Friday, 27 May 2016

Try your hand at this week's newsquiz

Last week's quiz started off looking like a tricky one with regular high scorers submitting less than average results. For a long time, Tom Witherow (13.5) and Wherryman's Web (12.5) were early front-runners. Even the in-form John Penman scored a disappointing 11. The Batstone Collective then came in with a healthy 14.5. Finally, it all finished in glory for Damon Wake and Liz Gerard who both clocked a hugely impressive 18.5. Well done to them. Here is this week's quiz. As usual there are 20 questions, with five bonuses, so 25 points up for grabs. 


A year of recession looms, says the Treasury (Question 1)
1. David Cameron’s former election adviser claimed the prime minister would advocate leaving the EU if he wasn’t in charge. What is the adviser's name?
Bonus: Cameron said Office for National Statistics' figures showing that net migration was the second highest on record were 'disappointing'. What was the net migration figure he was referring to?
Bonus: Cameron claimed that leaving the EU would mean family household spending would go up by £220 a year. £120 would be on food and £100 would be on what?
2. Actor Burt Kwouk, OBE, who died aged 85, starred in three James Bond movies but was most famous for which film role?
3. Where has the CGT been causing chaos?
4. Who proposed to long-term partner Jennifer Wilson while on holiday in Paris?
Bonus: Who missed their son’s wedding at Peckforton Castle?
5. Barack Obama became the first serving US president to visit which city since World War II? 
6. Which company reported a 3.5 per cent increase in full-year profits to £684.1m but still saw its shares slump by 10 per cent and had £700m wiped off its market value?
Bonus: Which company saw its year-on-year profits rise by 43 per cent and promised to cuts fares by 7 per cent?
7. London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced an all-night Tube service will be launched on August 19 on which two routes? Half point each.
8. Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon came under fire after she described the members of an act as 'four sexy _______ men'. What is the missing word?
9. Whose appointment involved discussions over watch brands Bulova and Hublot and car companies Chevrolet and Jaguar? 
10. Tax investigation officials raided offices of internet giant Google in which city?
11. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump admitted using an alias in business which became the inspiration for the name of his son. What was the alias?
12. Sister Sledge, 5ive, East 17, Alesha Dixon and DJ Sigma all withdrew from what?
13. Restaurant owner Mohammed Zaman, 52, was jailed for six years after a customer died eating a curry containing what?
14. What, according to environmentalists, is turning the Taj Mahal green?
15. NHS doctor Issam Abuanza, who joined Isis in Syria, left a wife and two children in which UK city?
Bonus: According to the Iraqi Prime Minister the recapture of which city could be an opportunity for the country to end its political turmoil? 
16. In an eventful week for Johnny Depp his mother died, his wife announced she was divorcing him and he appeared on TV to say Australia’s deputy Prime Minister looked like he had been inbred with what?
17. Which football team won the cup final for the first time in 114 years?
18. Former BBC Breakfast host Sian Williams revealed that she has undergone which operation?
19. Offenders who break new laws will face up to seven years in prison under which act which came into force at midnight on Wednesday?
20. Texan mother Candace Payne broke Facebook records with 145 million hits and appeared on The Late Late Show and Good Morning America - all because of an impromptu purchase of what?

Answers here


Saturday, 21 May 2016

Ten thoughts about the Regional Press Awards

The winners celebrate 

I have just about recovered from a splendid day at the Regional Press Awards yesterday. It was great to catch up with old faces and watch the cream of regional journalism enjoy a well deserved party at the London Marriott. It is usually one of my favourite events in the calendar - and this year certainly didn’t disappoint. Regional newspapers are going through a challenging time of course - but there is still some first class work and excellent journalists out there. Here are my ten musings about the day.


The Chairman's Award went to the Liverpool Echo for its 27-year Hillsborough campaign. From left: Chairman of the Judges, Paul Horrocks, reporter Eleanor Barlow, Trevor Hicks, editor Ali Machray and host Nick Ferrari
1. The most moving moment of the day was the Chairman’s Award presented to the Liverpool Echo for its 27-year Hillsborough campaign. The award recognised the work of the Echo under four editors since 1989 – Chris Oakley, John Griffith, Mark Dickinson and, since 2005, Ali Machray - in fighting for justice for the 96 victims and their families. The award was presented by Trevor Hicks, president of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, who lost two daughters in the tragedy. He said that he and the other families had experienced the best and worst of journalism during their fight for the truth, but that the Echo had represented the best. The coverage of the two-year inquests by Echo reporter Eleanor Barlow was also highly commended in the digital award category. There was a deserved standing ovation for the Echo.

2. It is little surprise that as Trinity Mirror took over Local World (formerly Northcliffe and Iliffe) to become the biggest regional group by far, it should sweep the board. Trinity won 12 awards with 12 highly commended. Next came Newsquest and DC Thomson with four wins each. Newsquest had six commendations and Thomson one. There was one win for Johnston Press (three highly commended), Cumbria Newspapers (two highly commended), Archant (two highly commended), the Belfast Telegraph and the Kent Messenger. The Camden New Journal and Midlands News Association received a couple of commendations each and the independent Stratford-Upon-Avon Herald was commended once. Well done to all of them.


Daily/Sunday Sports Journalist of the Year Carolyn Hitt
3. The number of women journalists being recognised might have been an issue in the national Press awards but it certainly wasn't here. There were more women than men on the stage yesterday with seven individual awards going to women and six to men. Women also did well in traditional male areas such as sport with the Western Mail’s Carolyn Hitt winning Daily and Sunday Sports Journalist of the Year and the Lancashire Telegraph’s Suzanne Geldard being highly commended. The next area to tackle might be photography where all 12 on the shortlist were men.  

Columnist of the Year Ericka Waller
4. There were no long rambling acceptance speeches (a good thing) but there were a few nice dedications from the podium. Carolyn Hitt, the Western Mail’s rugby correspondent, dedicated her sports award to the Cardiff businessman who asked her, as he didn’t write about cross-stitch, why she wrote about rugby. Photographer Kris Miller from The Courier in Dundee dedicated his award to his wife. ‘I missed my anniversary to be here today - so just wanted to say happy anniversary to my wife and apologies for the mess I’ll be in’. And Ericka Waller of The Argus in Brighton dedicated her award to all the victims and families of the Shoreham air disaster.

Kent Messenger editor Dee Eaton collecting her award for
 Weekly Newspaper of the Year
5. A couple of my former trainees were up for awards and it was really nice to catch up with them. Sian David from the Bristol Post was commended as Designer of the Year and was shortlisted for an excellent cover in the Front Page of the Year category from her time at the Bath Chronicle. It was also great to have my annual catch up with Dee Eaton and I was delighted when the paper she edits, the Kent Messenger, won Weekly Newspaper of the Year (above 20,000). If that didn’t make me feel old enough, she then introduced me to her 26-year-old daughter! 


Longest serving editor: Perry Austin-Clarke collects the
 Daily Newspaper of the Year award for the Press, York

6. Over the years the number of my contemporaries at the ceremony have gradually whittled away. This year there was no Peter Barron, Alan Geere or Simon O’Neill to have a few post-award beers with. The old guard was still hanging on though. I had drinks afterwards in the Barley Mow with Tony Watson, Pete Clifton, Paul Horrocks and Neil Hodgkinson. I sat next to Neil Fowler at the lunch and had a catch up with Neil Benson, Ian Murray and Jeremy Clifford. There was a conversation about who was the longest standing editor in the room … Hodgkinson, Clifford and Murray were all in the frame. But then Perry Austin-Clarke took to the stage to collect the Daily Newspaper of the Year award on behalf of The Press in York. Perry was made editor of the Telegraph and Argus in Bradford while I was still editing some 24 years ago and had been editor of the Yorkshire Gazette and Herald even before that. If there is an award for survival is there anyone more deserving?

David Pugh receives the Journalists' Charity Award 


7. Well done to David Pugh who collected this year's Journalists' Charity Award. David is not a journalist but he certainly is a friend of journalism and journalists. He was managing director of NLA Media Access for eight years until his retirement at Easter. The organisation distributes millions to national and regional newspapers in royalty payments for copyright works, and has supported the Journalists’ Charity for years. Last year, largely thanks to David’s involvement, the charity strengthened its ties with the industry and the result was a much needed cash injection of £309,450. I sat next to David at the lunch and he had no idea he was going to receive the award. As an added bonus my table collected the most money for the charity yesterday and we were all presented with a bottle of wine (I have Neil Fowler’s if he wants it).

Another win for Leicester ... and a hat-trick of awards for Lee Marlow
8. There are always familiar names on the shortlists, which goes to prove that there are many journalists out there delivering a consistently high standard of work. The Croydon Advertiser’s Gareth Davies collected the Weekly Reporter of the Year award for the third year in a row (he also won it in 2011) and the Leicester Mercury’s Lee Marlow was also celebrating a hat-trick of Feature Writing awards. Jeanette Oldman, from the Birmingham Mail, who won two awards (Specialist and Daily/Sunday reporter) also won Specialist last year and Scoop of the Year in 2010. Other familiar names from previous awards on yesterday’s shortlists included Sunday Life’s Ciaran Barnes, the Derby Telegraph’s Robin Johnson, The Herald’s Simon Bain, the Sunday Post’s Janet Boyle, Allison Coggan from the Hull Daily Mail, The Irish News’s Allison Morris, the Coventry Observer’s Les Reid and Bristol’s Sian David. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that Cumbria Newspapers' Jon Coleman only picked up a highly commended yesterday. Jon has broken all records for RPA awards. He collected the Daily/Sunday Sports Journalist award last year and has been on the shortlist for either weekly or Daily/Sunday Sports Journalist every year since 2006. He was weekly winner in 2006, 2007 and 2008. In 2009 he won both the weekly and daily award. In 2010, 2013 and 2014 he won the daily award. As I have said before, none of this can really be a fluke…

Foxes fan Nick Ferrari gets into the winning spirit   
9. Nick Ferrari once again did a first class job as host - ad-libbing, enthusing, cracking jokes and pushing the whole thing along at a fast pace. Once again, he got the tone just right. The LBC breakfast show host has been a lifelong Leicester City fan and started the occasion by ripping off his shirt to display a Foxes' strip. He also alluded to some extraordinary stories about celebrities … told to him by the many winners from Scotland where they aren’t covered by England and Wales’s bizarre privacy rulings. Well done Nick … an excellent job.    

10. Finally, congratulations to all the winners and all of those on the shortlist. It is a fantastic achievement to be nominated, let alone win, and a reminder that regional newspapers are still delivering some excellent journalism. Well done Bob Satchwell, Paul Horrocks and the Society of Editors' team for keeping the whole thing together. Once again, a triumph.

All pictures by Nick Carter, MagStar Ltd

Full details of the awards are here.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Have a crack at this week's newsquiz

There were some high individual scores in last week's newsquiz. Those who submitted scores in double figures included Oliver Duggan with 17, Alex Murphy 15.5, Andy Halls 15, John Penman 15, Wherryman's Web 13 and Jessica McKay 12 (blaming too many football questions). When John Penman added his family, the Penmans scored 17.5 just pipping rivals the Batstone Collective on 16.5.
Here is this week's quiz. As usual 20 questions, with five bonuses, so 25 points up for grabs. Let me know how you get on. 


MP sex trysts (Question 4) 
1. The plane that crashed on its way from Paris to Cairo was owned by which airline?
Bonus: How many people were on the flight?

2. Name any two of the six ‘reform’ prisons mentioned in the Queen’s Speech where governors will be given sweeping new powers.
Bonus: What did the Queen use for the first time when she arrived at the Houses of Parliament as a 'modest adjustment to arrangements' made for her ‘comfort’? 

3. Boris Johnson said that a leaked letter that seemed to reveal the Prime Minister secretly plotted with big business to fight Brexit was the biggest stitch up since the ______ ________. What are the two missing words?
Bonus: Who said that Johnson may have ruined his chances of becoming prime minister by behaving 'irresponsibly and recklessly’ and making 'preposterous, obscene political remarks’?
Bonus: David Cameron said which two leaders ‘might be happy’ if Britain left the EU? Half point each.
4. Name the two SNP MPs who had affairs with journalist Serena Cowdy. Half point each.
5. Why were PJS and YMA in the headlines?
6. Boris Johnson won a £1,000 prize for a rude poem about the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan having sex with what?
7. The Queen shed tears at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire at an unveiling of a memorial to soldiers killed in service. What is the name of the memorial statue?
8. The World Health Organisation warned that the Black Sea coast of Russia and Georgia and the island of Madeira are the two areas in Europe most at risk from what?
9. 
How many children were injured in an attack by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in a children’s play area in Blyth, Northumberland?
10. Why was Amina Ali Nkeki in the headlines?
11. Nicola McGeady of Coral bookmaker said: 'There’s no smoke without fire, and following the big gamble on ______ ______ in the last 24 hours, we’ve had no choice but to pull the plug on the market.’ What are the missing two words?
12. Which golf club has been told it won’t be able to hold the Open due to its men-only policy?
13. Christopher Reid of Security Search Management & Solutions Ltd said: 'The mistake is entirely mine, I have to take full responsibility'. What was he taking responsibility for?
14. Which team won the Europa League beating Liverpool 3-1
Bonus: Which two football teams will compete in the play-offs at Wembley for a place in the Premier League?
15. Hull’s High Court ruled that two branches of Greggs must provide what for customers?
16. Why did William Rose butchers in London go viral on social media?
17. In which country did protesters take to the streets to demand that socialist president Nicolas Maduro resign?
18. Who arrived at UK immigration at Luton airport without a passport but was still allowed through?
19. What, under newly introduced laws, will now have to be the same olive green colour, with the same font, size, case and text appearance?
20. What set a new record, reaching a price of £40m at Christie's auction house in Geneva?

Answers here


Six cracking regional front pages

I am on my way to the Regional Press Awards today to witness the best local journalists receive the plaudits they richly deserve. One of my favourite categories is always Front Page of the Year. Below are the shortlisted six. It is great to see three weekly papers in among them. 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 today 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.








Thursday, 19 May 2016

17 glorious years of attacking the devil

An erudition of editors from The Northern Echo: Allan Prosser, Pete Barron, David Flintham (now Kernek) and me

I had a cracking day in London today to celebrate Pete Barron’s 17 years as editor of The Northern Echo. Four former Echo editors, Pete, me, Allan Prosser and David Flintham (now Kernek) were joined by Pete’s deputy editor Chris Lloyd, Metro editor Ted Young (who was once the Echo's Newton Aycliffe reporter so had no real justification for being there) and former Westminster Press editorial director Nick Herbert. The wine and stories flowed at the Reform Club … and we all agreed there had to be a book written or a TV series made. Maybe a historical comedy! We presented Pete with a nice bottle of red, wine glasses and a decanter engraved with the line '17 glorious years of attacking the devil’ … a reference to the Echo’s second editor WT Stead's letter on his appointment. Thanks to everyone for a special day, particularly Ted (he was welcome really) for the organisational skills and Allan for the speech. Most importantly, good luck to Pete. Seventeen years of riding an increasingly volatile tiger is quite an amazing achievement. 


Nick Herbert, Pete Barron, Allan Prosser, Ted Young, Chris Lloyd, David Kernek and me

Friday, 13 May 2016

Have a crack at this week's newsquiz

The top scorer in last week’s newsquiz was Sophie Jamieson with 13.5, although she admits to giving herself three 'generous' half marks. Janet Boyle scored 13, Jessica McKay 12, Tom Witherow 11 and Chris Lennon 10. Nobody else recorded double figures, so it must have been a tough one. The best team performance was by the Penmans, aided by a news hungry 16-year-old, who scored an impressive 17. The Batstone Collective who average 15 each week, scored 12 ... another indication that it was a difficult week. Here's this week's quiz. As usual there are 25 points up for grabs. Let me know how you get on. 

Boris and Dave continue to make Brexit headlines (Question 1)
1. Boris Johnson said David Cameron was 'totally _______' for suggesting Brexit could lead to World War Three. What is the missing word?
Bonus: Boris Johnson began his tour on the Vote Leave battle bus and was accused of hypocrisy as the vehicle was made in which two countries? Half a point each.
2. Director Peter Kosminsky received a standing ovation for a Bafta speech in which he said: 'It’s time for us to stand up and say no to this dangerous nonsense.’ What dangerous nonsense was he referring to?
Bonus: Mark Rylance won leading actor at the Baftas for which role?
Bonus: Bafta nominee Sheridan Smith is to take up to a month off from her West End show due to 'stress and exhaustion' after cancelling three performances. What is the show?

3. Aston Villa were relegated from the Premier League a month ago but which two teams joined them this week? Half a point each.
Bonus: Which manager was sacked after his side capitulated to Sunderland?
Bonus: West Ham United promised to give life-bans to any supporters involved in what?

4. Who said this week that: 'There is no such thing as glorious defeat’?
5. Why was Dr Alan Keightley in the news?
6. Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts apologised for poking fun at someone he called 'Captain Hop-Along’. Who was he referring to?
7. Why were Australians Anthony Maslin and Marite Norris celebrating?
8. What is the name of the station near Munich where four people were stabbed?
9. Donald Trump signalled a partial climb down from his proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States by suggesting it could be eased to allow who to visit?
10. Rodrigo Duterte swept to power, on a promise to kill 100,000 criminals, in which country?
11. What was the name of the cruise ship on which hundreds of Britons were struck down with diarrhoea and vomiting after a norovirus outbreak?
12. Why was London receptionist Nicola Thorp, 27, in the headlines?
13. Name the song and the act representing the UK in this week’s Eurovision. Half a point each.
14. What is 2.6 million words long, has taken seven years to complete and will be published on July 6?
15. Which two countries did David Cameron call ‘fantastically corrupt’? Half a point each.
16. A Muslim community group is demanding sackings after a fake suicide bomber shouted Allahu Akbar during a counter-terrorism training exercise. Where did the exercise take place? 
17. Police officers from the Operation Ben Needham were involved in a drinking row on which Greek island?
18. Prince Harry hailed an 'extraordinary' Invictus Games and paid tribute to the 485 veterans who took part. Where were the games held?
19. Which character, who first appeared in the soap opera EastEnders 25 years ago, will be buried next week?
20. Nasa released images of an event which only happens 13 times every century. What was it?

Answers here


Friday, 6 May 2016

Test your news knowledge with this week's quiz

The Scots were dominant last week - at least in the newsquiz. The top individual score was Janet Boyle from the Sunday Post with 15 points, narrowly beating the Scottish Daily Mail's Jessica McKay on 14.5. My old newsdesk colleague John Penman and his family (all Scots) were the best team performers with an impressive 19. The Batstone Collective once more delivered their favourite score of 15. Here's this week's quiz .. as usual 25 questions. Let me know how you get on.


Leicester City are history makers (Question 1)
1. What odds were bookmakers offering on Leicester City winning the Premier League at the start of the season?
Bonus: Which international star is to sing at the King Power Stadium before Leicester’s last home game of the season?
Bonus: Leicester celebrated another major sporting success on the same night that the football club were confirmed champions. What was it?
Bonus: Who said: 'I'm hoping to do a Leicester City and zoom in from behind to win’?
2. Which party won its first ever seats in the Welsh Assembly?
Bonus: Who told supporters after this week’s election results: 'We have made history’?
3. Republican Ted Cruz accidentally elbowed his wife in the face after his speech announcing he was dropping out of the presidential race. What is his wife called?
4. Former Chief Constable Mike Craik was allegedly punched by one of his senior officers over an alleged affair. Which police force did they both work for?
5. Which fashion house became the first to stage a major event in Cuba?
6. Police dug up the garden of jailed sex offenders Pauline and David Williams in which Devon village?
7. Who claimed to have ‘a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation’?
8. Why was Helen Wood in the headlines?
9. Islamic militants from which country released video footage of the beheading of Canadian tourist John Ridsdel?
10. Which Alton Towers ride broke down, leaving riders stuck for more than 30 minutes?
11. What is the name of the campaign group calling for a boycott of national primary school tests?
12. The Chief Rabbi said Labour's problem with anti-Semitism will get worse if the party's inquiry is used as ‘_______ ______' to placate voters. What are the two missing words?
Bonus: David Cameron demanded Jeremy Corbyn withdrew a remark in which he referred to which two groups as friends?
13. Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams tweeted the N-word while watching which film?
14. The Duchess of Cambridge turned model as she became the covergirl for which magazine's 100th anniversary?
15. Who said he was working on a bid for BHS that would prevent job losses among its 11,000 staff and keep all branches open?
16. Sacked Valencia footballer manager Gary Neville was back to winning ways with another team. Who?
17. Which newspaper editor this week quoted Samuel Beckett: 'Ever tried. Ever Failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better’?
18. Which company has revealed a 14 per cent drop in annual profits after it was forced to slash prices to compete with the rise of the discounters?
19. He was born in Surbiton in 1957, studied at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London and was read by an estimated 12 million people a day. Who is he?
20. Actor Tom Conti appeared on TV to criticise his neighbours for their excessive use of that?


Answers here


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Foxes just about make it on to the front page

Well, that was by far the best football story we have seen in England since 1966. Even those not that interested in the beautiful game can see that a team with odds of 5,000/1 winning the Premier League is not just about sport. It is a story that has everything ... hope, dreams, achievement, emotion, loyalty, passion ... so it had to be on the front page. Didn't it? I was really looking forward to the pages appearing last night. I have to admit, though, to being a little underwhelmed. I appreciate it was a tough one - it went to the wire and the main players weren't on public display. But I was expecting more souvenir fronts, set-pieces, pre-arranged pictures, graphics and clever headlines. Here is how the papers did it.



The Sun rightly goes front and back - just about wiping out its front page with a picture from the party at Jamie Vardy's house. The back goes with Furrytale (for the Foxes). 


Well done Metro - the quickest off the blocks with a front page five minutes after the final whistle. It's all in the planning. 




I was hoping for something special from the Leicester Mercury ... I though it might be invited around to Vardy's party. In the end it went for a wraparound using a team picture. 




Some of the European papers did a good job ... clearly Leicester has captured the imagination over there. L'Equipe certainly recognises the passion of the moment. 

A nice idea by Italy's La Gazetta dello Sport - even if Claudio doesn't look too happy.




The Mirror first edition has a blurb across the top ... with another file picture. I was a bit surprised it wasn't the splash. I know it happened late but the tribute edition, which is much better, could have been put together a month ago. The back page is spot on though.

The i tells it as it is - and another file picture

Is this the lowest position on the front The Daily Telegraph's titlepiece has ever been? 




How to put football on the front page - Guardian style!


Football rarely makes it on to the front of the Mail - so a big blurb above the masthead means it is a big story.



The Express sticks to its formula front page with Leicester in the square picture slot.


The Times also goes for a square mid-page picture.
Sport  - not much happening then? Well, not in NewDay anyway. To be fair, the paper does have very early deadlines.


Elsewhere there was plenty of imagination at play ... for example here's Walkers' new special crisp packet. Clever.



... and here's Captain Morgan rum getting in on the act. Great forward planning.


Well done to Leicester City ... and well done to sportdesks everywhere for a quick turnaround. 



Thanks as always to  and @suttonnick.