Friday, 2 October 2015

Spencer wins the newsquiz Champagne

The online trainees with senior journalists David Krantz and Katie Davies

The MailOnline trainees finished their formal training in Kensington this week and now head off to start their regional placements. They had a good final week with sessions by picture editor Paul Ashton, head of video Lisa Snell, science and technology editor Rachel Reilly, health editor Anna Hodgekiss, Marianna Partasides from the newsdesk and last night enjoyed a few farewell drinks in the Greyhound. During their three weeks of training, they had plenty of stories published on the website ... the first of many bylines.  
Goodbye and good luck to them for the next stage and special thanks to senior journalists Katie Davies and David Krantz for their excellent assistance. Next week I am joining the Daily Mail subs and designers at the Press Association's HQ in Howden.

The subs putting their pages on display in Howden
The subs spent their week with Pat Hagan, Fiona Webster and Mike Brough and the sports subs did live European football shifts for PA on Tuesday, Wednesday and last night.  

Spencer Brown - runaway quiz winner - with his Champagne prize
As always we finished with the newsquiz. Well done to Spencer Brown who was top scorer again with 16 - and collected the Champagne. The Mail subs top scorer was Ben Jackson with 14 and the top Daily Telegraph trainee was Sam Dean with 15. Online trainee Olivia Waring pulled a fast one and also set a quiz for the trainers. I am delighted to say I was joint top (although not so happy with the actual score!) and won the chocolates. My excuse is I was red-penning their copy all week. Here is this week's newquiz. See if you can beat Spencer's 16 ... and let me know how you get on.

1. Jeremy Corbyn used the words of an ‘obscure blogger’ as part of his first conference speech. Name the blogger?
Bonus: Sir Paul Kenny said of Corbyn’s position on Trident that 'maybe somebody else should be given the (nuclear) button.’ Kenny is general secretary of which union?
Bonus: What did Lord Sugar advise everyone to do if Corbyn became Prime Minister?
2. Vladimir Putin signed a decree that will see how many conscripts called up into the Russian military?
Bonus: Who tweeted: 'Just found out from an article that David Cameron has put me on a UN Sanctions list as i lol @England for giving me a travel ban :)’?
3. Which town had its steel plant mothballed?
4. VW made a statement saying how many vehicles in the UK were affected by the emissions scandal?
5. Why was Marie Black in the headlines?
6. What was the name of the cafe in Brick Lane, London, that was firebombed by anarchist group Class War?
7. What has journalist Mazher Mahmood  been charged with?
Bonus: BBC Economics Editor, Robert Peston, is understood to have been offered which role at ITN's News at Ten?
8. What did the students union at the University of East Anglia ban during freshers' week saying it was racist?
9. What happened on the A6201 between Upton and Hemsworth?
10. Moorfields hospital in London performed a pioneering operation that could lead to a cure for what?
11. In which town was an RAF sergeant asked to move out of an A&E waiting area because his uniform might offend other patients?
12. Which TV cartoon is expected to double worldwide retail sales following a £140m buyout?
13. It’s been a bad week for English sports teams … England play Australia in their crucial World Cup Group A game at Twickenham tomorrow. Who will their final group game be against next Saturday?
Bonus: British football teams fell short in Europe this week with only the two Manchester teams winning. Name their opponents (half point for each)
14. A scheme run by St Ninians school in Stirling, Scotland, may be adopted by all UK schools. What is the scheme?
15. What was the name of the fountain in Rome where six British architects took a naked dip?
16. Who signed off a Tweet with: 'I hope I have been a light to my nearest and dearest.’?
17. Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, topped a Government list for what?
18. What was the name of the Oregon college where a 26-year-old gunman shot 16 students?
19. Who went viral after asking: ‘Do you know who I am?’
20. Why was Sebastiano Magnanini in the headlines? 

Answers here

Friday, 25 September 2015

Trainee Mail subs dominate newsquiz with 16

I have been with the MailOnline trainees in Kensington this week while the Daily Mail subs have been in Howden with my colleague Mike Watson.
The onliners had sessions with travel editor Ted Thornhill, SEO specialist Kevin Singer, acting Femail editor Carol Driver and deputy managing editor Scott Langham

Trainees Amitai Winehouse, Spencer Brown, Rory Tingle and Ellen Scott all had stories published on the website. Well done to them.
The subs had sessions with former trainees, now Mail production execs, Lara King and Ailsa Leslie and with the Press Association’s picture editor Martin Keene. On Wednesday they went to the Hull Daily Mail offices to see the subbing operation in action.
As usual we finished with the newsquiz. Last week’s top trainee score was 14 by Ben Jackson. The top score submitted online was 15 by Janet Boyle.
This week the Mail subs dominated. Ben Jackson, Aaron Payne and Henry Bird each got 16. MailOnline sports trainee Spencer Brown scored 15. The Daily Telegraph trainees, also in Howden, did the quiz too. Their top scorers were Sam Dean and Tom Ough with 13.5. See if you can do any better ... and let me know how you get on. 

PigGate revelations in the Mail. Question 1
1. What was the name of Lord Ashcroft’s book about David Cameron that made the headlines this week?
Bonus: The book was co-written by a journalist. What is her name?
Bonus: Cameron is said to have put a private part of his anatomy into a pig’s head as part of an initiation into which society?
Bonus: A songbook created by which club at the Liberal Democrat conference included lyrics about PigGate and Charles Kennedy’s drinking?
2. Another book, called Leading, has been hitting the headlines with revelations of a different kind. Who is the author?
3. More than 700 people died in a stampede on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Pilgrims were on their way to a ritual to throw stones at seven pillars called Jamarat. What do these pillars represent?
Bonus: Which country’s Supreme National Security Council accused the Saudis of ‘incompetence' and urged them to 'take responsibility' for the deaths?
4. Fans have petitioned ITV to replace Paloma Faith's 'truly awful’ theme song for the Rugby World Cup? What is it called?
Bonus: Japan v South Africa provided the shock result of the tournament but what was the score?
5. Art critic Brian Sewell died this week. How old was he?
6. Figures compiled by The Grocer magazine revealed that Daniel Craig is the booziest of all the James Bonds. How many units has his character averaged per Bond film?
7. Matthias Mueller has been tipped to replace who?
8. Which 1970s band are kicking off their comeback tour in Glasgow?
9. China is part funding a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Which county is the station in?
10. How much was Harrods' security guard John Perrett awarded for unfair dismissal after claiming he was the 'victim of a witch hunt over a cup of coffee?'
11. Who did actress Jeanne Marine marry?
12. Which show collected 12 Emmys to surpass The West Wing and take home the most TV Academy awards in a single year?
13. Syriza won the Greek election but which party came second?
14. Who described herself as a 'hovering Buddhist’ who believed death was peaceful and said she was not frightened of it?
15. Prince Harry and Prince William joined a BBC team to help turn a derelict Manchester street into housing for veterans. Prince Harry laid paving stones. What did William do?
16. Channel 4 presenter Matt Frei apologised for saying Barak Obama was smiling like a what?
17. What is the newly-opened tourist attraction at Shiniuzhai Geopark in Hunan, China?
18. Michelle Mone tweeted that she was doing what in her Government Jaguar?
19. Why were father and son Trevor and Scott Taylor in the headlines?
20. Why did North Swindon Police make an apology on Facebook?

Answers here

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Newspaper bills - still worth the effort?

Once the streets of most towns were littered with them. They were different every day and for big occasions they hung from lampposts. They were powerful weapons in the endless quest to sell more newspapers. I am talking, of course, about newspaper bills. Nothing sums up the power of words better than a well-crafted bill. Five short words scribbled on a sheet of paper that make people change their minds - and walk into a shop and buy a newspaper. And unlike most marketing campaigns they could change each day, giving a sense of urgency. What other industry had the opportunity to get several different messages on the streets every single day?
But in these hi-tech days, where newspapers use social media to 'drive traffic' and where all journalists understand SEO, is the humble bill still relevant?
Here's my piece on bill-writing - including 21 tips - published in this week's InPublishing magazine.

Friday, 18 September 2015

The newsquiz: Can you beat Ben’s 14

The latest intake of Mail trainees
I have spent the week at the Daily Mail offices again - this time with a new group of trainees. They are a mix of journalists from MailOnline, sub-editors and designers for the paper and copy editors for the magazines. The onliners have had a good week with sessions from managing editor Rhiannon MacDonald, technical expert Nick Enoch and former trainee Lydia Willgress. They spent last night at the MailOnline post-summer party in Hyde Park. The print journalists have been working on the Mail’s Sgt Blackman campaign. All of them spent Tuesday with the Mail’s lawyers. The subs and designers now head up to the Press Association’s training centre in Howden for the next three weeks.   
As usual we finished with the newsquiz. Last week’s score of 17.5 by Jessica McKay wasn’t beaten by any of you who do the quiz online. This week’s top score was by Mail sub-editor Ben Jackson with 14. He only narrowly beat MailOnline sports journalist Spencer Brown with 13. Three of The Daily Telegraph's trainees - Cristina Criddle, Sam Dean and Harry Yorke - who are in Howden also got 13. They then had the cheek to complain that the questions were Mail-centric! Here is this week's quiz. See if you can beat Ben’s 14. Let me know how you get on.

1. Who is Shadow Foreign Secretary in the Corbyn team?
Bonus: Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell apologised for an ‘appalling joke’ which ‘ended my career in stand-up’. What was the ‘joke’?
Bonus: Corbyn addressed the TUC conference. Where was it held?
Bonus: Corbyn’s private life has been under scrutiny this week. One thing he does confess to, though, is his hobby of taking photographs of what?
2. Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge decided to stop providing what for its patients?
3. The Duchess of Cambridge resumed Royal duties on Thursday. Where was her first official public appearance?
4. Six of the eight tourists killed by Egyptian forces hunting jihadists were from which country?
Bonus: Who gave a speech in Berlin urging the West to take more refugees and said: 'Denying refugees their basic rights risks creating a defeated and disillusioned generation, who, at their most desperate, could be susceptible to extremists' ideology.'
5. How many international teams are there in the Rugby World Cup?
Bonus: Former England rugby player Matt Dawson has created a spoof of the All Black’s Haka, to what tune?
6. Why was Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke in the news this week?
7. In which new stage show is Nicole Kidman starring?
8. Tim Wonnacott has been suspended from which TV programme after a ‘bust up’ with a producer?
9. Who is to replace Donald Trump as the new presenter of Celebrity Apprentice in America?
10. Five passengers were injured when a train hit the buffers on arrival at which station?
11. According to a Which? report cosmetics company Lush is the best in the UK for customer service. Which company did it knock off the top spot and bump into second place?
12. What are to be removed from eight areas of outstanding natural beauty?
13. Football pundit Michael Owen suffered the 'saddest day of his life’ this week when his horse was put down at the Irish St Leger? Name the horse.
14. Name the new Prime Minister of Australia.
15. Why were Gavin Maguire and Allison Jennings from Essex in the headlines?
16. Why were Michael Heron and Jenna Hulme from Oldham in the headlines?
17. Why was Oscar’s Wine Bar in Lancaster fined £100,000?
18. An inquest heard that retired teacher Valerie Weston drowned when she was swept off her feet in a storm. In which river did she die?
19. One million people had to leave their homes and at least ten people died when a powerful earthquake hit which country's central region?
20. Who did Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov pretend to be?

Answers here

Friday, 11 September 2015

Well done to quiz winners Jess and Jess

The trainees and trainers at Northcliffe House today
I said goodbye to the trainees at the Daily Mail offices in Kensington today. The paper's trainees, who are destined for the newsrooms in London, Glasgow and Dublin, and the online trainees who will end up in New York, are all off on placements around UK newspaper offices from Monday. Good luck to them all. They had a good final week with many stories published. Charlotte Wace had a page lead in the Mail, Sean Dunne a page lead in the Irish Mail on Sunday and Jenny Kane, a picture story in the Scottish Daily Mail. Kalhan Rosenblatt also had a good show for her endangered panther story online and Will Kelleher made it on to the sports section. The first of many bylines. 
The print journalists had invaluable sessions with news-editor Ben Taylor, City editor Alex Brummer, head of investigations Kat Faulkner and sketch writer Quentin Letts. Kevin Singer spoke about SEO to the online journalists and there were talks by senior journalists Katie Davies, David Krantz and Sarah Michael. Former MoS editor Peter Wright also went through IPSO and the editor’s code in detail. Last night we were joined by former trainees for drinks in the Greyhound.
We finished, as always, with the newsquiz. Last week’s top submitted score was by Janet Boyle with 17 … well beating the trainees’ top score of 12. This week Mail trainee Jessica McKay was way ahead of the field with 17.5. She also won the champagne as overall winner over the two weeks. Jessica Chia won the champagne for top overall score among the online trainees.

Quiz winners Jessica McKay and Jessica Chia
The Daily Telegraph trainees, who started their course at PA’s Howden headquarters this week, also did the quiz and their top scorer was Sam Dean with 15. Here are this week’s questions. As usual there are 25 points to be won. See if you can beat Jessica’s 17.5.

1. What was the name of the British Airways captain who aborted take-off at Las Vegas airport?
Bonus: Before becoming a pilot he had another job. What was it?
2. The row between lawyer Alexander Carter-Silk and barrister Charlotte Proudman stemmed from his comment: 'You definitely win the prize for the best _______ picture I have ever seen.' What is the missing word?
Bonus: How old are they both? Half a mark for each
3. The Queen surpassed Queen Victoria's record to become the UK's longest reigning monarch. How long, exactly, was Victoria's reign?
Bonus: The Queen and Prince Philip celebrated the occasion by taking a steam train from where to where? Half point for each location.
4. Which newspaper will print a Sunday edition for the first time to announce the new Labour leader?
5. Which country announced it was giving refugees free passage across its borders without registering them?
Bonus: Who ran out of beds after 37,000 refugees arrived in Germany?
6. What name has been given to the human ancestor found in an ancient burial spot in a South African cave?
7. It was found that Alzheimer's disease may be transmissible through blood transfusions and medical accidents. Which university carried out the research? 
Bonus: According to a study, by the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, what percentage of senior hospital doctors may retire early because of work-related stress? 
8. Why was Antony Britton in the headlines? 
9. What are the RAF's drones called? 
10. Sam Smith has recorded the theme song for Spectre. What is it called? Bonus: Smith said: 'It's the quickest I've ever written a song - it took xx minutes. How many is the xx?
11. How much did crime writer PD James leave in her will? 
12. What drug did Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah admit to taking while visiting Somalia in 2003?
13. What accessory, that Steve Jobs said Apple would never sell, comes with the newly announced iPad Pro?
14. The Marquess and Viscount of Bath were in the news this week over a ‘bloodline' row. What is the family's surname?
15. Wayne Rooney became the top goal scorer when England beat Switzerland 2-0 at Wembley. Who scored Engand’s other goal?
16. Why was Petra Laszlo in the headlines?
17. Who has been named as acting First Minister in Northern Ireland after the mass resignations over a murder, linked to members of the IRA?
18. Why have Tobias Ellwood, Edward Timpson and Caroline Dinenage been in the headlines?
19. England host the opening match of the Rugby World Cup on Friday against Fiji … but who is their second game against?
20. How did Reed Sutley celebrate his ninth birthday?

Answers here

Friday, 4 September 2015

This week's newsquiz: Jessica's 12 to beat

I have been with the Daily Mail and MailOnline trainees in London this week. They enjoyed a stimulating few days. The print journalists spent time with chief reporter David Williams, investigative reporter Christian Gysin, head of news Neil Darbyshire, managing editor Alex Bannister, reporters Tom Payne and Simon Murphy and toured the newsroom. The American online trainees were mentored by senior journalists from Daily Mail Australia and my colleague Mike Watson. They enjoyed cracking sessions with MailOnline editor Danny Groom, reporter Lydia Willgress and head of video Rebecca Hutson. They also spent a day with the Mail lawyers.
Throughout all of that they worked on stories for publication. Well done to Jessica McKay who got a byline in her first week for a story about Tesco failing to deliver uniforms in time for the start of school. Read it here

American trainee Clemence Michallon also got a story published ... the top story (the banner) on a woman who started selling videos on eBay and now turns over $25million a year. It was an idea she came up with and followed through to the end. It is the first time a trainee has had the banner while on the course ... so very well done to her. Read it here.
We finished, as always, with the newsquiz. Last week's quiz was clearly far too easy. Mike Lowe scored 24 out of 25 - an all time record. Other personal bests were recorded by Damon Wake, 20; Sally Tipper, 19 and Ian McCulloch with 10.  
Sophie Jamieson scored 17.5, Lydia Willgress 16, Alex Murphy, 14, Alex Genova and Thom Sands 13. The best scoring team was the Batstone Collective with 15.   This week it is much harder. Well done to Jessica McKay, the top scoring newspaper trainee with 12. The top online trainees were Alex Genova and Valerie Edwards, both with 8. Anyway, give it a go and let me know how you get on. 

Shocking front pages showing the body of Aylan Kurdi on a Turkish beach (Q1)
1. Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi was found washed up on the shore of a Turkish beach. His brother's body was also found - what was his name? 
Bonus: The father of the two boys returned to his home city to bury them and his wife. Which city?
Bonus: Who pledged to put up four refugee families saying the failure of the new politics had led to this 'disgrace, this absolute sickening disgrace’?
Bonus: Jean Asselborn called for a European Refugee Agency to investigate whether every EU country applied the same standards for granting asylum. He is the foreign minister of which country?
2. Chancellor George Osborne announced more than £500m of funding for the Royal Navy’s submarine base. Where is it?

3. The Labour leadership election also involves the ballot for the deputy leader. There are five candidates. Name two of them. Half point for each.
4. Why was Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis jailed?
5. Why are police investigating the Travelodge hotel at Oxford Wheatley?
6. Why have Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury been in the headlines?
7. Stephen Gough, 56, has recently been released after spending the last 30 months in prison. What name is he better known by?
8. ITV’s This Morning programme has a new resident dog, training to be a Guide Dog, what name was chosen by the viewers (the choice was Cassie, Cleo, Clover, Coco or Cookie)?
Bonus: Bill Turnbull is quitting BBC Breakfast to spend more time with what?
9. Who tweeted 'glad this was the only bear I met in the park’?
10. Tadeusz Slowikowski spent 40 years searching for what?
11. Who used a Sega Mega Drive to make an announcement on his YouTube Channel?
12. How did former Army colonel Samuel Rae lose his money?
13. Manchester United's new signing, Anthony Martial, is the most expensive teenager in world football. Which club did they buy him from?
Bonus: Wayne Rooney will become England's highest ever goalscorer if he scores twice against San Marino tomorrow. How many goals in his 105 appearances has he scored?
14. Who filed a lawsuit against a Japanese restaurant when she burnt her arm after falling on a hibachi grill?
15. Natalie Massenet, the founder of a fashion website, has quit after a clash with the new chief executive. Name the site.
16. Why was 83-year-old grandfather Clive Southall of Brierley Hill in the headlines?
17. Which Strictly Come Dancing contestant was once ITN's youngest newscaster?
18. Lord Montagu died this week. Which stately home did he own?
19. Nissan have invested £100m to build the Juke in which UK city?
20. Taylor Swift has been criticised for a 'white colonial fantasy’ for her latest music video set in Africa? What is the video called?

Answers here 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The images that shame our civilisation

My recent posts about death on the front pages take a harrowing twist on today's newspapers. Editors may have been divided over the rights and wrongs of putting the shooting of journalist Alison Parker on the front page, but they were just about united in their use of the photograph of a small boy's body washed up on the beach in Turkey. Many people will of course find it harrowing - particularly the photo used by The Independent and The National. One of my friends, a young father, was understandably upset. 'I just don't really agree with using this image to sell papers,'he said last night. It isn't there to sell papers though. Why would anyone buy a paper because of it?


It is there to bring home the stark reality of what is happening in the Mediterranean - and the equally stark reality that Europe is turning a blind eye. There have been column inches about 'migrants', shadowy figures hiding in lorries and walking through the Chunnel in the dead of night. David Cameron referred to them as swarms, likening them to insects. But these pictures tell a different story. One of a real humanitarian crisis. Perhaps they will bring about a change in attitude, galvanise Europe out of its frightened complacency. If they do, this death on the front page, however shocking, is justified. 

The German newspaper Bild, using the image on its back page, explains why the pictures had to be used. This is a translation of what it said:

A Syrian child lying dead on the beach in Bodrum (Turkey), drowned trying to escape the war in his native country, died on the way to Europe. 
Images like this have become shamefully commonplace.
We cannot bear them any more but we want, we must, show them because they document the historic failure of our civilisation in this fugitive crisis. 
Europe, this immensely rich continent, will be guilty if we continue to allow children to drown on our coasts. 
We have too many ships, too many helicopters, too many reconnaissance planes    to continue watching this disaster. This photo is a message to the whole world, to finally unite and ensure not a single child dies again on the run. After all, who are we, what are our values really worth, if we continue to allow this to happen?  

Thanks as always to  and @suttonnick. Thanks to also to @tanit

Friday, 28 August 2015

Test yourself with this week's newsquiz

Last week's newsquiz was clearly a toughie with not many double-figure scores submitted. In fact veteran quizzer Ian McCulloch sent a message saying 'my score was so dismal that I will not disclose it!' I suspect there are a few more who felt the same. So well done Janet Boyle who was top scorer with a very impressive 16.
This week's is a bit easier I reckon. Let me know how you get on.

The Daily Mail reports on the Shoreham air crash (Question 1)
1. What type of aeroplane crashed on to the A27 at Shoreham during an air show? Bonus: What was the name of the pilot? Bonus: Three of those killed played for which football team?
2. A heavily-armed man opened fire in a terrorist attack on a high-speed train travelling to Paris from which city? 
Bonus: French President Fran├žois Hollande awarded his country's highest honour to three Americans and a Briton who tackled the gunman. Which medal did they receive?
Bonus: At what train station was the train stopped and the gunman arrested?
Bonus: Following the attacks, Belgium called for a review of Europe's passport-free travel zone. What is the name of the agreement that allows people to travel without border checks?
3. What was the name of the 24-year-old journalist shot dead on live TV in Virginia?
4. Who said: 'Nick should be stripped of his anonymity and prosecuted for wasting police time and money’?
5. What will be illegal in a car in the UK after October 1?
6. On September 9 the Queen will become the longest serving monarch in British history, passing the record of 63 years, seven months and two days, set by who? 
7. Name Britain’s three Gold medalists in the World Championships in China? (Half a point for two, nothing if you get only one) 
8. Why was 64-year-old Bob Semple in the headlines?
9. Who said: 'I have my conscience and I know I'm an honest man. I am clean. I am not a worried man'?
10. How did Sheffield-born Justin Wilson die?
11. Which new word, which means sitting with legs wide apart on public transport, was added to the online Oxford dictionary?
12. Where will you find Natasha Hamilton, Daniel Baldwin, Gail Porter and Sherie Hewson?
13. It is the tenth anniversary of the hurricane which devastated New Orleans. What was the hurricane called?
14. What is the name of China’s currency that plummeted to a four-year low against the dollar?
15. Darren Walsh won the prize for the funniest gag at this year's Edinburgh Fringe. The joke starts: 'I just deleted all the German names off my phone.' What is the punch line?
16. Academics in Oxford said that there are now more than 8 million what in the UK?
17. Who went surfing on matching blue bodyboards at a beach in Polzeath in Cornwall?
18. Donald Trump asked a woman at a rally in South Carolina to come on stage and do what?
19. Which company claimed that one billion people, one in seven on earth, used its service on Monday of this week?
20. Who advertised for a £60,000-a-year executive personal assistant to grow his global brand, produce iPhone apps, stock his fridge and make sure his house is kept clean?

Answers here