As reported widely elsewhere, at this link for example, owner of Express and Star newspapers and OK! magazine Richard Desmond, last week lost a libel action against Tom Bower, concerning a passage in the journalist’s unauthorised biography of Conrad Black published in 2007.
Here’s an extract from Bower’s account of the trial:
“The ‘forged’ letters incident was a glorious highlight. My letters in 2005 to Desmond asking for interviews were dismissed by Desmond as ‘forgeries’. Infuriated by Desmond’s audacity, I stood up while he was still giving evidence and signalled to my wife [former London Evening Standard editor, Veronica Wadley] seated behind to exit the court. One hour later, after a dash back to our Hampstead home, she returned clutching a recorded delivery letter sent in 2005 to Desmond’s home and returned by him unopened. For four years, it had been carefully preserved in a white filing cabinet in my study.”
Desmond, the owner of Express and Star newspapers, has lost his action against biographer Tom Bower – leaving him with an estimated £1.25 million legal bill, the Guardian reports.
The newspaper owner took the action over two pages of Bower’s unauthorised biography of Conrad Black in which he claimed Bower made him look like a ‘wimp’ and made allegations about his relationship as a newspaper rival to Black.
“On the other side of court 13, Bower smiled, and accepted a kiss from his solicitor. His two barristers embraced: for a defendant to win a libel case is an exceptionally rare thing,” writes Helen Pidd.
It’s hardly like newspaper jobs were all that secure anyway, but this month’s financial situation (something about a recession) hasn’t helped things either over the last couple of weeks.
This week news broke that two of the UK’s biggest-selling regional daily newspapers will cut 135 jobs.
The family run publishers Midland News Association are looking to merge their publications, the Express and Star and the Shropshire Star, with the aim of reducing costs by around £3 million a year.
After a decline in advertising revenue, the publishers considered it a necessary move, as reported over at the Guardian. There are plans to merge some parts of classified advertising, production and finance.
Press Gazette reported that despite the merger, both publications will maintain their individual identities, while also keeping separate editors and reporters.
At the beginning of last week we learnt that the Metro in Manchester will be axing ten jobs. It has since been announced that the jobs lost will be in editorial, sales and adminstration roles. The Liverpool office has been closed and relocated to Manchester.
Three of Trinity Mirror’s East Midlands publications ceased production last week, as reported over at Hold the Front Page: the 126-year-old Long Eaton Advertiser, The Nu News and The Long Eaton Trader. A distribution worker and 3 members of advertising were made redundant. Due to staff reassignments, no editorial job cuts were made.