burglars emptied up to 70 safety deposit boxes at which London vault?
7. It was revealed that Garry Kief tied the knot in a private ceremony last year in Palm Springs. Who did he marry?
8. UKOG has found a significant amount of what near Gatwick Airport?
9.  Jeremy Clarkson pulled out of which BBC television show?
10. The original annotated manuscript for which hit song sold for $1.2m (£806,000)?
11. A defendant in a bankruptcy case shot dead a co-defendant, his former lawyer and a court judge in which city?
12. Why was Michael Slager in the headlines? 
13. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and James Nesbitt (The Missing) are both nominated for the leading actor award in this year’s Baftas. Name one of the other two nominees.
Bonus: Who is sponsoring the Baftas?
14. Which was the first of the 92 football league sides to be relegated this season?
15. Who announced: 'Ladies and gentleman, sorry for this delay … we’ve found out we’ve picked up the wrong driver and have to reverse.'?
16. Worcestershire was top of what list?
17. Forensic teams are exhuming bodies from the mass graves of up to 1,700 soldiers killed by ISIS in which city?
18. Why did the England and Norway under-19 womens' teams replay the final seconds of their European Championship qualifier on Thursday?
19. Police launched an investigation into the death of four people all believed to be linked to the surgery of Dr Rory Lyons. Where did this happen?
20. This weekend Nina Carberry is hoping to become the first woman to do what?

Answers here

Friday, 3 April 2015

Never mind Good Friday ... here's the newsquiz

Blaise Tapp and Michael Owens were the top scorers in last week's newsquiz with a hugely impressive 20 out of 25. Alex Murphy was back in form with 18. Old favourites Lydia Willgress, Sophie Jamieson and Damon Wake all clocked up 17. James Restall scored his third 15 in a row but was gutted to be pipped by colleague Catherine Hardy who scored 16. The Batstone household (Adam and Lucy) also scored a collective 16. Charlie Taverner scored 15, Chris Lennon 14 and Matt Cornish 12. 
Here's this week's quiz (you didn't really think I would take Good Friday off). As usual there are 20 questions with five bonuses, so 25 points up for grabs. Take a break from your hot cross buns, get the grey-matter going and let me know how you get on.  

Today's Guardian reports on last night's leaders' debate (Q1)
1. What role did Jonny Tudor have in the televised Leaders' Debate?
Bonus: In which city was the debate held?
2. David Cameron warned that working families would face an annual average tax rise of how much if Labour was elected?
Bonus: The claim was dismissed as 'unhelpful and of little value’ by the IFS. What does IFS stand for?
3. Who endorsed Labour by saying: 'My values are about community, compassion, decency; that's how I was brought up.'?
Bonus: A Labour government would threaten jobs, deter investment and put Britain's recovery at risk, according to a letter signed by more than 100  business figures. To which newspaper was the letter sent?
Bonus: Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett became the first person in Britain to stand for Parliament who has openly admitted to what?
4. What linked Simon Cowell, Jeremy Clarkson, Ant and Dec and Longleat Safari Park?
5. A fishmonger was sentenced to hang after killing two Newcastle University students in a bar brawl last summer. Where did this happen?
6. Who began a new job, working for Bond Air Services?
7. Parent company Kingfisher announced a 15.2 per cent fall in pre-tax profit to £644m and said it is to close 60 of its stores over the next two years. Which store?
8. According to bookmakers William Hill which girl’s name is favourite for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's next baby after odds fell from 14-1 to 4-1?
9. Why were Peter and Jean Tarsey in the headlines?
10. Lewis Hamilton was second in the Malaysian Grand Prix … but which driver and which team won the race? Half point each.
11. Goodluck Jonathan was beaten by Muhammadu Buhari in which country’s election?
12. Why were David and Kathleen Long from Scunthorpe in the headlines?
13. Who is believed to be suffering from Morgellons disease?
14. What happened at Garissa University?
15. To the nearest million pounds how much did Richard and Angela Maxwell, from Coningsby in Lincolnshire, win on the EuroMillions 
16. Two Premier League players scored in England’s 1-1 draw with Italy. Which clubs do they play for? Half point each.
17. Palestine became the 123rd member of which organisation?
18. John Lennon’s first wife Cynthia died of cancer at her home on which island?
Bonus: Where did Sir Paul McCartney say that he finds the inspiration to finish writing some of his songs?
19. Why was unemployed 56-year-old Mike Holpin called feckless?
20. Former Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding is set to join the cast of which TV programme this summer?

Answers here


Friday, 27 March 2015

Young journalists from UK and US join the Mail

Some of last year's trainees - including those from America
The search for young journalists to join the Mail's training schemes has just about finished. After months of CV-sifting by my colleague Mike Watson and three weeks of interviews, we have finally selected trainees for MailOnline, the sport desk, Femail, the Mail newsroom and subs desk. They will begin the training scheme in September. 


Next week interviews are taking place with Sue Ryan in New York for trainee online journalists for DailyMail.com. The successful applicants will be trained for three weeks in the US and then head over to Britain to work at the Mail and regional newspapers before returning to America. This follows-on from last year's scheme where five young Americans spent five months training and working on UK newspapers. 


The Mail, along with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, is also offering places on the scheme to two people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Mail has long-supported the family of Stephen, who was murdered at 18 in 1993.  Applications for these scholarships must be in by this Monday. Here's how to apply.

All in all, that is a lot of young people who will be joining the Mail this year. I look forward to working with them.