Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Those Top Ten Journal Moments

My old colleague Graeme Whitfield recently celebrated ten years on the staff of Newcastle's Journal by naming his ten most memorable Journal moments on his blog.

I well remember hearing about some of the hilarious newsroom incidents he describes although being based down in Westminster I unfortunately never witnessed them in person.

Anyway, even though I only managed seven and a half years on the staff, Graeme's piece has inspired me to do the same and list my own Top Ten Journal Moments.

Here they are.

1. Going more than 40 hours without sleep as New Labour came to power on 1/2 May 1997. I was officially on duty in Newcastle from 2pm on May 1 and we wrapped up the final edition of our election special 14 hours later at around 4am. I then caught the first train down to London and was outside No 10 for Blair's triumphal arrival later that morning. It was exhausting, but the sense of watching history in the making was intoxicating.

2. Sitting in the Commons Chamber in March 2003 and listening to Robin Cook's masterful resignation speech.

3. Being on Prime Minister John Major's plane during the 1997 election campaign when smackhead novelist Will Self was caught jacking up in the toilets mid-flight. We were en route to a photocall with Margaret Thatcher in Middlesbrough.

4. Falling asleep in a fishing boat moored on Brighton Beach after a rather heavy night during a Lib Dem Conference. It was a long walk back to my hotel and the boat seemed a rather comfy place to lay my tired head.

5. Having an argument over the phone with my old editor about how much space to give Labour conference coverage which culminated in him threatening to "fill the paper with pictures of Kylie's arse" instead. I was laughing so much I couldn't think of a witty response.

6. Cherie Blair's attempts to get me to go soft on her husband after I interviewed him during the 2001 election campaign by sharing a bag of chips with me and telling me what a great paper The Journal was. Or maybe she was just being nice.

7. Alastair Campbell accusing me during a lobby briefing of having asked the Governor of the Bank of England whether he had stopped beating his wife. Being subjected to a full-frontal personal attack by Campbell signified your arrival as a lobby hack and, for me, this was the best bit of the whole Eddie George saga.

8. Spotting a North-East government minister lighting-up on the Commons Terrace in 1997 a few days after his press officer had told me he had given up smoking.

9. My ingenuous wife handing Nick Robinson her mobile phone so he could snap a picture of the two of us together outside No 10 following a Downing St reception. To his eternal credit, he took it.

10. A Labour press officer's unusual reaction when I told him Peter Mandelson had been involved in a traffic accident in his constituency in 1997. The accident turned out to be quite minor, but the press officer in question was so alarmed he spontaneously cracked one off.

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Obnoxio The Clown said...

the press officer in question was so alarmed he spontaneously cracked one off

Not the wrist, I hope!

Oli said...

Point 5 - No chance of some pictures of Kylie's arse on here, I suppose? Didn't think so.

Never mind, here's a good 'un (supplied by that well respected news agency Ananova.)


Anonymous said...

Paul you're going to have to explain number 10 properly.

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