Friday, 5 February 2016

Test your news knowledge with the quiz

The best score in last week’s quiz was a very impressive 18 by Alex Richman. Well done to him. Other good scores were 17 by the Grey Cardigan, 16.5 by both Fiona Roberts and Janet Boyle, 16 by Damon Wake, 14 by ‘The subeditor’ and Ben Jackson and 13 by Amalia Illgner. Here are this week’s questions. As usual there are 25 points up for grabs. Let me know how you get on.


 Wogan and Europe dominated this week's news (Question 1 and 2)


1. The draft agreement on a new EU settlement was published by the president of the European Council. Name him. Bonus: Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Commons that David Cameron had just a fortnight to 'salvage his reputation as a __________’. What is the missing word?
2. In which Irish city was Terry Wogan born? Bonus: Wogan’s fan club are called the TOGs. What, exactly, does it stand for? Bonus: Who described Wogan as his ‘radio dad’?
3. Why was Roger Gower in the headlines?
4. Former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo said: 'I have news and unfortunately it is not good.’ What was he talking about?
5. Nations meeting in London pledged to help Syrians affected by the five-year conflict. How much money did they agree by the end of the conference?
6. Whose family said goodbye to 'a wonderful father, loving grandfather and a damn fine actor’?
7. What did David Beckham buy for paramedic Catherine Maynard and her patient after he spotted them waiting for an ambulance?
8. What did Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington say was more painful than child birth?
9. Six precincts at the Iowa Caucus were dead heats between Democrat candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. How were the results decided?  Bonus:  Adele joined a long list of musicians, including Neil Young, REM and Aerosmith, in doing what?
10. What is former Friends actor Matt LeBlanc going to be doing from May?
11. The World Health Organisation advised countries not to accept what from people who had travelled to Zika-affected regions?
12. Four British servicemen, who became the first team of amputees to row across the Atlantic, were known as Team _____. What is the missing word?
13. British tourist Gareth Crowe was killed after being trampled and gored by an elephant in which country?
14. Which British football manager said: 'I won’t sleep well tonight’? Bonus: Where will Pep be taking over from Pell?
15. A death certificate on Lord Lucan was issued 42 years after he vanished when his children's nanny was bludgeoned to death in London. What was the name of the nanny?
16. Which company become the world’s most valuable after its global revenues rose 13 per cent to $75billion (£52billion)?
17. Tareena Shakil, who took her 14-month-old son to Syria to join IS, was jailed for how long?
18. Sir David Dalton wrote 45,000 letters in a direct personal appeal to who?
19. Why did three people win a paperweight and a copy of codebreaker Alan Turing's biography, as well as 'major bragging rights'?
20. A  government minister had to calm France’s nerves over proposed changes to, among other things, the onion. What was the suggested change to the onion?

Answers here

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Newspapers in 2016: The bright spots


It is no secret that newspapers are anticipating a tough time in 2016. There will be a continued squeeze on revenues and circulations, titles will close, dailies will go weekly and more mergers seem inevitable. Turning digital into a meaningful business, while maintaining profits and keeping print strong, is the challenge facing everyone. Most of the regional editors I speak to are showing no signs of discarding their hard-hats just yet. As Dominic Fitzpatrick, MD of the Irish News, says: 'Difficulty is the new norm'. But it isn't all doom and gloom. There is also growth and innovation. The quality frees, Metro and the Evening Standard, are thriving, MailOnline is a soaraway success, campaigning and investigative journalism is on the rise and some titles continue to prosper. At the end of last year I spoke to editors, MDs, academics and consultants about what they expected 2016 to bring. The resulting article is published in this month's InPublishing magazine. Read it here. I am not saying it will cheer you up ... but there are some bright spots. Honestly.

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