2019 January- June

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ANOTHER body blow has been dealt to Express staff  after plans were announced to halve jobs on the Sunday paper.

The move, which reduces staff numbers to less than 10 follows cuts under Mirror publisher Reach, which bought the Express and Star titles last year as part of a £128m deal.

Sunday Express Martin Townsend, who was sacked last year after 17 years, has not been replaced.

In another development, Reach has confirmed the Daily and Sunday Express news teams will move to join the Mirror at Canary Wharf while the Mirror sport desk and magazine and supplement teams will be based at the Express offices at Lower Thames Street.

Several senior journalists have left the Sunday Express, including arts editor Clair Woodward, picture editor Jim Selby and a news reporter, according to Press Gazette.

The paper’s assistant editor James Murray and diarist Adam Helliker have both moved over to the Daily Express, while travel editor Jane Memmler has been appointed deputy travel editor for the whole group.

Following the departure of  Martin Townsend, who left to join a PR firm last August, the paper has been edited by Michael Booker in his role as weekend editor and deputy editor.

One source said: “The paper is run by a sort of communist committee of [Express editor] Gary [Jones] at the top, deputy [editor] Caroline Waterston and under them is Michael Booker.”

There are rumours of another wave of redundancies in April, with the Sunday Express potentially to be further affected.

The source predicted  the “virtual amalgamation” of the Daily and Sunday Express and said Mirror journalists would also increasingly be writing for the Express when news teams occupy the same building.

The atmosphere in the newsroom is still toxic. “Express staff very much feel second best to Mirror and People employees.”

The source added: “No-one can quite work out what the game  plan is. It’s very odd to have bought the whole thing and shave all the talent off. It makes for a homogenous group of papers with no real character.”

Another source said: “The old Mirror people come first. There aren’t many Express people left who have an executive role – they have got rid of them now.

“The Sunday Express is losing its identity and that’s a bit of a shame. The new management are trying to keep their readership, but they don’t understand what it is. How many more interviews with Joan Collins can you have?

“Sunday papers need a particular identity and when all the teams merge as one we lose that.

“Although I didn’t love the Sunday Express’ politics, it did have an arm around the shoulder flavour. It’s now going for these fear stories. Older readers want something a bit nicer than that.”

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We are sad to report the death of Marie Louise Windeler, star of a famous 1971 Coca-Cola TV advert and a former secretary on the Daily Express William Hickey desk. She was 65.

Marie Louise, who had been suffering from dementia, was known as O’lene on the Express and has been described as “a joyous presence”. After she left the Express in the 1970s she had a glittering career in public relations.

She leaves a husband Henry, children Holly and Alice, two sisters Victoria and Juliette and a brother Rupert.

Donations to Race Against Dementia gratefully received at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MarieLouiseWindeler

*The television commercial in which Marie Louise appeared was the groundbreaking “Buy the World a Coke" ad which became so popular that the New Seekers re-recorded it as the pop song I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony) which became a big hit in the UK and the US.

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DAILY DRONE

MEMORANDUM

To: Lord Drone

From: Women’s Department 

CC: the Editor

Date: 04.03.2019

Your Grace,

Is there any chance your lordship could introduce a Forced Hugging Policy on the Daily Drone? We feel that it would enhance our working environment and raise morale on the editorial floor, especially if that hunk Muldoon were involved.

We assure you of our respectful and undivided loyalty at all times.


DAILY DRONE

MEMORANDUM

From the desk of Lord Drone

To: Women’s Department 

From: His lordship’s personal assistant

CC: the Editor

Date: 04.03.2019

His lordship has asked me to inform you that to volunteer for a Forced Hugging Policy on the Daily Drone is, manifestly, an oxymoron and, consequently, your request is denied. Although Lord Drone acknowledges your expression of loyalty, he instructs you to get on with your work.

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© 2005-2019 Alastair McIntyre