Thursday, 19 December 2013

The last Post - a classy goodbye

The Liverpool Post closes today after 158 years. Once a thriving morning title, it is the biggest 'name' in regional newspapers to be a victim of the challenges facing the industry. It went weekly four years ago and now it is no more. It is a sad, but understandable, decision. Producing two titles from the same centre in the digital age is no easy task. Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Cardiff, Dundee, Aberdeen, Plymouth, Norwich and Ipswich continue to do so … and long may they succeed. Two radically different titles, one for the county and one for the city seems to still work … for now. There are now more than 30 daily titles in the UK now selling under 20,000 - many losing sale by 10 per cent year on year. More conversions to weekly seems to be inevitable. 
It is a sad day for Liverpool and for the newspaper industry. It is also a sad day  for editor Mark Thomas and his staff who marked it with a classy and stunning front page and a poignant piece on the website. I wish them well.


Friday, 13 December 2013

More than a hanging participle to worry about

The most shocking page of the week goes to the Sunday Sport … and I don't mean the squeezed headline typography or the overuse of red washes. Great crosshead though - Smitten! How could you not read on!!?

Wouldn't you know it …

Congratulations to Paul Burton who has been appointed editor of The Herald in Plymouth. Paul was one of my Editorial Centre trainees in Hastings not that many years ago. He was always destined to be an editor, and a talented production journalist, so it was no surprise to see this rhyming headline in his paper today. Watch this space … there is bound to be more. 

Friday, 6 December 2013

Fitting front pages for Nelson Mandela

There is only one story on this morning's front pages. And with many papers already printed by the time Nelson Mandela's death was announced, it was all hands to the pump for a quick turnaround. It's a simple page to put together of course - iconic image and poignant words - but highly effective nevertheless. There are so many great images to choose from and so many strong fronts as a result.

Let's start with The Daily Telegraph. This is when a broadsheet comes into its own. The eyes just sit above the fold and the whole page is like a portrait. Brilliant. The bar code (one of the broadsheet consequences) and the Autumn Statement blurb are unobtrusive enough.

The Independent lets Mandela's face dominate almost the entire front and uses an understated quote at the bottom right. No headline required. 

In Metro's case, no words at all are needed. As editor Kenny Campbell tweeted 'What words are there?' The man is the story and there he is ... in full dignity. A stunning and sad image.

The Times also decides few words are needed as it goes for one of its trademark wraps. On the back it runs one of the most memorable quotes from The Long Walk To Freedom: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

The Guardian uses the Berliner size to great effect. It clears the front, skies the image, reduces the headline, takes it under the fold and uses a quote from Jacob Zuma. Simple - and powerful.

Hats off to the Western Morning News. A fantastic smile and a positive image, along with a strong headline. 

The same image graces the Western Mail along with another strong headline. The paper also blurbs a 16-page pullout inside.

The Northern Echo, perhaps appropriately, had its own Local Heroes awards last night and then had major press problems caused by the bad weather. It still managed to produced this great cover. The only paper I've seen so far to use the Flag of the Republic.

The Irish Independent uses an effective crop, bleeding off the page.

That smile features again on the Daily Mail - and if you are going to call him anything, colossus is just about right.

It's a story of such magnitude that even the i clears its front. 

The Scotsman does a good rush job for its early edition. It doesn't wipe out its front but a strong image certainly dominates. A light goes out it says, and few could argue with that. Later it clears the front for a dominant image, although it might have kept its first edition headline.

In the early editions the main redtops opt not to do a tribute and go for the same stark headline. It's not often they get a breaking story these days, so just decide to tell it as it is. The Sun updates later for a more fitting President of the World.

Meanwhile, over at The Times, Peter Brookes is in top form

Here are some more of Ireland's front pages.

And finally, a sneak preview of next the edition of The New Yorker

So, hardly surprisingly, all the newspapers are as one. Fitting tributes to the greatest statesman of our times. A memorable and special night. 

To see all of the pages and those I have missed out visit the excellent  and @suttonnick

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Headline that sings is out of tune

The Sun has always enjoyed plundering the back catalogue of pop songs for its headlines. Over the years there have been some classics, as you can see below. But today's splash was just too cryptic, even for experienced tabloid watchers. The story about the Rev Paul Flowers, the former Co-op bank chairman, dabbling with drugs and rent boys was given the headline Sorted for he's and whizz. Geddit? Probably not. Its origins lie in a song, Sorted for E's & Wizz, by Pulp which made it to No 2 in 1995. Judging by the Twitter reaction, I am not alone in thinking it doesn't work as a headline though. He's as a euphemism for young males is stretching it and the apostrophe is wrong (it's just a plural). It is needed for the headline to have any chance of being read correctly though. And the song, albeit a hit from 18 years ago, is just too obscure for most readers. Hardly surprisingly, it was changed for the Monty Python Circus reunion in later editions. It was too clever by half. Song titles do often work as tabloid headlines though, as The Sun has long proved ...  

A memorable headline on George Michael's early sexual indiscretion

A neat tribute to The Sound of Music

Mary Poppins song provides the sub with a touch of brilliance

Barry Manilow is the inspiration for the Pope's visit to Brazil

Pink Floyd's tribute to the late Syd Barrett - Shine On You Crazy Diamond - was the source of this headline about banker Bob Diamond. Clever but, perhaps, verging on the obscure again.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Great use of space ...

Here's a clever headline from the redesigned Independent on Sunday today. The Tardis Scandal: More inside. Brilliant. 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Have I Got Homophones For You ...

And so to homophones. Last night, BBC's Have I Got News For You used the most common homophone of all - lead for led. The problem is that it looks right, it sounds right and the spell check won't spot it. Newspapers, particularly those without vigilant subs, are littered with homophones. I sometimes wonder if anybody even notices. In my collection are: 

The MP climbed the greasy poll
Topless dancers stripped to the waste
John Prescott peddled his bicycle
The Pope rung his hands.
The foreign secretary received a wrap across the knuckles

There are hundreds of them but those most commonly found in copy are: 

And don't get me started on it's/its…
Journalists need to take care. It's a maze (not a maize) out there...

Friday, 25 October 2013

Worst juxtaposition of the week award goes to

... the Straits Times in Singapore. Although I do sometimes wonder if mischief is at play. Other dodgy relationships can be found here.
HT Jasper A. LimJasper A. Lim

Final newsquiz: Mehreen gets top prize

Farewell to the trainees: From left, Tony Johnston (head of PA Training), Oliver Duggan, Camilla Turner, Laurence Dodds, Mehreen Khan, Raz Akkoc, Greg Walton, Mike Watson (trainer) and me

The Telegraph trainees finished the first stage of their training yesterday (see previous post). We finished as always with the news quiz. Congratulations to Mehreen Khan who scored 16 out of 24. It was a remarkable performance giving her 102 points over the seven weeks, an average of 14.5 a week. She finished 17 points ahead of second placed Raz Akkoc who pipped Oliver Duggan by half a point. Mehreen was presented with a book on the history of The Telegraph. That's it with the newsquiz till February ... but no excuse for you not to read the papers. If you beat Mehreen's 16, well done. She has set a high bar. 

1. A blonde girl called Maria was discovered living with a Roma family in which Greek city?
2. According to Tesco, 68 per cent of what type of food never makes it to the plate?
3. Education minister Elizabeth Truss was under fire for misspelling a word in a tweet on literacy and numeracy. What word did she misspell? 
4. Which university's union has banned fitness classes which offered pole dancing because  they 'contribute to an atmosphere where women are viewed as sexual objects'?
5. A comedian whose characters included Sebastien the gay Yardie gangster and Aubrey Duboisson, a posh bloke from the Cotswolds, died at the weekend. Who was he?
6. A new nuclear power plant is to be built at Hinkley Point. In which county is Hinkley Point?
7. As hundreds of bush fires broke out in Australia,  a state of emergency was called in which state?
8. Rihanna was asked to leave a Grand Mosque for posing for inappropriate photographs? In which city?
9. Sally Bercow paid out £15,000 as her libel settlement over her Lord McAlpine tweet. To which charity was the money donated?
10. Which country has rejected a seat on the UN Security Council in protest over America's policy in Syria?
11. In his autobiography Alex Ferguson said of his former captain Roy Keane: 'He believed he was ______ ________.  Nobody is.' Which fictional character was he comparing Keane to?
Bonus, which journalist ghost wrote Sr Alex's book?
12. Britain's biggest petrochemical refinery in Grangemouth is under threat of closure. Which company owns the plant? 
13. Apple's chief executive unveiled the new iPad Air and the iPad mini. Who is Apple's CEO?
14. Which quiz show is being dropped by ITV after 15 years?
15. A woman died after falling 80ft in a Primark store in which city?
16. What forced the Dean Academy in the Forest of Dean to close on Wednesday?
17. The Great British Bake Off was won by 31-year-old Frances Quinn. Which is the higher number - a) the collective age of the three finalists or b) the age of judge Mary Berry? 
Bonus, next year's GBBO will be moving. To where?
18. How many Godparents did Prince George have in total?
Bonus, Prince George was dressed in a replica of the gown worn by the eldest daughter of which monarch?
19. The chief medical officer for England has advised all children should be given free vitamin C because of the fear of a return of which bone disease?
Bonus, who is the chief medical officer for England?
20. Arsenal lost to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday on the birthday of their manager Arsene Wenger. Which birthday was he 'celebrating'?

Answers here.

Telegraph looking for multi-media trainees

The Telegraph trainees in Victoria yesterday. From left - Mehreen Khan, Greg Walton, Raz Akkoc, Laurence Dodds, Camilla Turner and Oliver Duggan
Yesterday I said farewell to the latest Telegraph editorial trainees. After seven weeks at Press Association Training's Manor House in Howden, East Yorkshire, they finished by delivering a multi-media presentation to the paper's executives in the Telegraph's London newsroom. They are now off to placements on big regional dailies and PA before returning to the Telegraph next year. 

Meanwhile, the hunt for the next intake has begun. If you are looking for a career in journalism with the Telegraph, you have until November 28 to apply. The training starts in September with seven intensive weeks designed to equip the trainees for life in a multi-media national newsroom. The full details are here. You might also take a look at an interview with former trainee Jonathan Liew and there are some general interview pointers here. Good luck.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Chris bows out after 20 years as editor

Chris Bright, one of Britain's longest-serving editors, has announced today that he is to retire. Chris has been at the Jersey Evening Post since 1970 and editor since 1994. During that time the JEP has held on to its circulation better than almost any other daily newspaper in the country. I first met Chris, who is now 61, just after he had taken over the editor's chair. I travelled over at his request to run a series of courses looking at the paper's content and design. I became a frequent visitor after that. The paper developed in a thoughtful and intelligent way under his leadership - and a whole raft of talented journalists gained their skills with his help. It was, and still is, a hugely professional newspaper, always in tune with the island. Jersey became one of my favourite work destinations, not just for the obvious reasons but because Chris was one of the friendliest and most generous editors I have ever met. The same can be said of the team, including his long-standing deputy, Rob Shipley, who also retires next month. Chris's shoes will be filled by the paper's deputy news-editor, Andy Sibcy, who has been appointed editor-designate and will take over the full title next year. I wish all three of them well.

Regional newspaper Hall of Fame

Eric Price

In the last few weeks, we have lost three giants of the regional Press. Former Western Daily Press editor Eric Price's death last week came only two weeks after Walter Greenwood died and a month after the death of David Williams,  the campaigning editor of the Evening Argus in Brighton. In five weeks the Regional Press's Hall of Fame lost three of its members. The Hall of Fame was put together in 2006 when Ian Reeves, then editor of the Press Gazette, asked me to chair a panel to select the 40 people who had made the most significant contribution to regional journalism in the last 40 years. It was to celebrate the Press Gazette's 40th anniversary. The first challenge was the panel. Its members had to have seniority, they had to be long-serving and be representative of geographical areas and newspaper groups. There were seven of us: Manchester Evening News editor, Paul Horrocks, former Cumbrian Newspapers editorial director Keith Sutton, Trinity Mirror editorial director Neil Benson, former Western Daily Press editor and editors' code committee secretary Ian Beales, former York Evening Press editor Liz Page who was with Archant at the time and Johnston Press editorial executive David Rowell.
Then there was the criteria - the nominees had to be journalists. We also didn't want this to just become a list of long-serving editors so writers, photographers, columnists, subs, cartoonists had to be considered. I asked the panel members, when they were mulling over the 120 names before us, to think about what the intro would be. If it was simply 'They served the paper for 18 years and remained committed to the Guild of Editors', it was unlikely they would make the cut. We wanted people who had made a difference. Press Gazette readers were also invited to send in nominations.
Ian Reeve said at the time: "On completion of their task, the panel winced about the shortage of women which, although uncomfortable, reflects the reality of the years in question. There were also few working editors. Is this because we halo our predecessors rather than our peers or is it that today's editors are less inclined to put their heads above the parapet? Maybe it was because the panel were uncertain, as they were only part way through their tenure, how history would judge them".
The first 25 names were easy, the second 15 almost impossible. We discussed them long into the night, had heated words, and then came back for more. We finally settled on 40 names. Those still alive were invited to the Regional Press Awards and framed portraits of each one were hung on the wall. The intention was to add someone each year.
A booklet containing a commissioned article on each of the 40 was produced. The deaths of Eric, Walter and David encouraged me to go through my old files and retrieve it. It is still a fascinating read. But it really does feel as though it belongs to a totally different age. It shows the massive changes there have been in our industry in the last seven years. If we did the exercise again, would we choose the same 40? I wonder. Perhaps the Press Gazette, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, should resurrect the idea.

Here is the list, in alphabetical order, along with the headlines from the booklet.

Mike Amos, MBE (Northern Echo columnist)
Legendary columnist and local celebrity who, for many, personifies his paper
Barry Askew (editor, Lancashire Evening Post and News of the World. Died 2012)
A colourful editor who never passed up an opportunity to shake up the establishment
Colin Brannigan, OBE (editor, Sheffield Star; md, Essex County Newspapers)
Campaigning innovator who was ahead of his time and a passionate advocate of local content
Frank Branston (founder, Bedfordshire on Sunday. Died 2009)
From sarcastic Sunday Express office boy to multi-millionaire mayor of Bedford
Roger Cross (crime specialist, Yorkshire Post; author, The Yorkshire Ripper. Died 1994)
Larger than life character and accomplished raconteur who produced a stream of Yorkshire exclusives
Ed Curran (editor-in-chief, Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life)
Ace Ulster journalist who remains on first name terms with all sides
Sean Dooley (editor, Gloucestershire Echo and The Sentinel, Stoke)
Shrewd editor who transformed Stoke daily and launched ground-breaking Sunday
Ian Dowell, MBE (editor, Birmingham Evening Mail)
People's champion who was not afraid of taking on the big guns on behalf of the readers
Geoff Elliott, CBE (editor Kent Messenger, Coventry Telegraph, The News, Portsmouth; head of journalism, University of Central Lancashire)
Pace-setter of journalistic standards with a passion for excellence, integrity and determination
Sir Harold Evans (editor, The Northern Echo, The Sunday Times and The Times; author of many books on journalism)
Possibly the greatest editor of all time, set the standard for campaigning journalism
Peter Franzen, OBE (editor, Eastern Daily Press)
Transformed an old-fashioned broadsheet into the first compact newspaper
Stuart Garner (editorial director and chief executive, Thomson Regional Newspapers)
Steely nerve and willingness to make big decisions
John Gibson (sports writer, Evening Chronicle, Newcastle; executive sports editor Newcastle Chronicle & Journal Ltd)
The North-East's larger than life sports reporter who won the respect and trust of players and fans
Walter Greenwood (head of Thomson Regional Newspapers training centre; co-author of Essential Law for Journalists for 27 years. Died 2013)
The man to turn to for expert advice on court reporting laws
Bill Heeps (chief executive and chairman, Thomson Regional Newspapers. Died 1995)  
Tireless toubleshooter who oversaw a revolution in new technology
Nick Herbert, Lord Hemingford (editor, Cambridge Evening News; editorial director, Westminster Press)
Inspirational editorial director who gave the best possible advice
Ron Hunt, MBE (editor, Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph; executive editor of EMAP newspapers; editor, Diss Express)
He brought out his evening paper single-handedly during a long strike
Bob James (lecturer, typographer, designer, author, development editor with Westminster Press. Died 2004)
He knew all there was to know about typography and kick-started a new era in training
Grenfell Jones (Gren), MBE (cartoonist, South Wales Echo. Died 2007)
South Wales's most eminent cartoonist who brought a daily smile to readers
Alex Leys (editor Lincolnshire Echo, Derby Telegraph, Leicester Mercury; founding editor UK News; editorial director at Northcliffe)
The first of a new Northcliffe breed that shook the regional newspaper world
Peter Long (launch editor, Chester Tonight; editor-in-chief of Celtic Newspapers)
His brave innovations revitalised titles in the South Wales Valleys
Toby Melville (photographer Bristol United Press, Press Association, Reuters)
Photojournalist with a natural ability to capture every mood at its fullest
Maureen Messent (columnist, Evening Mail, Birmingham)
Colourful writer who could be hard-nosed inquisitor or tearful agony aunt
Peter Moore (editor, Grimsby Telegraph. Died 2004)
Campaigning editor who always had time for his readers and staff
Jean Morgan (reporter, UK Press Gazette)
Intrepid reporter scared management and never failed to get the big stories
Chris Oakley, CBE (editor, Liverpool Echo; editor-in-chief Birmingham Post & Mail; chief executive Midland Independent Newspapers and Regional Independent Media)
Editor-turned-entrepreneur who helped transform the regional Press
Steve Panter (crime reporter and news-editor, Manchester Evening News)
Fearless crime reporter who risked jail to protect source
Ian Park, CBE (editor-in-chief and md Liverpool Post & Echo; chief executive and chairman, Northcliffe Newspapers)
Sharp, disciplined executive both feared and revered by editors
Keith Parker, OBE (editor, md Express & Star, Wolverhampton. Died 2010)
Editor whose superb standards resulted in huge rises in circulation
Paul Potts (editor-in-chief and chief executive, Press Association)
Indefatigable journalist who became boss who transformed PA group
Eric Price (editor, Western Daily Press; editorial director, Bristol Evening Post. Died 2013)
Miracle worker who transformed the fortunes of the West Country's top title
Allan Prosser (editor, The Northern Echo; editorial director, Kent Messenger Group; md of North of England Newspapers)
Powerhouse who saw off all detractors to modernise and reinvigorate a great daily
Terry Quinn (editor, Bradford T&A, Evening News, Edinburgh, Daily Record; editorial director, Thomson Regional Newspapers)
Driven editor and creative thinker who refused to take no for an answer
Bob Satchwell (editor, Cambridge Evening News; executive director, Society of Editors)
Incisive editor who has become battling leader of Society of Editors
Stephen Shakeshaft (photographer and picture editor, Liverpool Post & Echo)
An illuminating lensman capturing the biggest stars and ordinary people
Anita Syvret (editor, Gloucestershire Echo)
Pioneering female daily newspaper editor who survived by putting readers first
Tony Watson (editor, Yorkshire Post; editorial director and md, the Press Association)
Young editor presided over a new golden age for venerable Yorkshire institution
Tom Welsh (editor Evening Mail, Barrow; director of journalism at City University; co-author of Essential Law)
Co-author of the journalists' law bible and a prominent voice for Press freedom
Barrie Williams (editor, Kent Evening Post, Nottingham Evening Post and Western Morning News)
Brought a single-minded passion to his three long editorships
David Williams (editor, Brighton Evening Argus and Bury Free Press. Died 2013)
Inspired and brave editor who rolled up his sleeves and led from the front

Friday, 18 October 2013

This week's news quiz. Mehreen's 16 to beat

Eyes down for the quiz ... the Telegraph trainees in Liverpool today

The Daily Telegraph trainees have had a particularly busy week. Apart from a couple of days with me in Howden they have had sessions with Paul Francis on Freedom of Information and Martin Stephens on visual journalism. They took a law exam yesterday and today they visited the offices of the Liverpool Post and Echo with Tony Johnston, head of PA Training. As always we finished the week with the news quiz, just to ensure that they continue to forensically read the papers. This week's winner is Mehreen Khan with 16 out of 24. This means, over the six weeks of the course, Mehreen is 12 points ahead of second placed Raz Akkoc. It's the final quiz next week so Mehreen is clear favourite to pick up the end of course prize. See if you can do better than 16. There are 20 questions, with four bonus points, so a possible 24. 
China George (Q5) Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
1. The Scotland Yard inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is called Operation ___________. What is the missing word? 
2. Prime Minister David Cameron suggested customers should switch suppliers after British Gas announced it was putting up prices. The company is putting its gas up by 8.4 pc on November 23 and raising its electricity rates by what percentage? 
Bonus, the Energy Sectetary said there were a range of suppliers offering better deals than British Gas. Who is the Energy Secretary? 
3. 1970s' characters the Clangers, created by Oliver Postgate, are to return to television screens in a new series. What colour planet do the Clangers live on?
4. What was Plymouth lollipopman Bob Slade doing with children that led to him quitting his job.
5. In his trade visit to Beijing Chancellor George Osborne claimed, wrongly, that 160 million Chinese people are regularly watching what?
6. Roy Hodgson steered England to the World Cup finals in Brazil and then found himself in a row over a joke about a monkey … and a what? 
Bonus, England's qualification means that four former World Cup winning countries from Europe have booked a place in Brazil. Who are the only former World Champions from Europe that are not yet there? 
7. A street stall in New York was offering spray art for sale at $60 a piece. The pictures were actually by steet artist Banksy and were worth thousands. How many paying customers did the stall have?
8. Why was Angela Ahrendts in the headlines?
9. Eleanor Catton became the youngest winner of the Man Booker prize with her novel The Luminaries. How old is she?
Bonus, prior to Catton's success who was the youngest Booker prizewinner?
10. Pensioners with more than how much money in savings should be regarded as 'quite wealthy' according to care minister Norman Lamb?
11. Sir Anthony Hopkins described whose performances as 'the best acting I have seen - ever'?
12. British newspapers are not the only ones having a tough time from their Government. President Cristina Kirchner has been accused by editors of introducing a draconian law to control the media. In which country?
Bonus, The International Herald Tribune changed its name this week. To what?
13. In a her memoirs, graphic artist Chrisann Brennan says her former lover believed he was a Second World War fighter pilot in a previous life. Who was she writing about?
14. The Independent Police Complaints Commission accused which police force of a cover-up in the so-called Plebgate dispute involving former chief whip Andrew Mitchell? 
15. Nice has told doctors not to always blame patients if they are obese. What is the full name of Nice.
16. Why was Wimbledon champion Andy Murray almost late to Buckingham Place to receive his OBE?
17. Oxford scientist Professor Brian Sykes claims to have uncovered evidence that what exists?
18. An inquest into the deaths of six British soldiers, killed by a roadside bomb in Afhanistan, is being held at the Coroner's Court in which city?
19. Labour's new shadow women's minister has found herself irritated by a story about a topless photo shoot she did when she was a teenager. Who is she?
20. The sales of what have doubled in the last 12 months to 550,000?

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Mail recruiting online journalists and print subs

I have only just said goodbye to the Daily Mail trainee journalists and already the paper is recruiting again. It is looking for trainees to go to MailOnline and also for sub-editors to work on the paper. The successful applicants will spend three weeks in February training at PA's Yorkshire HQ in Howden and one-week at the Mail's London office in Derry Street. They will then be placed at regional newspapers and agencies before returning to the Mail in London later in the year. The training begins in February so this intake is not suitable for those graduating in 2014. The Mail will also be recruiting trainee reporters and sub-editors for courses starting in September. These opportunities will be advertised next month ... watch this space. The deadline for applications for the February course is November 15. If you are interested, send a covering letter, your CV and six examples of your work to Sue Ryan. Her email address is
If you are applying you might want to take a look at my advice on how to prepare for an interviewMore details are on Hold The Front PageGood luck.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Whacky headlines and bills of the week

With all the dog-eat-stuff dominating the media this week here are some more obscure headlines you might have missed.

This one, from the Irish Independent, has a bit of everything. The use of the word 'innocent' makes it special. After all, had the cow been guilty, the story just wouldn't be the same.

It is a clear winner of the whacky headline of the week, although this one from the Mirror is certainly a contender.

Meanwhile the Worksop Guardian makes another contribution to the growing list of headlines based on song titles. There are more of these here, here and here.

There were a couple of good bills doing the rounds this week too. This one from the News & Star in certainly Carlisle caught the eye. All is explained here.

And finally, let's finish with some good news from the Kent Messenger. 

Why politicians need media training

Some of my friends and colleagues, including George Dearsley, Andy Drinkwater and Frank Wintle, run 'handling the media courses'. They teach politicians, chief execs and others in the public eye how to deal with the ruthless questioning by media terriers such as Jeremy Paxman and John Humphrys. They show them what to expect, how to do their research and what not to do and say. It is an interesting way to make a living … but is it really necessary? Well, watch this amazing video here and draw your own conclusions. Enjoy. 

Friday, 11 October 2013

Tom wins Champagne in final news quiz

Saying farewell to Howden. Mail trainees (left to right): Steph Linning, Rachael Day, Tom Leece, Samantha Sharman, Jenny Ryan (speaker), Lizzie Palmer, Lottie Young (speaker), Matt Lambert, Holly Stevenson and Emma Craig
The Daily Mail subbing trainees finish their four-week training stint at the Manor in Howden today and are heading off to their placements. They are going to Mail Plus, the Scottish Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, the Manchester Evening News, the Hull Daily Mail and the Western Morning News. We had an intensive final week with visits by Sue Ryan, Mike Watson, Andy Gregory from Mail Plus and senior subs Jenny Ryan and Lottie Young. It was great to see Lottie, who was a trainee on the course only two years ago, back in Howden in a senior capacity. 
Daily Telegraph trainees (from left) Mehreen Khan, Raz Akkoc, Darshan Sanghrajka (trainer), Laurence Dodds, Camilla Turner, Oliver Duggan and Greg Walton
The Daily Telegraph trainees had sessions with Paul BradshawDarshan Sanghrajka and me. They have gone to Newcastle Crown Court today, so we did the news quiz slightly early. The overall winner this week was the Mail's Holly Stevenson with 18 followed closely by Steph Linning with 17. The overall course winner for the Mail, though, was Tom Leece with an average score of just over 15 for the four weeks. 

Tom celebrates with the Champagne

Tom was presented with a bottle of vintage Champagne. The highest scoring Telegraph trainee this week was Oliver Duggan with 13. See if you can beat Holly's impressive score. There are 22 questions, with three bonus questions, so a possible score of 25.

1. All 120,000 Glastonbury festival tickets were sold out in 87 minutes. How much did each ticket cost?
2. How much in expenses did former defence secretary Liam Fox claim for driving 0.6 miles in his constituency?
3. In the Cabinet reshuffle Don Foster became the new Liberal Democrat Chief Whip. Who did he replace? Bonus Fiona-Natasha Syms tweeted about the sacking of her ex-husband as chief whip. She wrote: "He was utterly gracious and took it like a man, I am ______ _______." What are the missing two words?
4. Why was Janet Yellen in the headlines?
5. According to the Environment Secretary, the reason that the badger cull was behind schedule was that the badgers had 'moved the goalposts'. Who is the Environment Secretary?
6. According to Business Secretary Vince Cable, by the midnight deadline on Tuesday, how many individual applications had there been for Royal Mail shares?
7. The rape of Anna Bates in Downton Abbey caused the Countess of Carnarvon to say she would like to watch 'nice things' on television. The Countess owns the castle where Downton is set. What is it called?
Bonus name the actor who played the valet who perpetrated the rape?
8. Students at which university where entertained in their accommodation by rapper Coolio who cooked peach crumble and sang Gangsta Rap for them.
9. On what date will the Christening of Prince George be held?
Bonus the Royal Mint is striking nine coins to celebrate the Christening. The most expensive, the gold Kilo coin, will set you back £50,000. But what is the cost of the cheapest?
10. Newcastle-born Peter Higgs and Francois Englert from Belgium shared the Nobel prize for what?
11. Harry Redknapp's autobiography Always Managing was ghost written by which journalist?
12. The production of which car will end in 2015 as it has fallen foul of European laws on fuel emissions?
13. Instead of promising 'to do my duty to God', the Scouts will in future be able to choose to uphold what?
14. The cost of producing what rose by 33 per cent in the past year?
15. Author Victoria Hislop expressed anger over which label?
16. There have been many backgrounders on Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger written this week, including information about his musical ability. Which two instruments does he play? Half point for each.
17. At which airport did Easyjet leave 29 passengers at the boarding gate?
18. What is the name of the think-tank that persuaded EDL leader Tommy Robinson to quit his post?
19. The IMF has forecast that Britain's economy will increase at what rate this year?
20. Great grandfather John Wildey, who has no pilot's experience, landed a plane at which airport?
21. Paul McCartney was in the news for sacking his staff on the Mull of Kintyre and for releasing his 16th solo album, which is titled New. How old is Paul McCartney?
22. According to researchers writing in Chemistry World, who examined 57 drinks, which drink is the most effective hangover cure?

Answers here.

Friday, 4 October 2013

This week's news quiz: Tom's 15.5 to beat

Daily Mail subbing trainees with editor Neil Hodgkinson on their trip to the Hull Daily Mail yesterday. Left to right: Samantha Sharman, Rachael Day, Matt Lambert, Steph Linning, Emma Craig, Tom Leece. Holly Stevenson and 
Lizzie Palmer
The Daily Mail trainee subs have finished their third week at PA's Howden HQ. Just one more to go. They spent the week with trainers Mike Watson and Tony Johnston, had a session with Martin Stephens of Press Association Photos and a day with Tim Ross from the Mail's legal team. Yesterday they visited the Hull Daily Mail offices to see the workings of a regional newspaper production department first hand. The Daily Telegraph trainees are in their fourth week and have another three to go. They had a week looking at legal issues with David Banks and video and online with Mark Batey and Chris Gregory. This afternoon, as usual, both groups got together for the news quiz.
This week's overall winner was Tom Leece from the Mail with 15.5. The Telegraph's top scorer was Mehreen Khan with 13.5. They thought it was slightly harder than last week. See if you agree.
There are 20 questions with three bonuses, so a possible 23 points.   

1. The author Tom Clancy died this week. His first novel was described by Ronald Reagan as 'the perfect yarn'. What was it called?
2. Who wrote the original Daily Mail article about Ralph Miliband, headlined The Man who hated Britain, which led to Ed Miliband's demand for a right of reply?  
Bonus, in which country was Ralph Miliband born?
3. Racing presenter John McCririck is claiming he was axed by Channel 4 because of his age. How old is he?
4. Boris Johnson told the Tory party conference it was time to cut the 'yellow Lib Dem ______ from around our necks.' What is the missing word? 
First bonus, the phrase 'finish the job' or 'finishing the job' was used how many times in David Cameron's conference speech? 
Second bonus, on the final day of the conference Samantha Cameron wore a sleeveless blue teal pencil dress from Asos. According to both the Mail and the Telegraph how much did it cost?
5. Yahya Jammeh is president of which country?
6. A Lottery ticket goes up from £1 to £2 tomorrow. What is the new prize money for matching three balls?
7. A survey by travel website Skyscanner revealed that 90 per cent of airline passengers believe what should be banned on short haul flights?
8. Helen Fielding has revealed that, in her third Bridget Jones book, Mark Darcy has been killed off and Bridget is a 51-year-old widow. What is the book called?
9. Which Olympic Gold medal winner intends to a stand as a Tory MEP candidate?
10. What is to be introduced to Canterbury Cathedral for the first time in more than 900 years. 
11. John Boehner was in the headlines this week? Who is he?
12. Hundreds of African migrants drowned after a boat capsized near a tiny island near Sicily. What is the island called?
13. Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock was escorted from his seat after over-celebrating at a football match at which ground?
14. Which company's pre-tax profits fell by 24 per cent to £1.39 billion?
15. Amanda Hutton was convicted of the manslaughter of her son by starving him to death. At which court?
16. Mia Farrow hit the headlines with the suggestion that her son Ronan was fathered by Frank Sinatra. Mia Farrow has been married twice, once to Sinatra, but who was her other husband?
17. Which illegal online drug website has been closed down by the FBI?
18. Plans have been revealed to rebuild Crystal Palace. The original building was destroyed in a fire in which year? 
19. Who has landed a new job with Paddle 8 Auction House?
20. Why was Christopher Seale in trouble?