Sunday, 31 January 2016

Front page tributes to Terry Wogan

Not surprisingly, there is just one image dominating tomorrow's newspapers. There are some great covers. I particularly like the simplicity of Metro and the Sun and Mirror are also very good. Both have the same excellent headline. Good bit of journalism by the Mail too. And the Bob cartoon from the Telegraph (at the end) just says it all. 

Thanks as always to  and @suttonnick.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Test yourself with this week's newsquiz

Well done to Rod Ardehali who scored an impressive 18 in last week's quiz, narrowly beating Damon Wake and  on 16. Here's this week's quiz. As usual there are 25 points up for grabs. Let me know how you get on.

How the New York tabloids reported on 20 inches of snow (Q6)

1. David Cameron refused to apologise after using which four words to describe refugees in Calais at Prime Minister’s Question Time? 

Bonus: Jeremy Corbyn made his first official trip abroad as Leader of the Opposition to visit the Calais Jungle and a refugee camp in which other town?
2. A European Counter Terrorism Centre was launched in which city?
3. Why was Alexandra Mezher, 22, in the headlines?
4. Serial killer Levi Bellfield admitted killing 13-year-old Milly Dowler. In which year was Milly murdered?
5. Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Worsley, who died attempting a solo expedition across the Antarctic, recorded a message saying his journey had ended because he did not have the ability to do what?
6. What was the name of the storm that dumped 20 inches of snow on New York?
7. Which two teams will play in the Capital One cup final? Half point each.

Bonus: Former England footballer Stuart Pearce has come out of retirement at 53 to play for a team which has lost every game, let in an average of ten goals a match and has a goal difference of minus 180. Name the team.
8. Tory grandee Cecil Parkinson died this week. How old was he?
Bonus: Parkinson once said his ambition was to remove a prefix from his name. What word was he was referring to?
9. A team of female rowers broke two world records after rowing across the Pacific Ocean in a 29ft pink boat. What was it called?
10. What were taken from Lincolnshire on trucks to landfill sites in Didcot and Sheffield?
11. Why were mourners left horrified at a funeral service at Thornhill Crematorium in Cardiff?
12. Colin Vearncombe, 53, died after being hit by a car in Ireland. How was he better known?
13. Who ‘repeatedly and deliberately delayed payments to suppliers in a widespread practice designed to improve its financial position’?
Bonus: How much did Google agree to pay to HMRC in tax dating back to 2005, which it said was the 'full tax due in law’?
14. Three to four million people could be infected with what virus this year, according to the World Health Organisation?
15. What happened to the statues in Rome's Capitoline Museum this week?
16. Kate Chisholm, head of Skerne Park Academy, Darlington, wrote to parents asking them to stop doing what?
17. What will Susanne Hinte not be receiving?
18. Wayne and Coleen Rooney had a third son. What did they call him?
19. Who plays glamorous journalist Rose Winters in a new movie?
Bonus: Who is Joseph Fiennes to play in a Sky Arts programme?
20: Consumer blogger Jordon Cox,18, travelled home from Sheffield to Essex by plane via which European city as it was cheaper than the train?

Answers here

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Robin Crowther: An inspiration in the subs room

Robin in classic pose (Northern Echo)

I was saddened and a little shocked to be told today that my old Northern Echo colleague Robin Crowther has died. When I shipped up as a trainee sub on the Echo in the late 70s, Robin was one of the senior hands who took me under his wing. He helped teach me the craft and he had a real flair for headlines. More than that though, he was an inspiration who made the night-shift fun. He would often join the younger subs for a drink in the Red Lion at break or the Flamingo after the shift and entertain us with his seemingly endless list of stories. He had just returned from South Africa where he had worked for 11 years as a reporter and editor - and his experiences provided a rich vein of anecdotes. Apart from helping my subbing skills, Robin also improved me massively as a squash player. He was an excellent player. When we finished our shifts at the Echo at 12.30am we would often take a hold-all full of beer up to the squash club (where he had a key) and play games with other colleagues, including sports editor Jeff Todhunter, until 4am. He was much older and less fit than me but I never beat him. Nobody dominated the T quite like Robin. We would then sit around in the changing rooms drinking beer as Robin held court, before heading home as the sun was coming up. He left the Echo in the early 80s to become a journalism lecturer at Darlington College where he trained, inspired and entertained thousands of young journalists, including the Echo's editor Peter Barron. Robin died this week, two months after the death of his wife Barbara. RIP old chap ... it was a privilege.

Here's a link to the Echo's article.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

56 who died in 2015: Can you name them?

I am just back from a week's skiing in Andorra with a big gang of friends. Despite a dislocated shoulder (don't ask) I had a great time on the slopes. Anyway, as the designated entertainments officer, every night in the bar I ran a quiz, including questions on people who died in 2015. I thought I would share it here. There are six pages, each with nine famous people or animals who died last year - so 56 in all. All you have to do is name them. Let me know how you get on. Answers are here.

Click on the images to make them bigger.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

And the front page of the week is ...

Nice to see the New York Daily News continuing its run of cracking front pages - even after the departure of editor Colin Myler

Friday, 22 January 2016

Try your hand at this week's newsquiz

Well done to Damon Wake who was last week's individual newsquiz winner with 17 points. The Batstone collective (Adam Batstone and Lucy Thorpe) recorded the highest team score, also with 17 points. That's the third week in a row they have scored 17 - time to step up! Here's this week's quiz. As always, there are 25 points to be won. Let me know how you get on. 

Migration was one of the stories to dominate this week's news agenda (Q1)
1. The European Commission wants to scrap the rule that says refugees must claim asylum in the first safe country in which they arrive. What is this regulation known as?
Bonus: Mark Rutte said Europe 'cannot cope' with the migrant crisis and has just six weeks to save the Schengen Agreement. Who is Mark Rutte?
Bonus: Brochures are to be distributed to refugee centres across Belgium offering advice on what?
Bonus: What was the name of the migrant camp in Calais that was demolished by French authorities?
2. Where is the World Economic Forum being held?
3. What gave a reading of 100,000 becquerels per centimetres squared?
4. Why were Port Talbot, Trostre, Corby and Hartlepool in the headlines?
5. What was the name of the university in Pakistan where terrorists killed 22 people? Bonus: Which country’s police removed the headscarves from 1,700 women and shaved the beards off 13,000 men in a bid to tackle jihadism?
6. Why were Katrina Walsh, 55, and Sarah Williams, 34, in the headlines?
7. Why has Gresham been in the news this week?
8. What, according to Dame Janet Smith, had a 'deferential culture', 'untouchable stars' and 'above the law' managers?
9. Jacob Tremblay, nine, accepted his award for best young actor at the Critics’ Choice Awards and said he would place the trophy next to what?
10. Who said he might 'never recover' from the 'painful breakdown of an almost 30-year relationship’ and added 'there are no winners or losers but I am not a villain'?
11. Lancashire police criticised the BBC for publishing a story that claimed a spelling error led to a ten-year-old Muslim boy being investigated. What was the supposed spelling error? 
12. What did Katy Collins do that led to a three-book deal?
13. An avalanche in Valfréjus in the French Alps killed how many members of the French Foreign Legion?
14. Independent school Brighton College has scrapped its traditional uniform rules to accommodate which group?
15. MEPs approved plans to ensure what household items must be able to withstand heat of up to 200 degrees Celsius?
16. An inquest heard that eight-year-old Dylan Seabridge died of what disease?
17. Who won the Special Recognition Award at this week’s National Television Awards?
Bonus: Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield supposedly went straight from a post National Television Awards party to present ITV’s This Morning. Who hosted the party?
18. Tory MP Crispin Blunt told the House of Commons banning what would be 'fantastically stupid’?
19. The £33million unclaimed lottery was bought in which city? 
20. Whose 15-year battle with arthritis was said to have contributed to his death?

Answers here

Friday, 15 January 2016

Try your hand at this week's newsquiz

Well done to Harvey Day who submitted the top individual score in last week's newsquiz with 16 points. The best team score came, once again, from Adam Batstone and Lucy Thorpe with 17. Here is this week's quiz. As usual there are 25 points to be won. Let me know how you get on.

Death of a Starman. Bowie dominates the front pages (Question 1)
1. David Bowie died two days after his final album was released. What is it called?
Bonus: Which singer named his son, born on Tuesday, Bowie Taylan as a tribute to the star?
2. Jakarta responded to the terrorist attacks with the hashtag #KamiTidakTakut. What does it mean in English? 
Bonus: The attacks were condemned by the Indonesian president who tweeted that there was 'no place for terrorism on Earth' and that 'every citizen in the world' needed to fight it. What is his name?
Bonus: How many German tourists were killed in the suicide attacks in Istanbul?
3. Major Tim Peake went on a spacewalk to repair a faulty component outside the International Space Station. What was the name of the Nasa astronaut who accompanied him?
Bonus: Major Peake said it was 'a privilege' to take what into the void of space?
4. Six people are in a critical condition - including one in a coma - after a clinical trial of a new drug by a private laboratory in which French city?

5. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump attacked rival Ted Cruz over his presidential eligibility because he was born in which country?
6. Who, according to Dame Helen Mirren, had a voice that could suggest honey or a hidden stiletto blade ... and the profile of a Roman emperor?
7. Serial killer Robert Black died this week. How many murders was he convicted of?
Bonus: Devon and Cornwall police say they were five weeks from submitting a file to prosecutors linking Black to the 1978 killing of which teenager?
8. Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall announced their engagement. What are their ages? (half point for each)
9. Rene Angelil died this week. Who was he married to?
10. Who responded to Barack Obama’s State of the Union address by saying: 'Safer? Isis on the rise. North Korea testing nukes. Syria in chaos. Taliban on march. This president is living in a different world.’?
11. Why was Danielle Bux in the headlines?
12. The Duchess of Cambridge is to guest edit which website for a day next month to raise awareness for children's mental health? 
13. In which ski resort were two French pupils and a Ukrainian skier killed by an avalanche?
14. How much did Scottish couple David and Carol Martin win on the Lottery?
15. Al-Shabab militants overran an African Union military base in which country?
16. Pupils at Norbreck Primary Academy in Blackpool have been told not to bring what to school?
17. A £2 cup of what, served in a York cafe, caused an online stir?
18. An Old Bailey judge ruled that criminal proceedings over sex abuse charges had to end because of whose death?
19. The police are offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a man who let his co-conspirators into the Hatton Garden building by opening the fire escape from inside. The man is only known by his first name. What is it?
20. Which actress received her first Oscars' nomination, after five decades in showbusiness, for her role in 45 Years? 

Answers here

Friday, 8 January 2016

Test yourself with this week's newsquiz

There was a clear winner in last week's newsquiz - Lydia Willgress with a personal best and hugely impressive 22. She put it down to working solidly in the MailOnline newsroom over the Christmas break. The best team effort was by Adam Batstone and Lucy Thorpe with a very good 17.
Here's this week's quiz. As usual 25 points up for grabs. Let me know how you get on.

Three bodies found in a London garden: See question 4
1. How many people did Saudi Arabia execute on Saturday?
Bonus: What was the name of the Shia cleric whose execution caused a wave of condemnation? 
Bonus: Siddhartha Dhar - who appeared in a new ISIS beheading video - was believed to be a former salesman of what? 
2. Chancellor George Osborne told business leaders in Cardiff: 'Last year was the worst for global growth since the crash and this year opens with a dangerous ________ of new threats.’ What is the missing word?
Bonus: Measures that automatically stop trading in stock markets which drop or rise too sharply were used for the first time in China on Monday and again on Thursday. What is the mechanism known as? 
3. Three shadow ministers quit in protest at the sacking of colleagues who were at odds with Jeremy Corbyn. Name two of them (half point each).
Bonus: Michael Dugher was one of those sacked in the reshuffle. What was his shadow cabinet position?
4. The bodies of Sian Blake and her two sons were found buried in a London garden. Which character did she play in Eastenders? 
5. Public Health England is urging families to sign up for a new app which shows what?
6. Twitter's stock fell to an all-time low amid rumours it is to allow users to post tweets of what length?
7. Why was West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle fined $10,000 in Australia?  
8. Why was Abdul Rahman Haroun in the headlines?
9. More than half a million people tuned in to watch people doing what in Drummond Central, Newcastle?
10. Under new recommendations by England’s chief medical officer approximately how many pints of beer a week is ‘safe’ for a man?
11. Where is Winston McKenzie, a former UKIP spokesman and the English Democrats' candidate for London mayor, currently living?
12. Hashim Amla resigned from which position?
13. This year's GCSE and A-Levels have been timetabled to take what into account?
14. Fifteen-year-old Pranav Dhanawade set a new world record for what?
15. If an agreement is not found, junior doctors have threatened to stage three strikes, starting with a walkout on what date? 
16. Steve Rowe is to replace Marc Bolland in which role?
17. Prince George started school at the Westacre Montessori school on which estate?
18. Who kicked a wannabe rapper off the stage at the People’s Choice award in Los Angeles?
19. Police in Germany revealed that the 'organised Arab or North African' sex gangs terrorised more than 100 women in which German city? Bonus: A vigilante group set up after the sexual assaults quickly gained 8,000 Facebook followers. What is it called? 
20. Why did ten-year-old Mitchell Schibeci become an internet sensation?

Answers here

Monday, 4 January 2016

Editing The Northern Echo: The bald facts

I get a mention in today's Northern Echo. As it is nearly 23 years since I left the editor's chair in the North-East, I really appreciate being remembered at all. When I was told this morning I was featured in the paper, I wondered if it might be a recollection of the campaigns, the awards, the redesign, the introduction of colour, the hands-on management or the robust editorials. But, typically, it wasn't any of these ... it was just for the fact I had less hair aged 34 than the current editor has at 53! Ho hum. Still, it's nice to be remembered at all. I think.

Today is the 17th anniversary of editor Peter Barron taking over the job. A big congratulations to him. I did it for almost four years and it was great fun - but hard work, long hours and there were huge pressures. Peter's tenure has been far more difficult than mine and he has ridden the tiger with dexterity and with his trademark sense of humour intact. He also still has far more hair than he should have. Well done Peter. Up there with Evans and Stead.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

First newsquiz of the year

There was no Christmas quiz last week as I had other things to think about - and knew you would have too. But we are back this week with the first newsquiz of 2016. As usual there are 20 questions with five bonuses, so 25 points to be won. Let me know how you get on. 

Britain under water: A Sun spread on the floods (Question 1)

1. Twelve people had to be airlifted from something that was stuck in flood water in Dailley, South Ayrshire? What was the something?
Bonus: The historic bridge in which market town collapsed into the swollen river Wharfe?
2. Motorhead frontman Lemmy died this week. What was his real name?
Bonus: In which UK city was he born?
Bonus: Musician John Bradbury also died this week. He was the drummer for which famous band?
3. The Old Bailey heard that Mohammed Rehman planned to blow up either Westfield shopping centre or the London Underground to coincide with the 10th anniversary of what?
4. Why was 27-year-old Angus Villar from Saffron Walden in the headlines? 
5. The chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, is to recommend that everyone should abstain from what for at least two days a week?
6. Two people died and seven others were injured after a gunman opened fire at a bar in which city?
7. Natalie Cole, who died at the age of 65, had a hit in 1991 when her voice was remixed with that of her father, Nat King Cole, 25 years after his death. What was the name of the song?
8. A soldier guarding a mosque shot and wounded a driver who rammed him with a car in which French city?
Bonus: A terrorism alert shut down two railway stations in which city on New Year's Eve?
9. Iraq said it had ‘liberated’ which city which the jihadist group IS had held since May?
10. Why was 86-year-old Ronald King in the headlines?
11. The supporters of which football team were asked by the family of former player Pavel Srnicek to chant a song?
12David Cameron's policy chief, Oliver Letwin, apologised for blaming what on the 'bad moral attitudes' of black people?
13. An investigation was begun into allegations that two female police officers and eight soldiers engaged in group sex at a police station in which city?
14. Actor Russell Crowe vowed to never use which airline again after claiming the company stopped him from travelling with a hoverboard?
15. Who said: 'I was stupid and there's no fool like an old fool'?
16. Jacqueline Gold was controversially awarded a CBE in the New Year's Honours. She is chief executive of which company?
Bonus: Which event led to Steph Houghton and Fara Williams receiving MBEs?
17. According to a study by website Travelzoo, which country slipped out of the top ten hotspots that UK families are most likely to visit?
18. Later this year where will we find a skull and rose, a crown and sword and the Great Fire of London?
19. Which company agreed to pay €318m following an investigation into tax fraud allegations in Italy?
20. Why was Catholic priest Father Albert San Jose suspended from his church in the Philippines? 

Answers here