Friday, 31 October 2014

Final news quiz: Olivia wins the Champagne

The trainees at the Telegraph: James Rothwell, Rozina Sabur, Sophie Jamieson, Olivia Rudgard, Ellie Steafel and Izzy Fraser
The Daily Telegraph trainees said goobye to Howden this week after more than seven weeks training with the Press Association. They spent the first part of their last week preparing a presentation which they delivered to Telegraph executives in London yesterday. It was an opportunity to show off their digital and innovative skills … and was very impressive. 

The trainees present their project to Telegraph executives
On Monday they begin their placements. Some are off to regional newspapers, others to PA. They are destined for great things and I wish them well. They finished with farewell drinks in the Brass Monkey in Victoria last night - but only after the final newsquiz. Going into the final week, the scores were very tight, with Sophie Jamieson and James Rothwell on equal points and Olivia Rudgard only half a point behind. In a the tightest of finishes Olivia scored 14 and Sophie 13, meaning Olivia collected the Champagne by half a point. Well done Olivia … but hard luck Sophie. Never have we had such a tight finish. 
To be fair the trainees were preoccupied with their projects so probably weren’t monitoring the news as closely as usual. Still, 14 out of 25 isn’t a bad score. See if you can do any better.

The trainees at the PA offices after Olivia, second from left, pipped Sophie, second from right to the Champagne

1. British troops withdrew from Afghanistan after 13 years this week as the last British base was handed over to local control. Name the base.
Bonus: How many British soldiers lost their lives in those 13 years?
Bonus: By November 11, 888,246 ceramic poppies will have been laid at the Tower of London. Each poppy has been sold online to raise money for the armed forces charities. How much did it cost to buy a ceramic poppy?
2. A jogger ran into David Cameron in which city?
3. Former Labour grandee Lord Falconer lost five stone by cutting out coffee and tea and eating only apples during the day … but he says he also became addicted to what?
4. It is being speculated that which Downton Abbey character may be killed off after being described as ‘terribly listless’ in Sunday’s episode?
5. Why was Stuart Calder in the headlines?
6. Who said: “I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
7. Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has been dropped from this weekend’s game after breaking protocol on Saturday. Give one of the two rules that he broke.
Bonus: Clattenburg went to an Ed Sheeran concert after Saturday’s game … in which city?
8. Name the unmanned US rocket which exploded on take off.
9. Robbie Williams sang songs and posted videos to his YouTube page while his wife Ayda gave birth to a boy. What is the baby called?
Bonus: According to a BBC local radio poll listening to music makes people with problems feel perkier. Which song was the most popular?
10. Which supermarket chain has apologised to a 89-year-old poppy seller for making him stand outside and telling him to wrap up warmer if he was cold.
11. Who described the Conservative Party’s attitude towards drugs as a “totally misplaced, outdated, backwards-looking view”?
12. Two RAF Typhoons caused a sonic boom as they rushed to Stansted airport to escort a foreign aircraft that was “causing concern”. In which country was the plane registered?
13. What British produce will be available in supermarkets in December for the first time ever?
Bonus: Supermarkets reported that, because of rain in the North and an increase in demand, there was a seasonal scarcity of what?
14. Which tourist attraction introduced a new LED lighting system and is considering capping visitors to 20,000 a day?
15. According to research by Australian academic Dianna Kenny, people from which job have a life expectancy 20-25 years lower than average?
16. Who is ending a five decades' association with Labour over its position on Palestine?
17. According to the Office for National Statistics, which disease is now the biggest cause of death among British women?
18. How much has Barclays Bank set aside to cover an expected fine for rigging foreign exchange rates?
19. Who sent their first ever tweet while visiting the Information Age Exhibition at the Science Museum?
20. What will Cadbury’s no longer make?

Answers here

Monday, 27 October 2014

Just what readers need ... more tripe!

The problem with today's newspapers is they just don't have quality competitions like they did in back the fifties.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Ginger Rogers played the drums? Who knew?

One of my boyhood heroes, Jack Bruce, died yesterday. He was the bass guitarist, singer and song-writer with Cream, the band that made me really appreciate music. I never knew, though, that Ginger Rogers was not only a brilliant dancer ... but also played drums alongside Bruce and Eric Clapton. Thanks to The Independent for enlightening me on that and to @eshelm for flagging it up.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Final quiz for MailOnline: Lydia's 14 to beat

The MailOnline trainees outside the Manor in Howden. From left: Me, Anneta Konstantinides, Lydia Willgress with the Champagne, trainer Mike Watson, Myriah Towner, Evan Bleier, Kelly McLaughlin and Christopher Brennan.
Picture by Martin Stephens.
I am saying goodbye to the MailOnline trainees who finish their eight-week training in Howden tomorrow and head off to their regional placements this weekend. Five of the six trainees are Americans who, after their time in Howden, the regionals and MailOnline in London, will head back to New York. They spent their last week in Yorkshire wrapping up with Sue Ryan, Mike Watson and me and pitching stories to MailOnline, some of which were published. The Telegraph trainees have another week to go. They were visited by the Telegraph's head of legal Adam Cannon and head of editorial compliance Jess McAree. There were also sessions by political journalist Paul Francis, multi-media specialist Andy Drinkwater, MD of PA images Martin Stephens and they took a media law exam. Tomorrow they are visiting the Liverpool Echo offices so we finished with the newsquiz this evening. Lydia Willgress maintained her amazing run by winning with 14 out of 25. She has averaged more than 17.5 out of 25 each week - a remarkable performance. Lydia collected the Champagne. Christopher Brennan was a creditable second among the Mail trainees.
Top Telegraph trainee this week was Izzy Frazer. It is either getting harder or the trainees have been distracted by exams and story-getting ... as the top scores were lower than usual. So see if you can beat Lydia's 14 out of 25. Should be easy.      

Ben Bradlee - see Question 12

1. Why was Kevin Vickers in the headlines?
2. Britain's cheapest ever mortgage deal was announced at the weekend. What is the rate?
Bonus: Which lender is offering it? 
3. Bono has announced that he is suffering from which condition?
4. Harry Roberts is due to be freed from prison. What was his crime?
5. What are Network Rail considering installing at stations to prevent suicides? 
6. A family found one of the world's deadliest spiders in their home delivery shopping. Which supermarket made the delivery? 
Bonus: What kind of spider was it? 
7. The producers of The Simpsons are being sued for $250 million by actor Frank Sivero. He claims the Mafia character Louie is based on one he developed for which film? 
8. Why was Christophe de Margerie in the news? 

9. Bernard Jewry aka Shane Fenton died following a short illness. What was his more famous stage name?
10. The Duchess of Cambridge was photographed wearing a Jenny Packham pale blue dress at the Natural History Museum this week but what was the event?
11. Name the head of the official inquiry into historic child abuse who is under fire for having links with Lord Brittan?
12. Ben Bradlee, who edited the Washington Post during the Watergate scandal which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, died this week. What year did Nixon resign?
Bonus: Name either of the two reporters who broke the Watergate story for the Post.
13. How much will doctors be paid for each case of dementia they diagnose? 
14. Who, according to a 'virtual autopsy’ had girly hips, a club foot, buck teeth and parents who were brother and sister?
15. Wembley Stadium is sold out for a major sporting event on Sunday. Name either of the teams playing
16. Lynda Bellingham died of colon cancer this week. How old was she?
Bonus: Who announced he was cured of cancer after having a 6.5lb tumour removed from his pancreas. 
17. Who announced plans to cut 9,000 jobs over the next three years as it replaces staff with digital technology?
18. What did newly-weds Andy and Suzanne Kimmerling do on their honeymoon?
19. Who is the founder of the MOBO awards which were held this week?
Bonus: Sam Smith collected how many awards at the ceremony? 
20. What did Oscar Pistorius hand to his uncle for safekeeping as he was led away to begin his five-year sentence?

Answers here

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sideways look at design ...

There were a couple of design innovations that caught my eye last week. The Sun’s unusual sideways headline on Page 1 on Thursday generated a flurry of interest on Twitter. Lots of people seemed to like it. Neil Bonnar, head of sport at the Bolton News, said: "Sun have done it again for me. Genius attention grabber”. Emma Bryant, editor of the Carmarthen Journal and a first-rate production journalist, applauded The Sun for trying something new and even Trinity Mirror’s regional editorial director, Neil Benson, said he couldn’t make his mind up whether he liked it or not. "Suppose the alternative was 15 decks x 3 characters,” he said. My view? It was innovative as a one off perhaps but let’s hope it doesn’t lead to a flurry of copycat pages with tilted headlines, upside down pictures and topsy-turvy text. The danger in design is that we introduce fads and gimmicks because we can - rather than remembering how people read. I remember the change from hot metal to paste-up that led to an epidemic of WOB arrows, starbursts, rounded corners, circular pictures, text overlays and winged-in rules. We were free from the constraints of the linotype machine so we threw every design trick in the book at the pages. It settled down of course and most (one or two advertising departments excepted) went back to thinking about the poor reader. Turning the page sideways, other than for the crossword puzzle answers, isn’t really reader friendly.

On the same day, I was equally surprised to see this page in the Daily Mail. Normally the Mail’s news pages uses lower case serif headlines but here, straight out of the Daily Mirror, was Interstate caps. Initially I though there had been a plate mix-up on a press somewhere … but, no, it is a Mail page. A mistake, an experiment or the sign of things to come?

A Mirror headline using Interstate caps

The usual Mail news page typography

Sunday, 19 October 2014

And the ambiguous headline of the month ...

... is a tie!

Ht @eshelm

Front page word blindness

When proof-reading, it is often the headlines that gets missed. Here's an example. More than half the people I have shown this early front page, from yesterday's Times, took at least 30 seconds to spot anything was wrong. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

This week's news quiz: Lydia's 20 to beat

The MailOnline trainees have been working on forward planning stories and Halloween ideas this week. They have uncovered some cracking tales too … some of which will be published on the Mail’s website. Yesterday they had a day with media law specialist David Banks who has taken them to the magistrates' court in Hull today. The Daily Telegraph trainees did social media and live blogging with Darshan Sanghranjka, data with Paul Bradshaw and editing with me. As the Mail trainees are off to court today, we did the newsquiz last night. Lydia Willgress was top again with 20 out of 25 giving her an insurmountable lead in the Mail league table over second placed Christopher Brennan. The Telegraph’s top scorer this week was Sophie Jamieson with 16.5. 
There are 20 questions and five bonuses ... so 25 points in all. See if you can do better than Lydia’s 20.

Big liner visits Southampton (see Question 19)
Picture courtesy of the Press Association

1. America’s war on ISIS has been named Operation _______ _______ . Fill in the blanks.
2. Who said this week: You go back, you go back, you go back, you go back, you go back, you go over, you go over. What could you have done? You do as much as you can.?
3. Judy Finnigan has claimed that footballer Ched Evans’s rape victim ‘had far too much to drink’. Which team does Evans play for? 
Bonus: On which TV programme was Finnigan appearing when she made the remarks?
4. The UK inflation rate for September was announced this week. What was it? 
5. McDonald’s went to great lengths to assure customers it does not use what in its burgers?
6. George and Amal Clooney are reported to have bought a house in which English county?
Bonus: Mrs Clooney is trying to get the Elgin Marbles returned to Greece. Where are the Marbles now?
7. Who said: “I have a number of mentally damaged individuals, who to be quite frank aren’t worth the minimum wage, but want to work."?
8. Australian Richard Flanagan won the 2014 Man Booker prize for literature. What was his book called?
Bonus: Who were allowed to enter the contest for the first time this year? 
9. Why was Daniela Liverani in the headlines?
10. Seventy-seven-year-old paedophile Roderick MacDonald is to be questioned over links to Madeleine McCann. Where was he arrested?
11. Chiles Cartwright was sacked from what?
12. Which two companies are paying women employees to freeze their eggs so they can work longer? (Half point for each)
13. England’s chief medical officer has called for smoking in parks to be outlawed. Name her.  
14. Which teams were playing in the international football match abandoned after a drone flew over the stadium? (Half point for each)
Bonus: What was the score when the game was abandoned?
15. Which honour did the Queen bestow on Angelina Jolie for her campaign work fighting sexual violence and for services to UK foreign policy?
16.  An official overseeing a nurse with Ebola on to a plane from Dallas to Atlanta without the protection of a hazmat suit has been nicknamed what by social media and newspapers?
Bonus: Name the nurse.
17. Who revealed that they knew that, in EastEnders, Ben Mitchell had been played by five different actors while Martin Fowler had been portrayed by three?
18. A cliff near which town has apparently developed a human face?
19. One of the world’s largest liners docked at Southampton this week on its way to Florida. What is it called?
20. Mark Reckless will be attempting to be UKIP’s second MP when he stands in a by-election next month in which constituency? Full name please.

Answers here