2018 archive

The editors of the Daily Express and Daily Star have resigned just one day after Trinity Mirror completed its £200m takeover of Richard Desmond’s national newspapers.

Hugh Whittow, who has edited the Daily Express since 2011, and Daily Star editor Dawn Neesom, the longest serving female national newspaper editor, have announced they are leaving.

Whittow, 65, is retiring and Neesom, 53, plans to pursue a career in freelance writing and broadcasting.

Gary Jones, 53, editor of the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, has been appointed editor-in-chief of the Daily Express.

Daily Mirror editor Peter Willis takes on the editorship of the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People.

Alison Phillips, editor of the short-lived New Day newspaper has been appointed editor of the Daily Mirror.

Daily Mirror associate editor Jon Clark is the new editor-in-chief of the Daily Star.

Martin Townsend remains as Sunday Express editor and Stuart James continues as editor of the Daily Star Sunday.

In other senior editorial changes Sunday Mirror and Sunday People deputy editor Caroline Waterston has been appointed deputy editor-in-chief across the Express and Star titles.

Michael Booker remains in his role of deputy editor of the Daily Express while Bill Izzard continues as Daily Star deputy editor.

New Express editor-in-chief Gary Jones has had surgery for testicular cancer. Read his story here.

The Competition and Markets Authority has announced that it intends to probe the takeover, which could raise issues of competition and market share issues.

It issued an initial enforcement order requiring that the two businesses operate as standalone entities for an extended period of time before allowing the takeover to happen.

Porky Parry’s scratchings, enjoy them with a snort

Sometimes the truth can be stranger than fiction. Former Daily Express news editor Mike Parry, now a star of TalkSPORT radio, has lent his name to a toothsome snack, the ideal accompaniment to a snorterino deluxe.

You can buy this delicious salty treat, 10 bags for a tenner while stocks, last HERE. Don’t all rush.

A £127million Mirror deal to buy Richard Desmond’s Express publishing empire has at last been sealed.

Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Labour-supporting Daily and Sunday Mirror as well as the Sunday People, had been in talks to buy Mr Desmond’s Brexit-supporting Express and Star titles since autumn last year.

The bad news is there will be job cuts, particularly as back office operations are merged but editorial will also be hit. 

The good news is that £71.4million will eventually be paid into the Express pension schemes. 

Trinity Mirror shares ended up nearly 10 per cent on Friday.

The deal will be put to TM shareholders on February 28 with the agreement sealed the following day.

It is thought Alison Phillips, former editor of Trinity Mirror’s short-lived new national newspaper, New Day, could take over as editor of the Daily Express. She is currently editor-in-chief of the Mirror titles.

Hopefully a new editor will result in the Daily Express splashing on real news stories rather than the weather forecast or the latest crank cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

The deal to buy Mr Desmond’s Northern & Shell company includes the Daily and Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday, magazines OK!, New! and Star and a 50 per cent share in the Irish Daily Star.

The deal was sealed after an agreement was struck over the pension issue. Trinity Mirror shares stood at 76.50 at 4.35pm yesterday, up 6.70 (9.60 per cent).

Simon Fox, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, said: "Northern & Shell's titles have a large and loyal readership, a growing digital presence and a stable revenue mix and offer an excellent fit with Trinity Mirror."

He told BBC's Today programme: "It's a very wise investment. We've had plenty of time to think about this carefully."

The deal would lead to cost savings, as the titles could pool their resources. "For example, [instead of] sending two reporters to a football game, we can send one.” 

Trinity Mirror expects the deal to lead to savings of £20m a year.

Mr Fox pledged that the publications would retain their identities: "The Daily Express is not going to become left-wing and the Mirror is not going to become right-wing."

Two major Mirror shareholders warned last month against the takeover after suggesting that Trinity Mirror could be paying too much.

Mr Desmond, chairman of Northern & Shell, said: "The Express Newspapers and our celebrity magazine titles have been a key part of the Northern & Shell portfolio for many years, and I am immensely proud of building them into one of the largest newspaper and magazine groups in the UK.

"Today's transformational transaction is a logical and natural next step in the evolution and consolidation of the media sector and will create a larger and stronger platform serving all stakeholders.

"In Trinity Mirror we have a great partner, who will be an excellent steward of the business going forward and I am delighted to be able to retain an ongoing interest in the combined group."

Under the new terms Mr Desmond is in line to get a cash payment of £42million, plus £20million in Trinity Mirror shares, £60 million in deferred payments between now and 2023, and £5million related to approvals by Irish regulators.

A further £41.2million will go into the Express pension schemes followed by extra payments of £29.2million as part of the scheme’s recovery plan.

The Express is currently edited by High Whittow, 64, who succeeded Peter Hill in 2011.The paper’s first woman editor was Rosie Boycott who resigned shortly after Richard Desmond bought Express Newspapers for £125million in 2000.


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Christiansen’s biggest mistake: His 'peace in our time' front page

dx-peace med hr

Legendary Daily Express editor Arthur Christiansen was very proud of this page when he drew it in 1938. The splash headline was more than two inches deep, the biggest type ever used in a newspaper at the time.

The report praised Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for his ‘peace in our time’ agreement with Adolf Hitler at the notorious Munich conference. It turned out to be Christiansen’s — and Chamberlain’s — biggest mistake. 

Back in 2007 Tim Walker wrote an excellent review of Christiansen’s autobiography Headlines All My Life. 
Read the review here

© 2005-2018 Alastair McIntyre