Saturday, 19 May 2018

A big surprise at the Regional Press Awards


All the winners at the Regional Press Awards yesterday

I had a lovely day at the Regional Press Awards in London yesterday. It is always one of the highlights of the year, recognising the excellent work still being carried out by regional journalists and an opportunity to catch up with (increasingly) old friends. Well done to all the winners and nominees, particularly the Manchester Evening News


The paper had a remarkable year, a lot of it born out of the tragic events at the Manchester Arena. It won seven awards, including Campaign of the Year for We Stand Together. You can see all the winners here. Well done too to the Society of Editors for organising it all and to Nick Ferrari, as funny a host as ever. 

It was particularly special for me as I was in for a surprise. I was in France this week and my wife, Pam, told me she had messed up the return flights and we were heading back a day early. And as we were back in time we could go to the Press Awards, she said. Good idea. 

The Likely Lads - two former editors of The Northern Echo, me and Peter Barron
We caught up with old Northern Echo colleagues Peter Barron and Colin Tapping on the stunning roof terrace at the IET in Savoy Place. During the awards lunch I began making notes on the winners. The first award was the Journalists' Charity Award which 'recognises an individual or body that has made an outstanding contribution to journalism and journalists'. Half way through the words of praise by charity chairman Jill Palmer I realised who she was talking about ... it was me. I was very flattered and somewhat astonished. The early return flight was a stitch up so that I could attend, contrived by Pam and Sue Ryan. Thanks to them both and to Cision, the award's sponsors. Afterwards I had a drink in the Wellington on The Strand with old friends and colleagues, including Tony Watson, Pete Clifton, Paul Horrocks, Neil Hodgkinson and Noel Doran. The Regional Press Awards is always a special day out ... but thanks to everyone involved for making yesterday just that little bit more special for me. Really appreciated. 

Pam and me with John Stapleton and Lynn Faulds Wood. I was celebrating the award, he was celebrating Manchester City's remarkable season




Friday, 18 May 2018

Try your hand at this week's newsquiz

The top scorer in last week's newsquiz was Jamie Johnson with 18, a personal best. Other good scores were Toby Brown and Janet Boyle both with 16.5. I am at the Regional Press Awards today, so this week's quiz is published slightly earlier than usual. Give it a go and let me know how you get on. 


The Royal wedding dominates today's front pages (Questions 1-3)

1. What will Doria Ragland’s role be at the Royal Wedding?
2. Meghan Markle will have ten bridesmaids and pageboys who are all under what age?

3. Meghan Markle's bouquet will include which flower, just like all royal brides’ bouquets have done for the last 173 years? 
4. According to Gaza’s health ministry how many protesters against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem were killed by Israeli forces?
5. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told Theresa May that it is 'an absolute ___ ___ ' that there is no hard Irish border after Brexit. What are the two missing words?

6. Former Labour cabinet minister Tessa Jowell, who died age 70, said her proudest achievement was a programme which led to the creation of 3,500 children’s centres. What is the programme called?
7. Virgin Trains and Stagecoach are to be stripped of their franchise to run the east coast rail service. What is the name of the new company that will operate services from London to Edinburgh?
8. Andrew Parker, director general of MI5, revealed that how many terror plots had been thwarted in the UK since the Westminster Bridge atrocity in March last year?
9. Khamzat Asimov, 20, who stabbed one man to death and injured four others in Paris was a refugee from which country?
10. In which country did a family, including an eight-year-old child, carry out a bomb attack on a police headquarters, a day after another family killed 13 people in suicide bombings?
11. The failure to recommend what led Labour MP David Lammy to call the review by Dame Judith Hackitt into the Grenfell Tower fire 'a betrayal and a whitewash’?
12. He is thought to have killed at least 15 men, most of them strangled by a tie, and hidden their bodies under floorboards at his London homes. Who is he?
13. The deputy governor of the Bank of England Ben Broadbent was accused of using sexist language after saying the economy was entering what phase?
14. Actress Margot Kidder, who died aged 69, became famous for playing which fictional journalist in four films?
15. Why was the Bollinger Everyman Prize for Comic Fiction not awarded for the first time since it was introduced in 2000.

16. The father of two brothers killed in a hit-and-run in Coventry was found dead in a hotel room on which island?
17. England World Cup winner Ray Wilson, who died at 83, left football in the early 70s to set up what business?
18. Ben Fogle reached the summit of Mount Everest in a project to raise funds for which charity?
19. Which country won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest?
20. Trent Alexander-Arnold became only the eighth teenager in history to be included in what?
21. The changing tastes of millennials have been blamed for the demise of which brand, which was founded in 1965 and once attracted about 100,000 guests a year?
22. What won the best Drama Series at the Baftas?
23. Manchester City broke 11 Premier League records this season including the most number of points. How many did they get?
24. Academics from Skidmore College in New York said that adding what to a piece of text may ‘make it easier for the reader instinctively to separate units of meaning’?
25. University of Glasgow researchers advised that doing what at 10pm each night could help fend off depression?
Answers here

Friday, 11 May 2018

Test your news knowledge with this week's quiz

The top scorer in last week’s newsquiz was Toby Brown with 19. The top team was Dominic Hurst, Joe Williams, David Kohn and Phil Parsons with 18. Janet Boyle was also up there with 17. Here’s this week’s quiz - as usual 25 questions about the week. Let me know how you get on.

Today's front pages
1. Donald Trump told reporters: 'I would advise Iran not to start their nuclear programme. I would advise them very strongly. If they do there will be very ____ ____’. What are the two missing words?
2. Iran and Israel edged closer to all-out war after Israel’s military said its positions in which region were fired at with a barrage of Iranian rockets?
3. Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei said that Donald Trump would become the food for which two creatures? Half a point for each
4. US President Donald Trump tweeted that he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 in which country?
5. The House of Lords voted to keep the UK in the single market after how many peers defied the Labour whip?
6. The Resolution Foundation recommended that every person in Britain should receive how much money when they turn 25?
7. The Government is considering banning what product which, according to Water UK, makes up 93 per cent of the material causing sewer blockages?
8. John Grogan was the only Labour MP to vote against what?
9. Who reportedly asked: 'How did Doncaster get on?’
10. The Met Office said temperatures reached 28.7C in London on Monday, making it the highest since the early May bank holiday was introduced. In what year did the May Day holiday start?
11. Which two football teams were automatically promoted to the Premier League. Half a point for each?
12. Who told viewers: 'I am going to be away for a couple of weeks or so. I’m having a small hospital operation and I will be back as soon as I possibly can, so be kind please to whoever is sitting in this chair next week’?
13. What was banned from the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival after organisers described them as ‘grotesque’ and said they wanted to restore a bit of decency?
14. A 14-hour stand-off between a gunman and armed police took place in Paradise Square in which city?
15. Safaa Boular, 18, appeared at the Old Bailey accused of plotting a gun and grenade ambush on which building? 
16. Which company is recalling more than 300,000 cars in the UK because of an electrical fault that has caused some vehicles to cut out?
17. William and Shelby Thurston were found guilty of manslaughter after a seven-year-old girl died after playing on what?
18. Scientist Dr David Goodall travelled to Switzerland to take his own life at a suicide clinic. How old was he?
19. Why was Scott Mitchell in the headlines?
20. Zanele Ndlovu married five days after what had happened to her?
21. American lifestyle magazine Town & Country apologised to who after she was 'disinvited' to a social change event?
22. What is the name of Melania Trump’s campaign to keep children happy and healthy?
23. Seven million viewers tuned into Coronation Street to watch the aftermath of which character's suicide?
24. SuRie will represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon on Saturday. What is the name of her song?
25. What did world snooker champion Mark Williams wear for his victory press conference?

Answers here

Friday, 4 May 2018

Give this week's newsquiz a crack ...

There were some cracking scores in last week's newsquiz. Courtney Bartlett was the top solo scorer with 20 points, the same score as the best team, the Penman Partnership. Will Cole and Liz Gerard both scored 19 - a winning total any other week - and Toby Brown and Janet Boyle clocked up 18. There is a special mention for Enid Shelmerdine whose 17 was a Personal Best. Here's this week's quiz. As usual there are 25 questions about the week. Give it a go and let me know how you get on. 


Amber Rudd's resignation late on Sunday led to quick front page changes (Question 1)
1. Sajid Javid succeeded Amber Rudd as Home Secretary. What was his previous Cabinet position?
2. Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View, Johnny Mercer, said Labour winning control of Plymouth City Council in the local elections was because of the Government's handling of what?
3. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt blamed a computer glitch for 450,000 patients between which two ages not receiving letters inviting them for a final mammogram?
4. How many Tory MPs sent Prime Minister Theresa May a 30-page report warning that her Government will ‘collapse' if she does not abandon plans for a post-Brexit customs partnership with the EU?
5. The chief executive of TSB, Paul Pester, told the Treasury Select Committee: 'If there is one decision in my life that I could change it was the decision to go ahead with the ____.’ What is the missing word?
6. MPs voted by 316 votes to 221 against an opposition motion calling on the Government to disclose what?
7. The chief executive of Sainsbury's, Mike Coupe, apologised after being caught on camera singing which song as he was waiting to be interviewed for ITV News?
8. What is the name of the Barrow MP who has been suspended by the Labour Party after claims he sent inappropriate messages to a former female member of staff?
9. Michael Martin, who died on Sunday at the age of 72, held which role from 2000 to 2009?
10. What role was announced for father and son Storm and Tyrone?
11. What is now the minimum price of a unit of alcohol in Scotland?
12. Rapper Kanye West, in an interview with TMZ, said: 'When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a ____.’ What is the missing word?
13. Liverpool became the first English team to reach the Champions League final for six years by beating Roma. What was the aggregate score?
14. The Australian prime minister’s wife Lucy Turnbull was 'flattered and charmed' to be described by French president Emmanuel Macron as what?
15. Mount Kilauea erupted prompting a state of emergency and the evacuation of 1,700 residents? Where is it?
16. What company, founded in 1894 and based in Nashville, which included B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Duane Allman and Slash among its customers, announced it was filing for bankruptcy?
17. Angus Sinclair said that his former boss had undermined him in front of staff, smashed a mobile phone over his desk and was prone to 'over-the-top anger’. Who was he talking about?
18. YouTube stars are being paid to promote cheating for students by encouraging them to buy essays on which website?
19. Whose family asked people to take down tributes outside two homes, in Oxfordshire and Highgate, by May 27?
20. What has been waived for one-day only on May 19?
21. The winner of what award will not be announced this year - only the seventh time in its 117-year history that it hasn’t been made - following sexual assault allegations?
22. Why did Ken Bruce start his BBC 2 radio show one hour early on Thursday?
23. Why was Dr Harold Bornstein in the headlines?
24. Which cartoon character, regarded as ‘politically incorrect’, was apparently targeted by online censors in China?
25. A pub called The Princess Royal near Turf Moor in Burnley is to be renamed what?

Answers here

Friday, 27 April 2018

Time to tackle the newsquiz

The top solo score in last week's quiz was Janet Boyle with an impressive 18 and the top team was Adam Batstone and Lucy Thorpe with 17. Here is this week's quiz. As usual there are 25 questions about the week's events. Give it a go and let me know how you get on. 

Royal baby crazy: Tuesday's front pages (Questions 1 and 2)

1. What three names were given to the baby boy born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge?
2. The new royal baby will be what number in the line to the throne?
3. Speaking to journalists at a lunch Home Secretary Amber Rudd said 'I don't feel I have been used in that way’ when asked if she was what?
4. Who chaired the Home Affairs Select Committee which accused Theresa May of repeatedly ignoring warnings about the 'damage her obsession with her net migration target was doing’?
5. The White House announced that President Donald Trump is to visit the UK on which date?
6. Who accused rebel MPs of 'working overtime trying to present the Labour Party as a morass of misogyny, anti-Semitism and bullying’?
7. The father of Alfie Evans, the baby at a centre of a legal battle in Liverpool, said of his son surviving after being taken off life support: 'Some people say it’s a miracle. It’s not a miracle; it’s a _____.’ What is the missing word?
8. Kim Jong-un made history as he became the first North Korean leader to cross the 38th parallel since the Korean War ended how many years ago?
9. How many people were killed when a van driver drove at 70mph along a pavement in Toronto?
10. The van driver who killed pedestrians in Toronto had posted on Facebook saying he was joining the 'Incel Rebellion’. What is Incel short for?
11. Chief executive Paul Pester said his company is 'on our knees’. Which company is he in charge of?
12. He often said he could drink his own weight in booze, was briefly married to a six-foot two model and his screen roles included Griphook. Who is he?
13. Prime Minister Theresa May announced that a national commemoration of whom is to take place on April 22 each year?
14. Why was 53-year-old Sean Cox in the news?
15. Why will Jackson Carlaw be taking over as temporary leader of the Scottish Conservatives?
16. French president Emmanuel Macron alluded to the fact his relationship with Donald Trump reminded him of that of Benjamin Franklin and which Frenchmen who 'embraced each other by hugging one another and kissing each other's cheeks'?
17. What did Everton captain Phil Jagielka carry on to the pitch before the match against Newcastle on Monday evening?
18. More than £100,000 was raised for the charity that 
MasterChef contestant Matt Campbell was raising money for when he died during the London Marathon. What is the charity called?
19. A bronze casting by artist Gillian Wearing became the first statue of a woman in Parliament Square. Who is depicted in the statue?
20. The Football Association announced it has received an offer to buy Wembley stadium from Shahid Khan, who is the owner of which British football club?
21. The body of the Swedish DJ Avicii was found at a hotel in which country?
22. Who called a prosecutor an asshole in court after he had asked the judge not to grant bail?
23. Who announced he was suing Facebook for running fake adverts using his name?
24. Kanye West tweeted: 'You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both _____ energy. He is my brother.’ What is the missing word?
25. Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said what was being removed from exam rooms as they were a ‘cause of unnecessary stress’?

Answers here


Friday, 20 April 2018

Can you handle the heat of the newsquiz?

Last week's newsquiz was seen as a tough one by most online players. That didn't stop Liz Gerard scoring a very healthy 19 though. The top team, led by Heather Clifton, scored 17. Here's this week's quiz. As usual 25 questions about the week's events. Give it a go and let me know how you get on.


1. Former head of the civil service Lord Kerslake called for an investigation into who authorised the destruction of thousands of what?
2. Theresa May apologised to the Windrush immigrants threatened with deportation. Why are they called Windrush immigrants?
3. According to senior EU diplomatic sources what was subjected to a 'systematic and forensic annihilation' this week?
4. The Pentagon said that US-led coalition unleashed how many cruise missiles on three Syrian chemical weapons centres?
5. In a special House of Commons debate which Labour MP said she had been told: 'Hang yourself you vile treacherous Zionist Tory filth'?
6. Former FBI director James Comey said of US president Donald Trump: 'I don't think he's medically unfit to be President. I think he's ____ unfit to be President.' What is the missing word?
7. Prime Minister Theresa May, in a continuing purge on plastics, said she had put forward ambitious plans to further reduce waste from plastic straws, stirrers and what other item?
8. The Queen opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace after which singer sang the National Anthem?
9. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner is investigating Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's failure to declare his stake in a firm which bought seven luxury flats in which town?
10. Arsène Wenger announced he is leaving Arsenal, ending his reign as the Premier League’s longest-serving manager. What year did he join the club?
11. Why was Tammie Jo Shults in the headlines?
12. Her maiden name was Pierce, her codename was Tranquility and her family called her The Enforcer. Who was she?
13. How much was television presenter Ant McPartlin fined at Wimbledon Magistrates Court after admitting drink-driving?
14. Which football team, that carries the slogan The Club That Wouldn’t Die, celebrated promotion and the highest position in its history?
15. Dale Winton, who died aged 62, was mainly known as a television and radio presenter but he also played a game show host in which film in the 90s?
16. The pound fell against the euro and dollar on Thursday after the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, indicated that what might not happen in May?
17. What is the name of the BBC reporter who, when asked if he wanted to make a personal apology to Sir Cliff Richard, told the High Court he was sorry the star 'went through such a difficult time’?
18. King Mswati III of Swaziland announced that he was renaming the country and it is now called the Kingdom of what?
19. Which company has shut down all its social media - Twitter, Facebook and Instagram - because it had 'become a waste of time’?
20. Australia topped the Commonwealth Games with 198 medals, England were second with 136 and which country came third with 66?
21. Who announced that his wife Natasha Shishmanian is expecting twins?
22. What was the name of the Queen's 14-year-old corgi who was put to sleep this week?
23. How did Helen Housby achieve glory?
24
Temperatures soared to 84.4F (29.1C) in St James’s Park, London, on Thursday making it officially the hottest UK April day since what year?
25. Asda apologised to Nottingham shopper Bobbie Gordon after charging her £930.11 for what?

Answers here

Friday, 13 April 2018

Here's this week's newsquiz ...

The top scorer in last week's newsquiz was Janet Boyle with 18. Liz Gerard scored 17, as did the Penmans, aided by daughter Daisy back from uni for Easter. Here's this week's quiz. As usual, there are 25 questions about the week's events. Let me know how you get on. 

Getting ready for war: Syria dominates the front pages (questions 1-3)

1. A toxic gas attack on which Syrian city killed around 75 people?
2. Donald Trump tweeted a warning to Russia saying: 'You shouldn’t be partners with a ___ ___ ___ who kills his people and enjoys it!’ What are the three missing words?
3. Who said: 'We have proof that last week chemical weapons, at least chlorine, were used by the regime of Bashar al-Assad’? 
4. The Russian Embassy in the UK said the secret resettlement of poison victims Sergei and Yulia Skripal would be seen as what?
5. At the US Senate Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was asked by Senator Orinn Hatch: 'So, how do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?’ How did Zuckerberg respond?
6. Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner was recorded using what word to express doubts over Labour's pledge to ensure that the UK will have the same benefits post-Brexit that it has in the single market?
7. The BBC came under fire over plans to air a full recitation of a speech given 50 years ago by which politician?
8. Why was South Park Crescent in the headlines?
9. Online retailer Shop Direct announced it is to close three warehouses in Manchester, putting nearly 2,000 jobs at risk. Name one of its brands.
10. Thomas Chipperfield lost his appeal against a Defra ruling which means he is no longer allowed to continue his job as what?
11. What connects 12-year-old Manchester Arena bombing victim Amelia Thompson, former soldier Philip Gillespie and Rosie Ginday, the founder of Miss Macaroon?
12. Andrew Burke, who was sentenced to a minimum 26 years for killing his ex-girlfriend in a Tui travel agent in Southport, boasted about the tattoo on his hands. What did the tattoo say?
13. Police investigated car parking company Absolutely Secure after it was accused of dumping holidaymakers' cars in muddy fields at which airport?
14. Hundreds of people staged a protest outside which hospital after judges set a date for terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans's life support to be withdrawn?
15. After a South London inquest recorded that six-year-old Ellie Butler was unlawfully killed, her grandfather said: 'I believe the agencies involved with Ellie’s care have ___ ___ ___ ___’. What are the missing four words?
16. Welsh table tennis prodigy Anna Hursey took 17 minutes to record her first victory in the Commonwealth Games singles competition. How old is she?
17. How was 67-year-old art dealer Todd Brassner killed?
18. Organisers of the Olivier Awards apologised for omitting who from a tribute segment shown during the ceremony?
19. Englishman Michael Oliver was accused by the Italian Press of 'the robbery of the century'. What did he do?
20. Iceland is to be the first major UK supermarket to ban which ingredient in its own-brand products?
21. Who is seeking damages for lost earnings from his autobiography My Life, My Way which he claimed was 'no longer viable’?
22. Bandmates paid tribute to 'our dear friend and brother’ Tim Matley who died age 36. What is the name of the band?
23. What is the name of the lingerie brand set up by Conservative peer Michelle Mone which announced it will cease trading in the UK?
24. The controversial name of a street in Rowley Regis in the West Midlands will not be changed after an online petition was supported by 4,800 people. What is the street called?
25. UK consumers will next week be able to buy a new KitKat, with 'naturally coloured’ chocolate made from cocoa beans grown in the Ivory Coast, Ecuador and Brazil. What colour will it be?

Answers here

Friday, 6 April 2018

Splendid tabloid look for the Inverness Courier

The new Inverness Courier
The old broadsheet Courier
Congratulations to the team at Scottish Provincial Press who this week saw the relaunch of three of their titles - The Inverness Courier, Northern Scot and Ross-shire Journal - as tabloids. The Courier has also launched a new lifestyle magazine Seven Days, which looks stunning. 
The cover of the new lifestyle magazine
Next month the group’s other broadsheets, the Northern Times, Caithness Courier and John O’Groat Journal will also change size while the existing tabloids will switch to a new design. My colleague Mike Brough and I thoroughly enjoyed working with the SPP team. It was a mammoth task executed brilliantly by John Davidson and Amanda Patterson. Editorial director David Bourn is rightly proud of the results. We have managed to keep the essence of these wonderful newspapers while presenting them in a vibrant new format which will please existing readers, tempt lapsed readers back into the fold and, hopefully, attract some new ones,  he said. They all deserve a large one at the excellent Malt Room tonight. Mike and I wish we were there to raise a glass with them.