Saturday, 29 September 2012

This week's newsquiz. Can you beat Ben's 15?

The Daily Mail trainee reporters all went off to their placements this week. I spent my time at the Press Association's Training's Manor in Howden with the trainee subs. We had an intensive week dealing with the nitty gritty of subbing, lots of pronouns, style points and writing publishable headlines - so we all needed a couple of drinks in the Wellington along the way. The Daily Telegraph trainees, also in the Manor, were with Paul Jones, David Banks, Tony Johnston and the paper's assistant editor Richard Preston. Yesterday both groups got together for the usual end of week quiz ... and the competition between the papers was certainly healthy. The Telegraph's Ben Riley-Smith won it with 15 points, closely followed by the Mail's Lauren York on 14.5 and Rhiannon Williams with 14. The quiz got a nice mention by Roy Greenslade in his Guardian blog last week. It's worth looking at, not least for the comments. Apparently the quiz is to blame for the country's economy being on the rocks. Wow ... I never knew it was so influential. Anyway, Roy managed a decent score of 13. The Mail newsdesk also had a crack and the top score was 14. So, well done trainees Lauren Davis (16) and Francesca Infante (15) who both did better. This week there are three bonuses, so a possible 23 points. I thought it was much easier than usual ... but not everyone agreed. See how you get on.

Dodgy dress? Question 9. Picture by PA

1. At which school did Jeremy Forrest teach maths to Megan Stammers?
2. According to Policy Exchange, how much does it cost each day to tag an offender?
3. According to a survey of 3,000 British consumers, Apple is now the coolest brand in the UK. Which brand did it knock off the top spot?
4. Which British actor won the 'best actor' at the Emmys?
5. The Queen has bought a set of prints of herself by which artist?
6. According to the census, which British seaside resort has the most people over the age of 100 per head of population? 
7. David Cameron was asked, on Letterman, who composed Rule Brittania and answered Elgar. What is the correct answer?
8. Who is the MP for Sutton Coldfield?
9. The Duchess of Cambridge wore a dress she thought had been made on the island where she was attending a function. It had, in fact, been made on another island. Name both islands.
10. Which British newspaper is known as the Thunderer and runs a column of that name?
11. Justin Lee Collins is facing charges of harassment at which court?
12. The makers of the popular game Angry Birds have launched a new game. What is it called?
13. Who asked the question 'why don't aeroplane windows open?'
14. Which racing team will Lewis Hamilton be driving for next season?
15. LIBOR was in the news again. What does it stand for?
16. Whose press conference was cancelled when only one journalist turned up?
17. Name the Chicago golf course where the Ryder Cup is being played.
18. What's the name of J.K. Rowling's first adult novel? For a bonus point, name the publisher.
19. York was badly hit by the floods. Which river runs through the middle of the city?
20. Abu Hamza lost his appeal against extradition in the European Court of Human Rights. In which city is the court based? For a bonus, which BBC reporter inadvertently revealed the Queen's concerns about Abu Hamza?

Answers here

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The newsquiz: Lauren's impressive 16 to beat

Olivia Williams celebrates with her Champagne
The Daily Mail reporting and subbing trainees got together at Northcliffe House in Kensington this week for a flavour of what it is like to work in the newsroom. The reporters now go off to spend time on regional newspapers, the Standard and the Mail's Scottish office. Meanwhile the subs are heading to PA's Howden base in East Yorkshire where they will have four weeks intensive subbing training and assessment. They will meet up with the Daily Telegraph trainees who have just completed their second week.
As usual we all finished the week with the newsquiz ... the best way to ensure everyone gets into the habit of reading the papers in detail every day. This week's highest scorer was Mail sub-editor Lauren Davis with an impressive 16. Second was Mail reporter Francesca Infante with 15. Olivia Williams scored the highest running score by a Mail reporter over the three-weeks and was presented with a bottle of Champagne by media consultant Sue Ryan. Top Telegraph trainee this week was Ben Riley-Smith with 13.5. Have a crack at the questions below. If you beat Lauren's 16, I will be very impressed.

Shakira is expecting ... but who's the father? PA

1. Name the two women police officers killed in Manchester (half point for each name).

2. What was the name of the estate in Tameside, Manchester, that the two officers were called to?

3. Before this week's incident, the last police woman to be shot dead on duty in the UK was Sharon Beshenivsky in 2005. In which city?

4. Why was Mike O'Kane suspended from his job this week?

5. According to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in a secretly taped conversation, what percentage of Americans are freeloaders relying on government handouts?

6. Colombian singer Shakira is expecting her first child. Who is the father?

7. According to a hard-hitting advert by St John Ambulance, broadcast during the commercial break in Downton Abbey, how many people might survive in the UK each year if everyone was trained in First Aid?

8. Which news reader confessed to dyeing her grey hair because age is an issue for women on TV?

9. Executive Anthony Sturman accidently sent indecent images to his office printer. Who were his employers?

10. Who is the editor of the Evening Standard?

11. Which quango paid out £9.4 million in redundancy payments to 223 employees but took on 598 new staff during the same period?

12. Policeman Simon Harwood was sacked for gross misconduct this week following the death of a newspaper seller during the G20 protests in London. What was the name of the man who died?

13. 26 people were killed in a gas plant fire in which country?

14. Six-year-old Will Smith accidently ran up a £2,000 bill on his grandfather's iPad playing which game?

15. Following the discovery of an ancient papyrus, a Harvard professor has claimed Jesus was married ... to whom?

16. Which comedian has been shortlisted in the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2012 for his novel Gangsta Granny?

17. Nick Clegg has apologised for not keeping his word on tuition fees. What is Clegg's constituency?

18. A specialist team of doctors from which hospital has flown out to Camp Bastion following the unexpected birth of a baby boy?

19. What is the name of the Italian magazine that ran 20 pages of pictures, including some topless, of the Duchess of Cambridge?

And for a bonus point the magazine's editor, Alfonso Signorini, tweeted that “not even a direct call from ....... " would stop him publishing the photographs. Fill in the gap.

20. What is the name of Robbie Williams' baby daughter, born earlier this week?

Answers here

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Cooper Black comeback

When I was a young chief sub on the Evening Despatch in Darlington, 30 years or so ago, I was nominated for a design award and off I went to a swanky hotel in the Smoke. When I didn't win I collared the judges in the bar and asked why the winner's portfolio was better than mine. "Ahh," one of them said. "We liked your pages, confident use of pictures, good white space, big impact ... but you could have used more modern typography."  "Like what?" I asked. "Look at all the winners they said ... they all used Cooper Black."
We didn't have Cooper Black in our caseroom. Just Century Bold, Times, Bodoni, Garamond, Clarendon and a selection of sans faces including Tempo (the font The Sun still uses today) and Univers. So I could only look on as the newspaper world fell in love with Cooper Black. 

The Sunderland Echo - Cooper Black titlepiece
Everyone from the Liverpool Echo to The Sun decorated their pages with it. The Sunderland Echo even used it for its titlepiece. 

It wasn't just newspapers either. I thought it looked pretty cool on the album cover of the 1971 Doors' album LA Woman but when it was hijacked by TV programmes - Dad's Army, Cheers and Mash included - often in yellow caps, it lost its coolness altogether. 

It was an Old Style serif which seemed to have been drawn by a child. Its O sat at a peculiar angle, the cap A was definitely distorted and the lower case f looked like a deformed chess piece. 

You couldn't use it as a text face (it fills in under around 14pt) and it didn't have a great headline count either. But the newspaper world loved it ... briefly. For some reason, when the computers came along, it disappeared from newspapers almost as quickly as it appeared. It was occasionally used on ironic features about 70s and 80s fashion, but that was it.
Now though, the font is enjoying a bit of a revival ... and I don't just mean easyjet and Garfield making it synonymous with orange.

Modern bands, such as Marina and the Diamonds and The Black Keys, have adopted the font. And tee-shirts declaring a love for Cooper Black are for sale online (although I have never seen anyone wearing one in real life). 

So I was fascinated to receive the brilliant Visual History of Cooper Black (at the top of the page) which Fibers sent me this week. Very smart, stylish and informative. I have long grown out of my blind dislike for Cooper Black. It reminds me of my youth, can have impact on posters and is bold and effective on artwork and tee-shirts. But I still draw the line at using it in newspapers. It was never, ever, really a newsprint font ... despite what those misguided 1980s' design judges believed. 
Thanks to @fibers for the nice graphic.

Friday, 14 September 2012

The newsquiz - Olivia's 14.5 to beat

Yours truly with Mail trainees Emily Davies, Jaymi McCann, Olivia Williams (with her scratchcard prize), Francesca Infante, Aisling Scally, Sara Smyth, Hannah Ellis-Petersen, Liv Lee and Simon Murphy.
I have just finished my second week with the Daily Mail reporting trainees. They had a good few days covering the Olympic Parade, finding Mail stories, drawing up a newslist and last night we met up with former trainees at the Brass Monkey in Victoria. Next week they move from PA Training's offices to Northcliffe House where they will spend time with Mail journalists. As always, we finished off the week with a newsquiz. Olivia Williams won the scratchcard for the second week in a row with 14.5. Francesca Infante was once again second with 13.
The Telegraph trainees, who began their course at PA's training centre in Howden on Monday, also did the quiz. Their top score was by Dan Johnson with 13 points. There are 21 points up for grabs this week. See how you get on.

1. What is Dendrobium Memoria?

2. Following the huge success of 50 Shades of Grey, what term has been included in the Collins online dictionary?

3. Who had a wardrobe malfunction at the Olympic Parade?

4. Andy Murray won the US Open at Flushing Meadows this week. He was the first Briton to win a Grand Slam Men's Singles tennis tournament in 76 years. Name the winner from 76 years ago.

5. What is the name of Andy Murray's girlfriend?

6. Monopoly has produced a special edition to commemorate which wartime scientist?

7. According to QS's rankings, which university has knocked Cambridge off the top spot in the Global 'league table'?

For a bonus - Oxford and Cambridge are named in the Top Six along with two other UK universities. Name one of them.

8. Tom Cruise watched which production at the Globe Theatre this week?

9. How many lives could have been saved according to the Hillsborough panel?

10. The Hillsborough disaster was at an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and which other football team? 

11. The Attorney General will decide whether to order a new inquest into the Hillsborough deaths. Who is the Attorney General?

12. Derek Jameson, one of Fleet Street's legends, died this week aged 82. Name two of the three national newspapers he edited.

13. Why was Ryan Harris in the headlines?

14. Brendan Barber is retiring as General Secretary of the TUC. Who is his successor?

15. Joseph Moran was jailed for six and a half years for rape by Nottingham Crown court. His 22-year-old victim was thrown off a late night bus for not having her fare. How much money was she short by?

16. England's Word Cup qualifier against Ukraine narrowly won the TV ratings on Tuesday night with 5.4 million viewers - but which BBC 2 programme gave the football game a run for its money with 4.6 million?

17. Residents of Portman Avenue were shocked to find what in their street?

18. Who has been appointed Ambassador of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games?

19. Nick Clegg's speech on same-sex marriages was edited so that the word 'bigots' was removed. What was it replaced with?

20. Which publication is being sued for running the headline 'Get lost, you rich prick'?

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hillsborough front pages: The truth and lies

This is the page Liverpool has been waiting 23 years for. The Sun finally says it is 'profoundly sorry' for its ill-judged page (below).

The word sorry isn't as big as many would have liked - no surprise there - but it's a full apology nonetheless. For me, The Northern Echo sums it all up brilliantly ... instead of The Truth it simply carries the headline The Lies. Maybe The Sun should have done the same.
The Sheffield Star points the finger with a powerful headline and picture.

The Mail uses pictures of all 96 victims - a strong reminder of what this story is really all about.

The Independent and Mirror also have powerful pages based on the Sun's original The Truth headline.

The Western Mail has a poignant cover too.

I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised that the Express decides that another immigration story is more important.
But I am totally bemused by The Daily Telegraph's decision to make no mention of Hillsborough at all on Page 1. What were they thinking?
Thanks as always to @suttonnick #tomorrowspaperstoday

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Cracking Olympic farewell from Sindy

There have been some cracking front pages throughout the Olympics but this one from tomorrow's Independent on Sunday is as good as any. Nineteen images on one tabloid page ought to look a mess ... but it works brilliantly.
Footnote: Matt Chorley, who I first met when he was a trainee at the Editorial Centre in Hastings ten years ago, leaves the Sindy tonight to join Mail Online as political editor on Monday. "Thank you. It's been emotional," is the headline on his last front page. What a fitting way to send him off.

How not to lay out the front page

Just in case you missed it ... here's a good example of how not to lay out the front cover when your magazine is called Where. Wonder if the model thought about suing? Hat tip to Phil Young @mediations

Friday, 7 September 2012

Newsquiz is back: Can you beat Olivia's score?

I have had a really enjoyable week with nine bright young journalists on the Daily Mail reporting diploma this week. Apart from setting up interviews, finding and writing Mail stories and having their work analysed in detail, they had sessions with media consultant Sue Ryan, the Mail's head of news Neil Darbyshire, Fleet Street veteran Craig Mackenzie and an evening with BBC presenter Jeremy Vine. Today they are talking to Mail on Sunday managing editor John Wellington and former trainees Mario Ledwith and Peter Campbell about what they can expect in the forthcoming year. As part of the course, to ensure they are reading the newspapers in detail, I set a weekly newsquiz. The quiz will run for eight weeks and below is number one. Congratulations to Olivia Williams who wins this week's scratch card with 15.5 points. Second was Francesca Infante with 12. See if you can do any better. A possible 21 points are up for grabs.

Name the cheeky chap with Prince Harry (Question 1). 
Picture by the Press Association.
1. What was the full name of the six-year-old boy who was warned by Prince Harry not to mention Vegas?

2. Adidas has stopped making football boots made from the leather of which animal?

3. Theresa Villiers was appointed to which Cabinet position?

4. Keira Knightley stars in the film Anna Karenina which opens in the UK tonight. For one point, who wrote the book? For a bonus point which playwright wrote the screenplay?

5. Air hostess Stephanie Partington was sacked for being over the drink limit by which airline?

6. What is the name of the politician's wife who followed Prince Andrew down the Shard?

7. British tourist
Saad Al-Hilli, his wife and mother-in-law were assassinated near which French lake?

8. Name the airline owner who called his passengers stupid for not being able to print off their own boarding passes.

9. Name the Green Mile actor who died this week.

10. Jessica Ennis has been given the freedom of which city?

11. Which company is opening a vegetarian eatery in India?

12. Vladimir Putin helped a flock of endangered cranes by doing what?

13. Who is the editor of The Times?

14. In which court did former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks appear this week?

15. Peter Norfolk announced his retirement after winning silver in the doubles tennis. What nickname is he affectionally known by?

16. Freddie Flintoff has taken up which sport?

17. Which soap actor believes there will be a 'spiritual vibration' in December during which the earth will cleanse itself?

18. What is the perfect number of ex-lovers, according to a survey by a dating website?

19. Why did millionaire Anthony Mead burn his wife's clothes?

20. The makers of which product were seeking a disclaimer from an Aberdeenshire chip shop?

The answers are here