Friday, 30 January 2015

Try your hand at this week's news quiz

Last week's top submitted score was 17 by James Cowling. See if you can do any better this week. As usual, there are 20 questions with five bonus points, so 25 points in all. Let me know how you get on.

The consecration of Libby Lane (see Q2)
Picture courtesy of The Press Association
1. Nine people were killed in a bomb attack on the Corinthia Hotel in which city?
2. What four words did the Rev Paul Williamson shout out at the consecration of Libby Lane as the first Church of England female bishop? Bonus: Where did the ceremony take place?
3. Steve Easterbrook was appointed chief executive and president of which food company?
4. Which two football teams this week qualified for the Capital One Cup Final on March 1 (half point for each)?
5. Rome’s top Jewish leader Riccardo Pacifici was trapped where?
6. The Metropolitan police commissioner asked television news organisations to consider not broadcasting live images of police preparing to storm any terrorist siege in London. Who is he?
7. Who said: 'I’m devastated to have caused offence by using this outmoded terminology. I offer my sincere apologies. I make no excuse for my being an idiot and know the damage is done.'?
8. Greek singer Demis Roussos, who died this week, reach No 1 in the UK singles chart in 1976 with which song? Bonus: Before launching his solo career Roussos was a member of which band?
9. Why were Typhoon warplanes scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby on Wednesday?
10. What was the name of the snowstorm that hit Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire this week?
11. The lead singer of which rock band claimed in court that former TV weatherman Fred Talbot showed a porn video while teaching him at Altrincham Grammar School? Bonus: Gary Glitter is appearing under his real name at Southwark Crown Court on various sex charges. What is his real name?
12. The X-Men and Bourne Supremacy actor Brian Cox quit Labour to join which party?
13. What is the name of the new king of Saudi Arabia? Bonus: How was he related to the former king, Abdullah?
14. What was 2004 BL86?
15. An inquiry into the death of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko heard that he drank tea laced with polonium in which London hotel?
16. Rock star Tom Petty has been credited as a co-writer and given royalties for which popular song?
17. Andy Murray is through to the final of the Australian Open after beating who in the semi-final? Bonus: Who went viral after being filmed apparently swearing during the match? 
18. Who is the new Prime Minister of Greece?
19. Why was Alan Barnfield in the headlines?
20. Coronation Street has announced that actress Lucy Fallon will play the role of Bethany Platt after a previous actress was dropped. Why was she dropped?

Answers here

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Football clubs and newspapers: Friends or foes?



Once football clubs and local newspapers were happy bedfellows. Now journalists and newspapers are routinely banned, managers refuse to talk to the Press on a whim and some owners are considering charging for access. Here’s my piece for InPublishing magazine on the increasingly broken relationship - and whether it can ever be healed. 

Friday, 23 January 2015

This week's newsquiz: 25 points up for grabs

The best submitted score in last week's newsquiz was a very modest 13 by Alex Murphy. The questions must be getting harder! Here's this week's challenge. As usual, there are 20 questions with five bonuses, so 25 points up for grabs. Let me know how you get on?


The Sun's tribute to Anne Kirkbride (Q2)
1. British Gas announced it will cut its tariffs by 5 per cent. From which date will the cuts take effect? 
Bonus: British Gas is the second of the big six energy suppliers to cut tariffs. Who announced it was taking 3.5 per cent off gas tariffs last week?
2. Coronation Steet star Anne Kirkbride died suddenly this week. How old was she?
Bonus: Kirkbride was best know as Deirdre Barlow in the show. She had two other married surnames. Name one of them.
3. Who said: 'Tonight, we turn the page. The shadow of crisis has passed...'? 
4. How many lashes in total was Saudi blogger Raif Badawi sentenced to receive?
5. Whose funeral cortege will begin on February 3 at Molineux Football Ground?
6. Spice girl Geri Halliwell and TV presenters Jayne Middlemiss and Melinda Messenger all began their showbiz careers where?
7. How much was the invoice sent to five-year-old Alex Nash’s parents for his non-attendance at a schoolfriend’s birthday party?
8. Who wrote to MP Chris Bryant: 'It is your populist, envy-based, vote-hunting ideas which make our country crap, far more than me and my shit songs, and my plummy accent.'?
9. A British soldier has been charged with raping a six-year-old girl in which country?
10. The report of the inquiry into the Iraq war will not be published before the General Election. Who chaired the inquiry? 
Bonus: How many letters from Tony Blair to George Bush will be published alongside the report?
11. What did 27-year-old Imran Khawaja fake in an attempt to sneak back into Britain?
12. Actor Brian Blessed collapsed on stage at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford with an apparent heart problem. Which role was he playing?
13. Eleven people were injured in a knife attack on a bus in which city?
14. Business and global political leaders were in which ski resort for the 2015 World Economic Forum?
15. A Carmarthen traffic warden is being investigated after a putting parking ticket on what?
16. Who was presented with the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards?
Bonus: Why was Sheridan Smith late in collecting her award for Best Drama Performance?
17. Who faces a £10.8 million bill for the rent of the York & Albany pub near Regent's Park?
18. The International Cricket Council has warned that something will not be tolerated at the World Cup next month? What is the something?
Bonus: England cricket captain Eoin Morgan was the target of a blackmail plot over an alleged fling with an Australian woman. How much, in British pounds, did the blackmailer demand?
19. He was a barrister who became the youngest Home Secretary since Winston Churchill. Who is he?
20. The Doomsday Clock moved forward by two minutes and is now closer to midnight than it has been since 1984. What time does the clock now read?

Answers here

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

48 who died in 2014: How many can you name?

I am just back from a week's skiing in Andorra with friends. Andorra was fantastic ... who knew? Anyway, every night in the bar I ran a quiz, including questions on people who died in 2014. I thought I would share it here. Here are six pages each with eight famous people who died last year - so 48 in all. All you have to do is name them. Let me know how you get on. Answers are here.















Friday, 16 January 2015

Try your hand at this week's newsquiz

Last week’s top submitted score was a modest 14 by Charlie Taverner. Here’s this week’s newsquiz - as usual there are 25 points up for grabs. Let me know how you get on.

Today's Daily Mirror on the Belgian shootout (see Question 1)

1. What were the three words above the image on the front cover of this week’s Charlie Hebdo magazine?
Bonus: Name the French comedian who has been charged with glorifying terrorism after making a Facebook comment on the Charlie Hebdo attacks?
Bonus: Two suspected jihadists were killed in an anti-terror operation in which Belgian town?
2. On a visit to the Philippines Pope Francis, arguing that freedom of expression had its limits, said if someone said curse words against __ __ he could expect a punch. What are the missing two words?
3. Why were the neighbouring towns of Doro Baga and Baga in the headlines?
4. What is the name of the Pub Landlord’s party that declared it will stand in South Thanet?
Bonus: In his manifesto the Pub Landlord promised to do what to the Channel Tunnel?
5. Liverpudlian Matthew Doherty started a petition to complain about changes to the recipe for what?
6. According to researchers at Cambridge University, doing what every day could cut the risk of premature death by a third?
7. A man wielding a machete attacked a shopper in a Tesco supermarket in which town?
8. Who was caught on CCTV having an altercation with a man in a back street in Hampstead?
9. A car, loaded with gas canisters, was driven into the offices of which council?
10. Which currency soared by up to 30 per cent after the cap on its value against the Euro was abandoned?
11. The Oscar nominations were announced this week. Two films shared the most nominations, nine each. One was The Grand Budapest Hotel. What was the other?
Bonus: Which actress has been nominated for her 19th acting Oscar (best supporting actress for Into The Woods) breaking her own Academy Awards record?
12. Which football club sacked its European scout Torben Aakjaer for ‘offensive' posts on Facebook?
13. Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell scaled the Dawn Wall on El Capitan peak in which American national park?
14. Which author was taken to hospital after suffering a stroke?
15. The Education Secretary said children must learn to be bored and entertain themselves. Who is the Education Secretary?
16. Who said: 'It was banter in an odd situation, but I understand entirely I've upset a lot of people from everywhere in the world... I am not a racist. Never have been.’?
17. Snooker player Ronnie O'Sullivan scored his 776th career century to break whose all-time record?
18. Teacher Stuart Kerner was found guilty of sexual activity with a 16-year-old pupil. What sentence was he given?
19. Former Premier League footballer David Ginola announced his intention to stand for which position?
20. The European Court of Human Rights rejected a complaint over an article which accused who of being 'bloodthirsty cannibal'?


Answers here

Monday, 12 January 2015

Stephen Lawrence journalism scholarship



Today the Daily Mail and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust have launched two scholarships for would-be journalists. The Mail has long-supported the family of Stephen, who was murdered at 18 in 1993, and is now offering two places on its training scheme to two people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Since it was founded, the Trust has awarded more than 100 architecture bursaries, with many students going on to qualify as architects. I look forward to working with the successful applicants. Here's how to apply.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Test yourself with this week's news quiz

Last week everyone was so partied out that there were no newsquiz scores worth mentioning. Tsk, tsk, Since then, we have had another grim news week with one horrific story dominating. Dark days. It has not been easy viewing or reading this week ... but here's the quiz anyway. As usual there are 20 questions, with five bonuses, so 25 points in all. Let me know how you get on.


The Independent's front page on the Charlie Hebdo atrocities (Q1)
1. What was the name of the murdered editor of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo?
Bonus: What does Hebdo mean?
Bonus: Who was branded a moron after tweeting: 'If the people so violently shot down in Paris had guns, at least they would have had a fighting chance'?
2. On the same day as the Paris attack a suicide bomber killed 33 police cadets by driving a minibus packed with explosives into a police academy in which country?

3. Verlin Rainwater Solutions and Nando’s threatened to withdraw their support from what?
4. Ed Miliband said: 'We will win this election, not by buying up thousands of poster sites, but by having millions of ...' What?
Bonus: The Conservatives launched a poster featuring a road to recovery. Where was the original photograph of the road believed to have been taken?
5. What was the dominant colour at the third day of the Australia v India test match in Sydney?
6. Tesco announced plans to close how many unprofitable stores?
7. Northern General Hospital in Sheffield asked which charity to operate two ambulances amid 'unprecedented pressure’ in its A&E department?
Bonus: Labour's shadow health secretary said a co-ordinated plan was urgently needed to address a 'rapidly deteriorating position in the NHS’. Who is the shadow health secretary?
8. What did Virginia Roberts say happened to her 13 years ago?
9. What happened to Hoegh Osaka?
10. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has signed an 18-month contract with which football club?
11. Accusations of rape against the Tory MP for Wrekin were dropped as there was ‘insufficient evidence’. Name him.
12. Which country’s elections, which saw armed policemen at every polling station, resulted in a surprise change of president?
13. Aldi withdrew Choceur Treasures after what was found in a batch of chocolate bars?
14. Thousands of passengers faced delays at which airport after people arriving on a Ryanair flight went through an exit door which was 'left open in error'?
15. What will traffic police in Manila be required to wear when the Pope visits the Philippines next week? 
16. Ray McFall died this week. Which famous music venue did he once own?
17. Why was Elliott Spencer in the headlines? 
18. Gary Anderson became World Champion at what?
19. What was 14-year-old Ben Azarya given by a man he helped on a train in Cumbria?
20. Why did 16-year-old Adam Greenwood tweet to Virgin Trains while he was travelling from Euston to Glasgow?

Answers here

Thursday, 8 January 2015