A busy day at the Society of Editors conference in Belfast yesterday included a session on ‘Maintaining standards’, so it was sweet to see a missing apostrophe in the following notice displayed to delegates on two huge screens for 15 minutes.
Newcastle Chronicle editor Darren Thwaites told a great story during a SoE reception last night.
Recalling his days as deputy editor at the Evening Express in Aberdeen, Darren described a colleague’s visit to a newsagents on a remote Scottish island and his request to buy a copy of the sister Press and Journal title.
With a canny look, the newsagent asked: “Would that be today’s Journal or yesterday’s Journal you require?”
“Today’s, please,” answered the puzzled hack.
“Well you’ll have to come back tomorrow then,” came the deadpan reply.
Talking of the Press and Journal, editor Damian ‘Dennis the Menace’ Bates left conference smiling after winning what was said to be a £40 bet for charity.
Just before he walked on stage to speak yesterday afternoon, his drinking pals bet him that he couldn’t use the words ‘kumquat’ and ‘t’interweb’.
As those present will remember, he quickly used both words in some sort of strange layman’s context, and “easy money!” were his next utterances back at the bar.
What a generous lot delegates were with the Journalists’ Charity collection boxes on tables at last night’s Annual Gala Dinner.
A grand total of £1,813.02 was declared at the end of the evening… now come on, chaps, who put tuppence in?
Finally, a quick note on the make up of the 202 registered delegates, speakers and hosts attending this year’s conference.
Around 30 were serving editors of recognised UK newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies and Internet sites; of these, 21 were regional newspaper editors; and just four were national newspaper editors – two from The Independent and i, and two from the Irish and Scottish editions of the Daily Mail.
There were a number of working journalists, especially from the Belfast Telegraph and other local media, but at least 60pc were lawyers, academics, marketing executives, retired editors and assorted sponsors.
Given Leveson, impending state regulation, Newsnight, ethics and all, I just thought those statistics were worth noting.