Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmas is over ... back to the newsquiz

It may be Christmas ... but there has still been a lot going on in the world. So, in between the shopping and eating, did you manage to keep up with the news? Test yourself with this week's newsquiz - as usual there are 20 questions, with five bonuses, so 25 points up for grabs. The highest submitted scores last week were by media law specialist David Banks and my old Northern Echo colleague Adam Batstone - both registering an impressive 17. A special mention to my friends from the Plough. After I publicly ticked them off for an average of 12 points over the last few weeks they raised their game with a collective 21 last week. There were six of them - but still not bad. Let me know how you get on. 

The Queen on the front of the Daily Telegraph (Q17)
1. She played the nanny in the Omen and Violet in the Krays. Who was she?
2. The Apprentice was won by Mark Wright for his digital marketing idea - what name did he give it?

Bonus: Nick Hewer quit The Apprentice after ten years. How old is he?
3. Cars were driven into pedestrians in Dijon and Nantes by drivers allegedly shouting Allahu Akbar. What is the English translation of the phrase?
Bonus: The French Prime Minister said there were no links between the attacks. Who is the French PM?
4. Singer Joe Cocker, who died this week, was born in which city?

Bonus: Cocker topped the UK charts in 1968 with which Beatles’ song?
5. The Beckham family, Ed Sheeran and David Walliams all attended an event in Windsor. What was it?
6. Burnley FC planned a minute's applause for former player Clarke Carlisle who is in hospital after being hit by a lorry. Name any other team he played for.
7. Where did former president George Bush (senior) spend Christmas?
8. In which Glasgow square were six people killed by a runaway bin lorry?
Bonus: What did thousands of people do at 9pm on Christmas Eve in memory of the victims?
9. Which high street company saw its shares slump by 25 per cent after it warned investors that annual profits will fall this year?
10. Footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic was upset at being second in the list of all-time sporting Swedes. Who was first?
11. According to a team of doctors at Harvard Medical School doing what in bed is likely to damage your sleeping and your health?
12. Sony Pictures' co-chairman Amy Pascal said she would like actor Idris Elba to play which role?
13. Islamic militants claimed to have shot down a fighter plane over Syria and captured the pilot. Which country did the plane belong to?
14. TV chef Lorraine Pascale is to become the Government's first what?
15. Police appealed to the public to return millions of banknotes taken after they were strewn over the road when a van carrying the cash crashed. Where?
16. The son of which singer was injured in a car crash in Shropshire?
17. In her Christmas Day speech the Queen said the only possible reaction to seeing something was to walk in silence. What was she referring to?
Bonus: Whose Christmas Day sermon was not delivered verbally but only released as a statement? 
18. Why was Antonio Martin in the headlines?
19. Which UK delivery company called in the administrators on Christmas Eve after 'years of substantial losses’?
20. What did no Premier League club do before Christmas for the first time since 1995/96?

Answers here 

Friday, 19 December 2014

Try your hand at this week's newsquiz

It has been a harrowing news week and finding lighter stories for the newsquiz has been a challenge. Anyway, here it is. Last week the top submitted scorer was an impressive 15 by Damon Wake @damonwake. See if you can do better this week. As usual there are 20 questions with five bonuses, so a possible 25 up for grabs. Let me know how you get on. Good luck … and remember, just because it’s Christmas, the news doesn’t stop. The newsquiz will be back on Boxing Day.

Slaughter in the classroom (Q1)
1. In which city in Pakistan were 149 people, including 132 children, massacred by the Taliban?
Bonus: Following the slaughter, Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif approved the reinstatement of what?
2. What is the name of the film about the assassination of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un that was pulled after threats by hackers?

Bonus: What was the name of the group of hackers?
3. What was the name of the Lindt cafe manager killed by hostage-taker Man Haron Monis?
Bonus: What was the occupation of the other victim, Katrina Dawson?
4. Lewis Hamilton beat Rory McIlrory to the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award … but who was third?

5. Libby Lane, the Church of England’s first female bishop, will be bishop of where?
6. America plans to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba. What year were the restrictions imposed?
7. Who was revealed as the only artist to sell more than one million albums in both the UK and the US in the last 12 months?
8. Teachers at a primary school in Abercyon asked parents to remove a video of their four-year-old daughter from Facebook. What was the girl doing in the video?
9. Police officers made an appeal for information related to the Dolphin Square Estate in Pimlico, London. What is alleged to have happened there?
10. What reason did Mel B’s husband Stephen Belafonte give for his wife not wearing her wedding ring at the X Factor final?
11. Why was Bradley Stone in the headlines?
12. Brad Pitt was turned down for what because he might have been 'a distraction'?
13. According to Robin Allan, chairman of Brindex, which industry is on the brink of collapse?
14. Liverpool and Chelsea will meet in one semi-fnial of the Capital One Cup … which two teams will play in the other? (Half point each)
15. Why have the Michael family been dropped from Channel 4 television programme Gogglebox?
Bonus: A Gogglebox special edition attracted 2.1 million viewers as a guest joined regulars Steph and Dom on the sofa. Who was the guest?
16. What, according to Labour leader Ed Miliband, was ‘not very well drafted’?
17. She famously replied 'he would, wouldn't he' when told Lord Astor had denied having an affair with her. Who is she?
18. Which company rejected a bid from its former chief executive Willie Walsh?
19. Awards honouring the achievements of servicemen and women were televised on Thursday. By what nickname are the awards known?
Bonus: Which newspaper organises the awards?
20. After a flurry of ‘unusual activity’, bookmakers Coral suspended bets on what happening on Christmas Day?

Answers here

Friday, 12 December 2014

Try your hand at this week's newsquiz

Here's this week's newsquiz. Last week the top submitted score was by Sophie Jamieson - a strong 16.5. Down the pub her family clocked up 21 ... which is very impressive. My pub colleagues rarely score higher than 14. There are 20 questions with five bonuses, so 25pts up for grabs. Let me know how you get on.

Torture has dominated the headlines (see Q1)
1. According to the Senate report on torture the CIA established a specialised detention centre, believed to be in Afghanistan, in April 2002. What was its name?
Bonus: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks, was subjected to a particular type of torture 183 times. What was it?
2. What was Tory MP Nigel Mills caught doing at a Commons works and pensions committee meeting?
3. Why was Natasha Bolter in the headlines?
4. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to raise money for what?
5. What did Jeanette Traverso say was ‘far below the threshold’ and ‘riddled with contradictions’
6. Chelsea FC lost their first game of the season at the weekend. Who scored the two goals that ended their record?

Bonus: Chelsea returned to winning ways midweek and won their Champions League group. Which team did they beat?
7. Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi received their Nobel Peace Prizes in which city?
8. Conservative peer Baroness Jenkin of Kennington apologised after saying what?
Bonus: Edinburgh Playhouse also apologised this week. What did it do?
9. What word has been used 92 million times on Twitter so far this year … a 500 per cent increase on 2013?
Bonus: Twitter also revealed the account that has the most followers, 61 million, worldwide. Who does the account belong to?
10. Who warned that the world may be returning to 'the dark ages of public executions' and urged people not to share gruesome films made by the Islamic State?
11. Who left hospital, after several days in intensive care, and declared: 'I'm well and recovered, and now I am preparing for the Olympics'?
12. What did Mary Portas, Sandi Toksvig and others do on Wednesday - as soon as it became legal? 
13. Which job, according to its departing incumbent, comes with only one instruction  … to carry it on 'as heretofore’?
14. Which club was suspended from all football with immediate effect?
15. According to the Health Survey for England, what percentage of men in England are now regularly taking prescription drugs?
16. Actor Ken Weatherwax, who was found dead in California at the age of 59, was best known for playing which TV character?
17. What was voted song of the year in the first BBC Music Awards?
Bonus: Who won British act of the Year?
18. Britons are living beyond their means more than at almost any point since the 1990s, according to the Government's fiscal watchdog OBR. What does OBR stand for?
19. Why was Ziad Abu Ein in the headlines?
20. Princess Charlene of Monaco gave birth to twins by caesarean section. What were they called? (Half point for each name)

Answers here

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Remembering Bob James

It is ten years ago this week that the newspaper industry lost Bob James. Bob was one of my journalism mentors - an inspiration who turned me on to typography. He was also the king-maker at Westminster Press and there can be no doubt that his influence helped me to land my first editorship. In 2006 he was posthumously selected by his peers as one of the top 40 people who had made a significant contribution to the regional Press in the last four decades. I know there are many other journalists who remember Bob with huge affection, so here is the article I wrote for the Press Gazette just after his death.

"To watch Bob James dilating on the characteristics of Bodoni, or explaining the ocular laws to an audience of aspiring sub-editors, has been one of life's particular pleasures. At such times his eyes sparkle just a little more brightly and his puckish smile glows a trifle more warmly, for he is a natural teacher with a real love of both typography and journalism.” Nicholas Herbert's retirement tribute to Bob James, who died at the age of 72 at his Sussex home on 8 December, will resonate with thousands of journalists who had the privilege to be taught by one of the newspaper world's truly great characters.
Bob will be remembered for many things. He was a journalist, a designer, a raconteur, a prolific gardening columnist (he was working on his final column the day before he died), an enthusiast for newspapers and one of the most likeable men you could ever wish to meet. But it is as a trainer and an authority on typography that he made his mark.
His knowledge of typefaces was legendary. Once, when working away with him, I was dispatched to buy two tubes of toothpaste. On my return Bob studied his tube and then handed it back saying: "I'm not using that."
"Why not?" I asked.
"Look at the way they have misused Optima," was his reply.
Others have similar memories. Mel Vasey, editor of the Wharfedale Observer, recalls that when Bob went for an eye test, he struggled to read the chart. "When he reached the bottom line he told the optician 'I can't read it, but I can tell you it is in Gill Sans Bold'." As anyone taught by Bob will know, Gill was chosen for its legibility rather than its readability.
Malcolm Starbrook, former editor of the Croydon Advertiser, remembers the James formula for casting off: column width multiplied by 12 multiplied by two and divided by point size, the result multiplied by 72 divided by the body size, and finally divide the whole thing by six ... and then deduct 10 per cent.
Starbrook recalls: "We were in a cafe and he was studying a bottle of HP sauce. 'Are you going to use that?' I asked. 'No,' he replied. 'I am just trying to work out how many lines of 7pt I can get on the label'."
It was all part of Bob's mischievous sense of humour. He always had a cherubic face, a cheery smile, and took such enjoyment in the world around him. His success as a trainer was not just that he had great knowledge but that he imparted it so generously and genuinely enjoyed the company of those he taught.
He would often begin a course with a stern warning: "While you are here never forget you are an ambassador for your newspaper. We have a huge amount of work to get through. So make sure you are on time first thing in the morning. And woe betide anyone who drinks at the bar until three in the morning ... without inviting me too." And he would always be there-organising card games, playing table tennis or singing the Lambton Worm, a ditty from his native north-east, to bemused southern colleagues.
Although he made Sussex his home, Bob never forgot his North-East roots. It was at The Northern Echo, where the rule was that all headlines must be in Bodoni, that his obsession with that typeface began. He would tell us: "A study of the typefaces of Giambattista Bodoni, the Parmesan printer, teaches us a lot about readability and legibility, and it is for this reason that I tend to talk quite a lot about Bodoni although I don't actually rate his typefaces for newspapers as their use is so limited."
Bob had a diverse journalistic career. While on National Service in the Royal Army Medical Corps, after training as a medical secretary, he became editor, advertisement manager, and sales rep of the Catterick Express (circulation 2,000) - "the Army's only newspaper".
He joined The Northern Echo in Darlington in 1949 and became sports editor of its sister paper the Evening Despatch . In the mid-1960s he headed south and worked at Harlow College, where he met his wife Sally, and with the NCTJ, before becoming group editorial development manager with Westminster Press in 1974.
It was a position he held until his semi-retirement in 1993.
Bob was also chairman of the judges for the British Press Awards, played a leading role in the Commonwealth Press Union and was co-author of The Compleat Sub-Editor and author of Newspaper Design Today .
There are few people you meet in a lifetime who leave a mark as deep as Bob James. I am hugely indebted to him. He was the king-maker who helped land me my first editorship and it was his vision that founded the training centre that I now run. But much more than that he just inspired me, like countless others, to be passionate about journalism. He leaves a huge hole ... but he also leaves a raft of journalists who understand that making newspapers can be a great joy.
Bob also leaves a widow, Sally, and two grown-up children, David and Eliza.

Since his death many eminent former pupils have paid tribute to Bob. Here is a selection: "Bob James was one of the great newspaper practitioners and thinkers of the post-war years. He could tell you with mathematical certainty which typefaces were best for a racing card, or a multi-column headline, or for a motorway services sign." - Allan Prosser 

"I have never met anyone who loved newspapers as much. He literally filled his house with them. Incredible." - Geoff Elliott

"When Bob taught sub-editing and headline writing, it was as it should be, a real craft, interlaced with wit, guile, art and humour. He imparted, brilliantly, the discipline of writing good headlines in the unforgiving medium of hot metal. And it is that very discipline that has served so many of Bob's 'graduates' so well over the years." - David Nicholson

"His passion for newspapers, and the fine detail of their design and content, was legendary. This passion was transmitted to the thousands of journalists who benefited from his training skills. He was also a very nice man and entertaining drinking partner, often deep into the small hours." - Mike Glover

 "Bob has forgotten more about newspaper design and the use of type than I could ever know. Now he can argue with Allen Hutt." - Ron Hunt

"I have shared in the fascination of typography but I could never reach the incredible knowledge Bob had." - Chris Cowley

"He was an old-fashioned man who embraced new technology eagerly. I shall always remember his expertise as a journalist who, like a few of us, turned to design consultancy and teaching." - Michael Crozier

 "I'll remember Bob sharing his love of clean design, great headlines, tight subbing, well-cropped pictures and suitable type dress. I can picture him now, em rule in hand, enthusing a room full of young hacks: his eyes twinkling, that beguiling northern lilt to his voice. We were Bob's apprentices. He was the master." - Paul Deal

There was also a piece on Bob on Hold The Front Page

Friday, 5 December 2014

Time for the newsquiz ...

Been keeping up with the news this week? Then why not test yourself with the newsquiz. Last week quiz-demon Lydia Willgress, who won the Champagne as overall MailOnline quiz winner on the training course I ran in October, submitted the top score with a very impressive 18. I reckon this week 15 out of 25 will be a good score. Let me know how you get on.

George Osborne's Autumn Statement as reported by The Guardian (Question 1)

1. In the Autumn Statement Chancellor George Osborne raised the Personal Tax Allowance to how much?
Bonus: What will be scrapped for under 12s next year and under 16s the year after?
2. Jeremy Thorpe, former leader of the Liberal Party, died this week after battling which disease for three decades?
Bonus: Thorpe resigned as Liberal leader in 1976. Jo Grimond briefly took control of the party as acting leader but who succeeded him?
3. Speaking in an HIV campaign video Prince Harry revealed one of his biggest fears. What did he say made him ‘ridiculously’ nervous? 
4. Which father and son walked away practically unhurt when their Audi A6 was in a collision in Hertfordshire? (half point for each name)
5. The new James Bond movie was announced this week … what is it to be called?
Bonus: Which role will Ralph Fiennes play in the film?
6. Paedophile paediatrician Myles Bradbury was jailed for 22 years for the sexual abuse of boy patients. At which hospital was he working?
7. Gordon Brown announced his retirement from Parliament this week after serving how many years as an MP? 
Bonus: He was the longest serving Chancellor of the Exchequer since William Gladstone. For how many years did Brown hold the position?
8. Why was Stephanie Roche in the headlines? 
9. Chief executive Mark Fox implied it was unlikely his company would pay normal tax in Britain for the next three years. Which company?
10. A survey revealed that, despite a Government pledge that bins would be emptied once a week, households on average have their rubbish cleared how often?
11. The owner of which football club was asked to resign after he was found to have breached the Football League’s  ‘fit and proper’ ownership test? 
12. Madonna hit the headlines by posing topless in a magazine. How old is Madonna?
13. What, according to Stephen Hawking, could spell the end of the human race?
Bonus: What do scientists, including Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox, believe could wipe out the human race?
14. Former policeman James Glanville said ‘he would do it all again’ even though he got the sack for it. What did he do?
15. Why did 50-year-old George Prior, from Los Angeles, put on two stones in a month?
16. What were the last words of 43-year-old Eric Garner?
17. Footballer Jimmy Bullard was the first camp-mate to be voted off I’m a Celebrity. Bullard played Premier League football for Hull City and two other teams. Name them (half point each)
18. The Court of Appeal ruled that a brain-damaged seven-year-old girl was not entitled to compensation because her mother’s ‘reckless’ behaviour was not a criminal offence. What did the mother do that was reckless but not criminal?
19. Why was Father Dennis Higgins branded ‘mean’ after his sermon at St Thomas More Catholic School in Buxton, Derbyshire?
20. Who was awarded the Plain English campaign’s annual Foot in Mouth award for talking gobbledygook?

Answers here