Friday, 30 September 2011

Headline and picture of the week

Here are my contenders for headline and picture of the week from the regional papers. It's not every day that you can get bouncy castle into a sans caps front page headline ... but the Daily Post in North Wales managed it. It certainly builds a vivid picture. I love the subhead too - don't you just want to know what is so serious about an breaking an 'inflatables ban' that forces someone to flee to South Africa? Thanks to the Daily Mail's Peter Campbell for sending me a copy.
Meanwhile the Hull Daily Mail made the most of a huge firing squad shot by using it as a very powerful wraparound. It shows 700 workers threatened with redundancy at BAE’s factory in Brough.  Deputy editor Paul Hartley says: "It brings into focus the human face of these job cuts.  It’s also a brilliant example of how a good photo can be worth a thousand words."
"The idea for the photo came from Sports Editor Paul Baxter and Assistant News editor Natalie Murphy. We then enlisted the help of the shop stewards to rally the workers by email, text and word of mouth for the photo call. Picture Editor Jim Mitchell took the pic from the  top of a ladder leaning against a lamppost.  It was our exclusive."
Good headline too. Excellent execution - and a further example of how creative and effective regional papers can be.

Please send me your contenders for best headline/picture/intro and I will post the best here.

Mail trainee Larisa gets splash in second week

Congratulations to trainee Larisa Brown on her first national newspaper splash today. Larisa, a graduate of the Press Association foundation course, spent the summer working as a journalist in Kenya before joining the Daily Mail training scheme earlier this month. It's only her second week on the Mail. Impressive stuff.

Friday, 23 September 2011

This week's news quiz - let's hear it for the girls

Howden has been buzzing this week with three separate courses running at the Manor. Press Association Training is entertaining a group of international journalists for the next 13 weeks. At the same time the Daily Mail subbing diploma began, with eight wannabe sub-editors spending five weeks learning how to sub, write headlines and draw pages to national newspaper standards. The Daily Telegraph also has seven trainees on a seven-week course. It means that there are 27 students in the Manor as well as a steady stream of trainers and speakers, including Linda Christmas, David Banks, Paul Jones, Mike Watson, Tony Johnston and the Telegraph's Richard Preston. Over the next few weeks there will be sessions my many other big-hitters including guest speakers from the Mail and Telegraph.
As usual we finished with the newsquiz to ensure all are reading the papers properly. This week's joint winners are the Mail's Lottie Young and the Telegraph's Jennifer O'Mahony with 11.5pts out of 21. They narrowly beat the Mail's Kirsty McEwen and the Telegraph's Jess Winch who both got 11. No men in the top four! See how you do - although I will be astonished if you can answer question 20. 

1. Why is it the end of the world as they know it for Michael Stipe and Pete Buck?
2. The Liberal Democrat party conference was held in Birmingham this week. Next week it's the turn of the Labour Party - but in which city will its conference be held?
3. Nick Clegg sported a sombre grey suit for his speech but his wife wore a bright yellow Topshop dress. What is his wife's full name? (three names needed for 1pt, 2 names gain half a point)
4. Why were Lesley Norris and Bruce Scott in the headlines?
5. Kate Winslett gave a gushing speech at the Emmys after she won the leading actress award. But who won best supporting actress?
6. Where was a cage fight between two boys held? For a bonus point, the Culture Secretary described it as very barbaric. Who is the Culture Secretary? (1pt for each answer)
7.  Troy Davies was executed in which US state?
8.  Why was Vincent Cooke in the headlines?
9. Former newspaper tycoon Eddy Shah was arrested over under-age sex allegations.  Which national newspaper did he launch?
10.  Johnny Vegas has recreated a famous Demi Moore pose - in which magazine did the original photograph appear?
11.  Which football club closed its doors to men and had women and children only in attendance?
12.  Geri Helliwell graced the pages wearing what looked like a wedding dress. She was attending a gala event for which charitable foundation?
13. Conjoined twins Rital and Ritag Gaboura were successfully separated by surgeons at which hospital?
14. The unfinished portrait, called Portrait of the Hound 2011, is to go on public display next spring? Who is the artist?
15. The FTSE 100 plunged by 4.7pc on Thursday, the biggest drop in 30 months. What does FTSE stand for?
16. Diplomats walked out of the UN General Assembly during a speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is president of which country?
17. Which newspaper carries the slogan The World's Greatest Newspaper on its front page?
18. Simon Day died of a heroin overdose an inquest heard. Who was his grandfather?
19. The mayor of which city has rejected an electric car in favour of a Jaguar?
20. What is the name of the hairdresser's salon on the corner in Howden, the last shop before the entrance to the Manor?

How did you do? Check the answers here.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Nice to see a contents bill ...

... that uses the apostrophe correctly. Thanks to @andydrinks for sending this. It must grieve him as much as it does me. 

Friday, 16 September 2011

Rosie wins the Mail news quiz

The Daily Mail trainees have finished their two weeks at Derry Street and are now off to placements at the Standard, the Mail in Scotland, Liverpool Echo, Yorkshire Post and Manchester Evening News. This week they had fascinating practical sessions on investigative and foreign reporting by chief reporter David Williams and Christian Gysin, an interesting insight into the celebrity world from Katie Nicholl, a do's and don'ts talk from sub Jayme Bryla and a glimpse of what their first year is likely to hold by one of last year's trainees, Peter Campbell. There was a good night with trainees old and new in the Builders Arms last night. Today we finished again with a quiz of the week (just to get them into the habit of the reading the paper's properly). Congratulations again to Rosie Taylor who got 13.5 points out of 22, once again narrowly beating Adam Shergold, to collect the scratch card and a bottle of wine. Try your hand and see if you can beat Rosie's total. 

Mail trainees with quiz winner Rosie Taylor (with the wine)

There are a possible 22 points this week as questions 4 and 13 have two points each.

1.  Who won Celebrity Big Brother?

2.  A controversial book has claimed that Sarah Palin had an affair and used cocaine. What is the name of the book?

3.  Unison has named which date as a day of action?

4.  The new Westfield shopping complex has been given its own postcode, what is it? And for a bonus where has the code been previously used?

5.  Who has been named as the new captain in England's Twenty20 games?

6.  Sophie Dahl launched an appeal to raise money to renovate her Grandfather's shed where he wrote many of his famous novels.  How old would he have been this week?

7.  David Tebbutt was murdered on holiday in a paradise location on Kenya.  He was a finance director for which company?

8.  Who did Bernard Hogan-Howe replace this week as Metropolitan Police Commissioner?

9. Where is the Greenacres travellers site that police believe men were held as slaves?

10.  According to official figures what is the current number of unemployed in the UK?

11. According to research by Roehampton University what should you do if you want to be happier, healthier and slimmer?

12. Why was Katherine Goldberg in the headlines?

13. Two Tory peers were released from prison this week after serving only a quarter of their sentences for expenses fraud. Name them. (One point for each).

14. Journalist Adam Macqueen has a book published this month celebrating 50 years of which publication?

15. What is the name of the Swansea Valley colliery where four miners are trapped?

16. Kweku Adoboli is accused of losing £1.3bn while rogue trading. Which Swiss bank was he working for?

17. Helle Thorning-Schmidt became Denmark's first female MP. Who is her father-in-law?

18. The film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy opened in UK cinemas this week. Who plays the role of spy George Smiley?

19. Political leadership in Washington and Western Europe has suffered "paralysis" in the face of the financial crisis,  Kenneth Clarke said this week. What is Clarke's Cabinet position?

20. Now that the News of the World has gone, which is Britain's biggest selling Sunday newspaper?

How did you do? The answers are here

Friday, 9 September 2011

Test your news knowledge in this week's quiz

I spent this week in the company of bright trainee journalists on the Mail diploma at Northcliffe House in Kensington. It's been a good week - writing stories, looking at the papers in detail and we have had a stream of doyens including columnist Quentin Letts, head of news Neil Darbyshire, city editor Alex Brummer and managing editor Alex Bannister offering advice. At the same time the Daily Telegraph diploma is being held in Howden, East Yorkshire, and I will be joining them next month. The Mail sub-editing course starts in Howden on September 19, so I will be up there for that too. I have been involved in these courses, run by Press Association Training for eight years. As some of you may remember, at the end of each week we run a newsquiz. I will be posting the questions here each week. It's a bit of fun but the serious side is to ensure the trainees get into the habit of reading the newspapers in detail, rather than just as scanning the headlines. A scratch card went to Rosie Taylor from the Mail who was top this week with 12.5 points out of 20. She narrowly pipped Adam Shergold with 12. But although the Mail had the highest scorer, the Daily Telegraph had the best average. I am expecting improvement all round next week. Try it - no cheating - and see if you can beat Rosie's 12.5.
George Osborne (Question 7) with Christine Lagarde (Question 13)

1. What will not restart as soon as it has finished?

2.  Rebecca Leighton was released without charge after six weeks in custody.  At which hospital does she work?

3.  P J Harvey won this week's Mercury Award - what do the initial stand for? (Half point for each correct name).

4. How many Free Schools are opening this year?

5.  Who came face to face with a toad?

6.  Who is the oldest contestant in this year's Strictly Come Dancing line-up?

7.  George Osborne used which inappropriate word in a joke he told at the GQ awards?

8.  A vet is someone who looks after your pet - but spell the word that it is short for.

9.  The Rugby World Cup starts this weekend. Who are are the overwhelming favourites to win it?

10.  Which will be the first place where you will have to include the area dialing code instead of just the six digit number when making a local call?

11. Who is the editor of The Times? (Half point if you only get the surname; nothing if you get only the first name)

12. Name the Red or Black winner who caused a stir when it was revealed that he beat up his lover.

13. What does Christine Lagarde head up?

14. Which council paid £2,475 to hire security guards to protect members at a town hall - but only ten protestors turned up?

15. The Attorney General said there was a big question mark over allowing cameras into court. Who is the Attorney General?

16. Who are Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and what happened to them this week (Half point for each answer).

17. Why did Rowan Atkinson say he would probably never play the part of Mr Bean again?

18. Stuart Bell was branded Britain's laziest MP after not holding a surgery for 14 years. What is his constituency?

19. Who was laid low with Thames Tummy?

20. What happened to 23-year-old Jeni Anderson this week?

How did you do? The answers are here

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Where's the meat?

Thanks to Mike Lowe for this addition to the ever-growing list of non-stories in regional newspapers. It has the added bonus of being the splash, which makes it a bit special. I use a copytasting yardstick for trainees which is "if someone told you the story in the pub would your ears prick up or would you move to another table". A 22-year-old woman moaning about a cheap pasty that was three days out of date might have me looking for a new pub. I wonder if the Folkestone Herald hasn't missed an angle or two here eg what modern mothers think is a suitable diet for their two-year-olds. Or maybe they should use a bit of shoe-leather investigating what these 'sell by' and 'use by' labels really mean.