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Dyson in Glasgow: Spy comes in from the cold

There was bubbly, then ‘Russian Winter Punch’ made with premium Smirnoff vodka, followed by a big, bad bar session at The Grand Hotel, Glasgow.

And as 220+ delegates at the Society of Editors Conference awoke to fried bacon, they shook heads at emerging hangovers and considered the reality of what had been witnessed.

From precisely 7.03pm yesterday, following a jocular Scottish welcome by an avuncular Alex Salmond, they were wooed for an hour and seven minutes by a real, crew-cut, self-confessed former KGB agent.

He told us all – and the world via the Press Association – that all he lived and fought and strived for was to “expose corruption on a global scale”.

Fair enough… but what was really behind comrade Alexander Lebedev’s flirtation with the best, the smartest and most discerning editors currently living in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales?

Welcome Lisa Hagenmaier, ‘rights manager’ of Solo Syndication, attending the SoE conference to give cash-strapped regional editors an offer they just can’t refuse.

Lisa, a genuinely pleasant Australian in a scarlet woollen scarf, is here to tempt regional editors to subscribe to news, features and expert analysis from London’s Evening Standard, now owned by the aforementioned Lebedev.

Here’s the pitch: anyone wanting to taste and use the Standard’s copy, published or spiked, can do so FREE for a month’s trial.

Yep, speak to Lisa today or tomorrow and she can allow you agreed access to quality tales for a full month, in the hope that titles may be so impressed that they pay for this arrangement to continue.

Fill your boots, cash-strapped guys and gals, and share in the freedom of the press offered by our spy-come-friend, at least until Christmas.

Meanwhile, who travelled furthest to the God-forsaken sidings of Glasgow?

Well done Paul Francis, political editor of the Kent Messenger Group, a tedious seven-hour train journey; plaudits too for Alan Qualtrough from the Western Morning News, Plymouth; Richard Best of the West Briton, Truro; and Noel Doran of the Irish News, Belfast.

But before you get too carried away, spare a thought for Juanita Brock, the owner and operator of the Falkland Island News Network, who travelled an unimaginable 8,000+ miles over three long days and nights to be here via an RAF TriStar. Respect.

Check back here later for insight on who muttered what to whom today…

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  • November 15, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    They used to say in the Moscow that there was no Pravda in Izvestia and no Izvestia in Pravda — ‘pravda’ meaning ‘truth’ in Russian, and ‘izvestia’ translating as ‘news’. Just thought I’d mention it….

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