“THE next time one of the editors here glances impatiently at his watch and asks how long it’ll be before I finish that 2,000-word article, as the deadline is half-an-hour away, I’ll take the Paxman approach of honesty.”
So writes Russell Leadbetter, in The Herald, as he considers an interview in the Radio Times with the presenter of the BBC current affairs show, Newsnight, Jeremy Paxman, who is quoted admitting that some days are simply quiet for news.
* * *
AS one wag put it: “If only Johnston Press employed more sub-editors.”
It was in response to a memo to staff from the company’s chief executive, Ashley Highfield, containing the line: “Our targets for the year of increasing profit, growing audiences and getting the banks off our banks are achievable…”
Unless, of course, it wasn’t a ‘slip of the keyboard’…
* * *
THANKS to the Unspun column in The Herald for this nugget: “There has been much debate over whether an independent Scotland could negotiate membership of the EU within the SNP’s proposed 18-month timescale. When sceptics raise eyebrows, the Nats invariably quote Cambridge professor, James Crawford, who reckons the period is ‘realistic’.
“The academic’s views were elicited by James Naughtie during a Today programme interview last year. So Alex Salmond was full of praise for both men when the issue cropped up during a public chat with Mr Naughtie on Thursday as part of the International Network of Street Papers/ Fraser of Allander lecture series in association with The Herald. ‘He’s a wise man and you are an excellent interviewer,’ the First Minister told the BBC man.”
* * *
AND thanks too to the Drumlanrig column, in Scotland on Sunday, for this: “The SNP’s affable but often-casually attired press chief Ross Ingebrigsten may have to smarten up his act when he moves to his new job as a special adviser in the Scottish Government. The spin doctor can usually be found stalking Holyrood’s press corridor in jeans and trainers, but reluctantly admitted he ‘may have to get a suit’ when he takes on his new role at St Andrew’s House.”
* * *
A ‘HAGGIS feature‘ on Glasgow news website, westendreport.com – run by freelance, Ginny Clark – includes Ruth Allen recalling her time as a junior reporter on The Kilmarnock Standard newspaper, when TV cook and writer, Fanny Cradock, arrived in the town to give a Gas Board cookery demo.
“I was to interview Fanny before the show but as I waited to meet the great lady, I heard her screaming at her charming personal assistant that she wasn’t going to speak to any ‘f****** junior reporter from a two-bit weekly newspaper’. So, no interview, then.
“But I still managed to make the front page because Fanny told the audience she’d recently suffered a nervous breakdown but had cured herself by going on a diet which consisted entirely of haggis.”
Ruth also passed on this tale – and remarkable diet tip – to Deedee Cuddihy, who included it in anthology How to Murder a Haggis (2007).
* * *
AND again thanks, this time to The Herald’s Bottom Line column, for this: “Scott Taylor, chief executive of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, has enjoyed his fair share of success in attracting major events to the city.
“But, as he noted during a presentation to a Glasgow-based business this week, it is also no stranger to defeat.
“Mr Taylor explained that bids sometimes lose out to cities such as Manchester and Birmingham as their rivals have bigger populations. In other cases, Glasgow is rejected because it is so far away from where the delegates live.
“Sometimes, however, the explanation is more obtuse.
“‘We lost World Poultry to China,’ a rueful Mr Taylor reflected, adding: ‘Yes, there was foul play!’.”
* * *
THREE showbiz stars, each in court, facing sexual offences charges, all on the same day. But switching TV channels was to provide no relief. From the BBC News at six o’clock and its reporting of ‘victims’ to the STV News (its Edinburgh edition), also at six, to be met by its report of a Holyrood committee saying that Scotland needs a national strategy for tackling child sexual exploitation. Which meant that, as one reporter was saying ‘victims’ on the BBC, another was also saying ‘victims’ a nano-second later on STV.
* * *
ANYTHING tickling your fancy? Email here in the strictest confidence.