Friday, 28 November 2014

Try your hand at this week's newsquiz ...

Last week's newsquiz looked like being the hardest ever - a stream of average scores - until my old Northern Echo colleague Adam Batstone steamed in with an impressive 17, a personal best. Have a go at this week's challenge. As usual there are 20 questions with five bonuses ... so 25 up for grabs. I reckon 15 would be a good score. Let me know how you get on.

Tories in trouble: Mellor (Q8) and Mitchell (Q18)  
Photos courtesy of the Press Association

1. Home secretary Theresa May said British authorities have foiled how many terrorist plots since July 2005?
Bonus: She also said that in August Britain raised its threat level from 'substantial' to what?
2. Lewis Hamilton became the fourth Briton to win multiple Formula One world championships. Jackie Stewart has won three, but name the other two drivers who have won two. Half point for each.
Bonus: There were 19 races this season. How many of them did Hamilton win?
3. A tie worn by Ukip leader Nigel Farage during the Rochester and Strood by-election was reportedly sold out this week. What pattern did the tie show.
4. Which official British document is due to be axed on January 1?
5. Protests spread across America following the decision not to charge policeman Darren Wilson who shot a black teenager in Ferguson. What was the teenager’s name?
Bonus: In which US state is Ferguson?
6. The Government is asking the British Committee of Advertising Practice to consider banning which kind of adverts before the 9pm watershed?
7. According to the Food Standards Agency which supermarket has the worst record for selling chickens with a lethal food-poisoning bug?

Bonus: What did retired head teacher Paul Poli find in his Morrisons' sea bass dinner?
8. Former Cabinet minister David Mellor had a foul-mouthed argument with a London cab driver and accused him of ruining his day at Buckingham Palace. Why had he been there?

Bonus: How much was Mellor’s taxi fare?
9. Who compared the EU to ‘an ageing grandmother’ saying it is seen as ‘insensitive … if not downright harmful’?
10. The American wife of London financier Sir Chris Hohn was awarded a record-figure divorce settlement by a High Court judge. How much was it?
11. The Magical Journey Christmas show, designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, was forced to close after an avalanche of complaints? In which sporting venue is it based?
12. A notorious criminal, who was called 'Britain’s most dangerous man' by two Home Secretaries, died this week. Name him.
13. Which company announced it is launching a high-protein, high-calcium, low-sugar milk called Fairlife – at twice the price of a normal pint?

14. Why were brothers Mohommod Nawaz and Hamza Nawaz in the headlines?
15. Cricket was stunned by the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes. Name one of the English county cricket sides he played for.
Bonus: It would have been his birthday on Sunday. How old would he have been?
16. A joint venture by Virgin and Stagecoach won which franchise?
17. The Baroness of Holland Park died this week. By what name was she better known?
18. Former chief whip Andrew Mitchell lost his ‘Plebgate’ High Court libel action against who?
19. Newsreader Michael Buerk told his I’m A Celebrity camp-mates about his biggest regrets. One was tracking down his father, what was the other? 
20. More than one million of these have been sold in the UK so far this year - for the first time since 1996. What are they?

Answers here 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Newspapers pay poignant tribute to Phil Hughes

Sometimes few words are needed. Australian and English newspapers pay poignant tribute to cricketer Phil Hughes who died age 25. RIP.

Thanks to all contributors including the excellent  and @suttonnick

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

How is the sub-editor doing in the digital age?

How is the sub-editing craft doing in the digital age? Well, subs may be thin on the ground but in some places, at least, good sub-editing is still alive and kicking. Here’s my article in the latest edition of InPublishing on how the Irish Independent group has taken out the production layer but worked hard to keep up subbing standards. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Try your hand at this week's news quiz

Here is this week's news quiz. Scores last week ranged from a paltry five to an impressive 18.5 (although that was a collective score so doesn't really count). The locals in my pub got a poor 11. The top individual score sent to me was 14 by Charlie Taverner. As usual there are 20 questions with five bonus points - so a total of 25 up for grabs. Let me know how you get on.

Rochester victor Mark Reckless (see Q1)
Photograph courtesy of the Press Association 
1. Ukip won the Rochester by-election but which party came fifth?
Bonus: What three-word Tweet led to the resignation of shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry?
2. Which seaside town was turned into Walmington-on-Sea for the filming of Dad’s Army?
3. What killed at least eight people in Buffalo, New York?
4. Uday and Rassan Abu Jamal killed five people in an attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem. How were they related?
Bonus: Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg was among those murdered. In which British city was he born?
5. The British Board of Film Classification initially warned that a new film included 'dangerous behaviour, mild threat, mild sex references and bad language.’ Name the film.
6. Bono had five-hours of reconstructive surgery - including three metal plates and 18 screws - on his face. What happened to him?
7. Why was Cherry Valley farm in the headlines?
8. England’s rugby head coach has come under fire after his side lost to New Zealand and South Africa. Name him.
Bonus: Who are England playing tomorrow?
9. Why was Afton Elaine Burton in the headlines?
10. The Miss World contestant from which country was found dead?
11. Myleene Klass clashed with Labour leader Ed Miliband over his proposed Mansion Tax on which TV programme?
Bonus: A petition is now calling for Miss Klass to be dropped as the face of which retailer?
12. Wigan Athletic FC’s shirt sponsors pulled out following the controversial appointment of Malkay Machay as manager.  Name them.
Bonus: Who did Machay replace?
13. Which hospital has threatened to take legal action to evict elderly patients who are bed-blocking?
14. Chris Ronnie was found guilty of accepting just over £1m in backhanders from suppliers when he was chief executive of which firm?
15. What do lawyer Tamara Green and actresses Janice Dickinson and Louisa Moritz have in common?
16. Motown singer Jimmy Ruffin died aged 78. What was his only UK Top Ten hit?
17. Where did widow Maria Raybould take her husband’s ashes?
18. How much was RBS fined for computer failures that left millions of customers unable to access its accounts?
19. In which country were there mass protests demanding the government find 43 missing trainee teachers?
20. Who was stopped by police for allegedly riding a bike at 16mph in a 5mph area in Hyde Park?

Answers here

Saturday, 15 November 2014

After a month of parties, Phil makes a Swift exit

Phil, fifth from left on the bottom row, with Howden colleagues
One of Fleet Street’s most likeable characters, Phil Swift, was due to shuffle off into retirement this month. But in truth he didn’t shuffle at all - he went out with several large bangs. I guess it is hardly surprising that, despite being 67, a man who has worked for newspapers for almost half a century knows how to throw a good bash. I was working a long way from the party venues in Howden so couldn’t go (I was disappointed, but my liver was so happy). One event was fairly civilized with speeches and a meal, with Swifty true to form picking up the tab. Most of the revellers were in bed by 4am. But my spies tell me that at another one there was early-morning shirt swapping, people locked in cupboards and plenty of drinking shenanigans. The landlord gave up at 2.30am and Swifty baled out at 4.30am. Others didn’t turn-in until 7.15am. Some night, some stamina.

Charles Griffin's caricature
One of the highlights was a caricature of Phil by Daily Mirror cartoonist Charles Griffin. Charles and Phil worked together at the Mirror but had not seen each other for 20 years. One of Phil’s colleagues, Kay Harrison, sent a snatched picture of Phil to Griffin who replied saying: 'Thanks for the picture of Phil's dad. Now can I have one of Phil?'
Other gifts included an inscribed lighter from one of his former trainees Laura Wileman, a ball made of elastic bands to remind him of when they used to play late night indoor cricket matches in the Mirror newsroom, enough wine to start a business, 
books and Bose headphones.
I first met Phil when he joined PA Training a decade or so ago. I was able to use him as a senior consultant - doing production and training work, particularly in Ireland - and we became good friends.

Phil receives gifts at his desk
Phil’s career began as a Daily Mail news sub. He then spent more than 20 years at the Daily Mirror, sub-editing, chief sub-editing and night editing - before becoming features editor and deputy editor. He also worked at the People, the Sunday Mirror and Today. Up until his retirement he had been working for the Press Association team in Howden which was producing the Mirror’s pages.
Phil was a great newspaper production man - but he was also an excellent trainer. It is a testament to his popularity and mentoring skills that his many leaving parties were attended by dozens of people less than half his age - many of them his former trainees. I wish him a long and happy retirement - though I suspect he won’t be putting his feet up just yet.

Friday, 14 November 2014

This week's news quiz - 25 points up for grabs

Here's this week's news quiz. As usual there are 20 questions with five bonuses ... so a possible 25 points up for grabs. Let me know how you get on. I reckon that this week 18 is an impressive score.

The poppies at the Tower made an impressive wrap in The Times (Q1)

1. The poppies around the Tower of London represented every British and colonial death in the Great War. How many were there?
Bonus: The name of the poppy installation was taken from the first line of a poem by an unknown soldier? What is it?
Bonus: The BBC came under fire for not including the British Legion poppy appeal song No Man’s Land in its Radio 1 or 2 playlists. Who sings it?
2. Under a new law, likely to be passed next month, what will you not be allowed to do in your car from next October?
3. David Moyes has been appointed manager of which European football team?
4. Which BBC programme was screened on Wednesday after a last-minute legal challenge prevented it from being shown on Monday?
5. Who used the code names ’the A-team’, the '3 Musketeers' and ‘1 team, 1 dream’?
6. Why was Rebekah Gibbs in the headlines?
7. Who will present Wayne Rooney with his golden cap at Wembley tomorrow (Saturday), to mark his 100th England appearance?
Bonus: Who will England be playing?
8. Singer Dolores O’Riordan was arrested for allegedly assaulting an air hostess and headbutting a police officer at Shannon airport. Which rock band did she front?
9. The Foreign Secretary visited Sierra Leone as part of an Ebola assessment tour. Who is the Foreign Secretary?
10. The Rosetta space probe reached the comet 67P. In which year did it leave earth?

Bonus: Name the robotic Lander that settled on the comet.
11. Two window cleaners were rescued from a collapsed cradle at the World Trade Center. How many storeys up were they?
12. Who insisted she does not hold a grudge against her ex-husband by saying: “To hold any kind of resentment is like taking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die”?
13. It has been reported that the White Widow has been killed by a sniper in Ukraine. What is her real name?
Bonus: David Cameron gave a speech outlining plans to restrict the movement of British Jihadists. In which city was the speech delivered?
14. Where are Varyag, Shaposhnikov, Fotiy Krylov and Boris Butoma believed to be heading?
15. Tracey Emin has designed a neon-style sign that reads 'Faith love trust you me and the world’. Where will it appear?
16. What do athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, sixties rocker Dave Berry and TV sports presenter Charlie Webster have in common?
17. Andy Murray was knocked out of the World Tour Finals in two sets by Roger Federer. How many games did Murray win in the match?
18. Why was Michael J. Garcia in the headlines?
19. More than 22,000 patients are to be recalled for tests after it was revealed dentist Desmond D’Mello broke hygiene procedures. In which city? 

20. Who is the oldest celebrity to be taking part in the next I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here?

Answers here

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

What do you call a bunch of Derby editors?

Editors of the Derby (Evening) Telegraph gathered at the paper’s Meadow Road office this week to mark a move to new premises. The paper has been in Meadow Road since 1980 and the editors' memories covering 34 years are definitely worth a read. One story that is missing, often recounted when old hacks get together for a beer or two, is told by ex-editor Mike Lowe. “My office backed on to the MDs. I knew that the then Bishop of Derby was coming to visit him so I waited until he’d gone out to reception to welcome his guest and then sneaked into his office and left an opened copy of Razzle on his coffee table. He was normally unflappable, but the shout of 'You bastard, Lowey’ could be heard at the other end of the building. The Bishop seemed a little nonplussed.” Ha ... the days when newspapers allowed a little high jinx without fear of the sack! 

The paper (not Razzle) also published this picture of seven of the men who edited the Telegraph during those 34 years. They are, from the left, Steve Hall (now Derby MD), Mike Wood, Mike Lowe, Mike Norton, Keith Perch, Neil White (current editor) and Neil Fowler.
The only two missing are the late Bob Randall and Alex Leys, who now lives in the far North of Scotland. The picture prompted me to ask Twitter what the collective noun for Derby Telegraph editors should be. The actual collective noun for editors is an erudition. A quick search on the internet, though, came up with some innovative ideas. Seven years ago Adam Tinworth asked a similar question on his blog. The answers included a decline (ouch). Someone at least had the courtesy to suggest it should be a managed decline. Others were a twaddle, a whinge and an opinion. The All Sorts website suggested a scowl, a correction and a lynch posse among many others.  
In response to my Tweet, Lowey suggested an arrogance (quite apt for those  who remember the Northcliffe football team) and current editor Neil White came up with an ego. Other editors joined in. Chris Lennon suggested a confusion, David Rowell came up with a bruising, Simon O’Neill (who was also at Derby) a snarl and Dominique Searle, editor of the Gibraltar Chronicle, came up with a barrel. Bev Thomas, editor of the Cambrian News was more gracious. 'I'd like to think that it's an eloquence of editors,' she wrote. Ex-editor Matt Cornish's perspective has changed over the years. 'As a cub reporter it would've been 'a beasting of editors,' he tweeted. 'Nowadays a 'prozac of editors'. The Mirror Style Guide didn't like the idea of more than one editor so suggested a dither. MailOnline journalist Paul Hutchinson thought a hyperbole was the most appropriate and Neil Gibson liked a pedant. The Evening Standard's Simon Neville said "I'm guessing there's a PowerPoint presentation with a synergy of editors in it. The Mirror's Greg Livsey suggested a bollocking of editors - although admitted that probably said more about him than the editors. The most heartfelt came from Australian editor Paul Wiggins who replied: 'A sigh of editors. Trust me on this.'
All of these are suitable for editors in general of course but this collective noun was meant to be specific to Derby. Last word to current editor Neil White: ‘On reflection, it should be a pride. Works on a few levels.’ I’ll buy that. Good luck to him and all the Derby staff on the move. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Mail looking for trainee journalists

The Daily Mail group is once again recruiting trainee journalists. Since 2003 I have been training sub-editors for the paper and since 2007 I have been training reporters. Two years ago we started a course for online journalists. This year’s intake included five trainees from America. They are now on regional placements and will return to Kensington after Christmas. Eventually they will head back to the Mail’s New York office. 
Many graduates of the courses are now seniors at the Mail. These include deputy sports editor Alex Kay, assistant news-editor Katherine Faulkner, assistant night editor Lara King, commissioning editor Ailsa Leslie, sports chief sub Phil Gradwell, assistant editor of Good Health Jennie Agg, defence reporter Larisa Brown, political reporter John Stevens and financial journalist Peter Campbell. Some ex-trainees are now working for MailOnline in New York. A few who finished their training and moved on have done well elsewhere. Fay Schlesinger is home editor of The Times and Peter Dominiczak is political editor of the Telegraph. The trainees are also regularly shortlisted in the Press Awards.They include Simon Murphy, Katherine Faulkner, George Arbuthnott and Matt Sandy, who won the young journalist award outright. The Mail, Mail on Sunday and MailOnline are, as you would expect, littered with the bylines of former trainees. 

This year's reporting and online trainees at Derry Street
The training is a real investment by DMGT. The successful applicants spend weeks training in the Mail’s London offices or PA's Yorkshire HQ in Howden. The reporting trainees have two weeks in London, the subs four weeks in Howden and the online trainees, who have to report and edit, do the full six weeks. They are then placed at regional newspapers and agencies before returning to the Mail in London the following year. 

This year's subbing trainees, with me, at PA's Manor in Howden

The training will begin in September 2015 so is suitable for those graduating this academic year. The absolute deadline for applications is January 30 - but we would appreciate it if you could apply well before then. If you are interested, send a covering letter, your CV and six examples of your work to Sue Ryan at Details are also on Hold The Front PageIf you are applying you might want to take a look at my advice on how to prepare for an interview. Good luck.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Echo remembers with a touch of brilliance

In the world of 'digital first’ what is the role of print? I regularly talk about keeping a differential, being innovative and making the newspaper special. Well this morning’s Northern Echo ticks all of those boxes. The Echo, which never publishes on a Sunday, has put together a Remembrance Sunday edition. The cover and the back page are exclusive pieces of art by Middlesbrough artist Mackenzie Thorpe. The front page poppy has a dew drop, which symbolises a tear. Inside the tear is a silhouette of soldiers at war. 

The back page
The special edition features wartime front pages from the archives, a roll of honour of the region’s soldiers who lost their lives and covers how the North-East is marking the centenary.
It costs £1 – 100 pence for 100 years - and 10p for each copy goes to the Echo’s “£100,000 for 100 Years” appeal in aid of Phoenix House, a rehabilitation centre established by Help For Heroes at Catterick.

You can watch a video of how the paper came together here and read the comment by editor Peter Barron here. In it, he says 'we really should love newspapers, protect them, and never under estimate the work and care that goes into producing them - especially on days like this.'
I certainly go along with that. 
This is a very special edition of the paper. My copy is ordered. If you live outside the North-East and want one ring 01274 705248.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Test yourself with this week's newsquiz

The Mail and Telegraph trainees that I have been with since early September have now all gone off on placement. So this week I was back on another beat, working in Dublin with The Irish Times. Traditionally the weekly news quiz has finished once the training diplomas end but a number of people (including those in my local pub, the Plough) have asked if I will continue it. So, here goes. There is no high score to beat this week but if you get 16 out of 25, I reckon you will be doing pretty well. 

The Ripper is back in the headlines: Question 11
1. Will Cornick was sentenced to life with a minimum of 20 years for killing teacher Ann Maguire ... by which court?
Bonus: Which subject did Mrs Maguire teach?
2. Russell Brand joined which anti-capitalist group in a Guy Fawkes night demonstration?
3. Fijian born Semesa Rokoduguni will make his debut for which rugby team tomorrow (Sat Nov 8)?
4. Who said: 'I had five months where I didn’t work and I found it really unrewarding. Because all the things you do at home are just taken for granted’?
5. Why was Rob O’Neill in the headlines?
6. Who tweeted: 'Closing down on Twitter while filming. In a place whence I've  been advised it is safest not to tweet. See you December. Here goes…'?
7. Norman Baker, who resigned as Home Office Minister, said working with Theresa May was like walking through what?
Bonus: Who took over from Mr Baker?
8. Whose effigy was saved from being burned on Lewes bonfire after the council received complaints? 
9. Sonya Loretta Dyer was dating Rurik Jutting for four years before his arrest  for the murder of two sex workers in Hong Kong. What was her pseudonym?
Bonus: On the night the first girl was killed Jutting went to the Old China Hand pub in Hong Kong's red light district and ordered a pint of what?
10. Claudia Winkleman will be taking time off while her daughter Matilda recovers from a Halloween accident. Who will replace her on Strictly Come Dancing?
11. Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe is said to be on the brink of death in Broadmoor Hospital after a heart attack. How many women was Sutcliffe convicted of murdering? 
Bonus: How old is Sutcliffe?
12. Why was Katie Mulrennan rejected from a teaching job in South Korea?
13. Boris Johnson and David Cameron have joined calls for the ceramic poppies to stay at the Tower of London for an extra week. When are the poppies scheduled to be removed?
14. The seventh Star Wars film was announced this week. What is its name?
15. On what date are the toll booths being removed from the Dartford Crossing?
Bonus: On the same day, the toll for a car will rise to how much?
16. What are Simon Danczuk and Ian Austin calling for?
17. Who sings the song, Real Love, being used in the new John Lewis advert?
18. The Republicans won control of the Senate in the mid-term Elections? How many seats does a party need to have control?
19. Why was Sophie Hunter in the headlines?
20. In an outbreak of headline abbreviations, the ECB was said to be planning a programme of QE. What do ECB and QE stand for? (half point for each)

Answers here

Monday, 3 November 2014

Want to be Telegraph a digital storyteller?

This year's trainees at the Telegraph office on Thursday

I said goodbye to the Telegraph Media Group trainees on Thursday and almost immediately the advert for the next intake was posted. So if you think you have what it takes to be a digital storyteller with the Telegraph, this is your chance. You will need a good degree, a deep interest in current affairs, original and unconventional ideas and data, video and other digital skills. The training starts with an eight-week course at PA’s training headquarters in Howden which is scheduled to start next September. This is followed by placement at PA and regional newspapers and then on-the-job training with TMG at its Victoria offices. Many of the Telegraph’s senior editorial staff have been through the scheme. If you are interested you will need to submit an application form and a short video by December 14. The full details are here.