Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Guardian Lost £26.4 Million Last Year

Guardian News & Media (GNM), publishers of the Guardian and the Observer increased operating losses to £26.4m. The parent owners GMG would also have reported operating losses of £24.8 million were it not for the £334.8m sale of a 49.9% stake in Auto Trader, to Ronnie Cohen’s evil capitalist private equity vultures, Apax Partners. The online arm’s separate Guardian Unlimited identity has been dropped (it was more unkindly known by some as “Guardian Unlimited Losses”).

Incidentally the annual report reveals they paid £15.3 million in taxes last year despite claiming a group profit before taxation of £306.4 million after the sale of Auto Trader. GMG have always been adept at using the Scott Trust and other dodges to minimise tax charges. Guido congratulates them on achieving an effective tax rate 4.99%. Remember that the next time Polly Toynbee calls for higher taxes and everyone to pay a fair share.

Controversial Smith Institute trustee and Chairman of the Guardian Media Group Paul Myners warned: “We expect the uncertainty within the UK economy to have an impact on a number of the group’s revenue streams in the coming year.” Translation : we will lose more money next year.

Incidentally, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger got by on a total compensation package of a mere £544000 up from £473,000 last year. A 15% increase as a reward for losing £26.4 million – no belt tightening for him.

Handy having your friends, rather than shareholders, decide your pay isn’t it?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Is it Silly Season Yet?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mirror Does Dave a Favour, Yeah Right…

Guido isn’t the only one suspicious of the Mirror’s recovery of Dave’s nicked bike, plus their fortuitous video footage of him looking stunned when it was nicked. They have been following him around on his bike in the past, videoing him jumping red lights. They have also rooted around in his dustbins to find out if he used disposable nappies.

Wouldn’t be a great leap of the imagination for them to come up with the “nick his bike” wheeze – would it? This is the paper that put faked up photos of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners on the front page…

Friday, July 25, 2008

New York Times Mediasaur Downgraded to Junk

Warren Buffet famously said the internet was good for capitalism, not capitalists. The New York Times is supposedly the world’s premier newspaper and is learning the meaning of that truth. The internet will kill newspapers, Guido has been telling sceptical dead tree hacks this for years. The Guardian’s expensive shiny new HQ being built in Kings Cross will be a museum eventually. This affirmation has come across the wire

NEW YORK (Standard & Poor’s)– Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services today placed its ratings for The New York Times Co., including the ‘BBB-‘ corporate credit rating, on CreditWatch with negative implications.

Just in case some old hacks from the non-profit sector of journalism don’t understand what that means, Guido will spell it out slowly – the “Gray Lady” is going to non-investment “junk” status. J – U – N – K. 98 Pulitzer prizes, “All the news that’s fit to print” and they are trying to cut costs to survive. Blogalypse.

The Dead Tree Press is a dead industry walking. It is not a twenty first century business model: slaughter half a forest of trees, pay NUJ rates for news gathering, sub-editing, laying out, employing friend’s children, transferring ink onto aforesaid trees, then pay people to work all night sending the slices of dead trees around the country in the dark on lorries. Finally when you get to the point of collecting some money, split the sales revenue with the people who take the money. It is laughable.

Last year the Guardian, Independent and Telegraph all lost money, there is a good chance they will repeat the feat again this year. That is not business, that is vanity publishing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Snobby Guardianista Blogger Thrown Out After Calling Glasgow East Cafe "Greasy Spoon"

Guardianista Helene Mulholland is live blogging Glasgow East today (yawn), there is one good entry in the otherwise tedious reportage:
12.45pm I’m in a greasy spoon in Shettleston Road. The woman serving chides one of the customers who fesses up to not having voted.

2pm An important note Apologies to Daddyo’s (the cafe I mentioned earlier). The owner is very upset to hear that I referred to it as a “greasy spoon” – so much so that he kicked me out!

Wireless connections mean that one can blog and make yourself unwelcome anywhere. Well done Daddyo…

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sub-Standard

As sent to Times sub-editors:

From : Giles Coren

Chaps,

I am mightily pissed off. I have addressed this to Owen, Amanda and Ben because I don’t know who i am supposed to be pissed off with (i’m assuming owen, but i filed to amanda and ben so it’s only fair), and also to Tony, who wasn’t here – if he had been I’m guessing it wouldn’t have happened.

I don’t really like people tinkering with my copy for the sake of tinkering. I do not enjoy the suggestion that you have a better ear or eye for how I want my words to read than I do. Owen, we discussed your turning three of my long sentences into six short ones in a single piece, and how that wasn’t going to happen anymore, so I’m really hoping it wasn’t you that fucked up my review on saturday.

It was the final sentence. Final sentences are very, very important. A piece builds to them, they are the little jingle that the reader takes with him into the weekend.

I wrote: “I can’t think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for a nosh.”
it appeared as: “I can’t think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for nosh.”

There is no length issue. This is someone thinking “I’ll just remove this indefinite article because Coren is an illiterate Hunt and i know best”.

Well, you fucking don’t.

This was shit, shit sub-editing for three reasons.

1) ‘Nosh’, as I’m sure you fluent Yiddish speakers know, is a noun formed from a bastardisation of the German ‘naschen’. It is a verb, and can be construed into two distinct nouns. One, ‘nosh’, means simply ‘food’. You have decided that this is what i meant and removed the ‘a’. I am insulted enough that you think you have a better ear for English than me. But a better ear for Yiddish? I doubt it. Because the other noun, ‘nosh’ means “a session of eating” – in this sense you might think of its dual valency as being similar to that of ‘scoff’. you can go for a scoff. or you can buy some scoff. the sentence you left me with is shit, and is not what i meant. Why would you change a sentnece aso that it meant something i didn’t mean? I don’t know, but you risk doing it every time you change something. And the way you avoid this kind of fuck up is by not changing a word of my copy without asking me, okay? it’s easy. Not. A. Word. Ever.
2) I will now explain why your error is even more shit than it looks. You see, i was making a joke. I do that sometimes. I have set up the street as “sexually-charged”. I have described the shenanigans across the road at G.A.Y.. I have used the word ‘gaily’ as a gentle nudge. And “looking for a nosh” has a secondary meaning of looking for a blowjob. Not specifically gay, for this is soho, and there are plenty of girls there who take money for noshing boys. “looking for nosh” does not have that ambiguity. the joke is gone. I only wrote that sodding paragraph to make that joke. And you’ve fucking stripped it out like a pissed Irish plasterer restoring a renaissance fresco and thinking jesus looks shit with a bear so plastering over it. You might as well have removed the whole paragraph. I mean, fucking christ, don’t you read the copy?
3) And worst of all. Dumbest, deafest, shittest of all, you have removed the unstressed ‘a’ so that the stress that should have fallen on “nosh” is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you’re winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can’t you hear? Can’t you hear that it is wrong? It’s not fucking rocket science. It’s fucking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and i have never ended on an unstressed syllable. Fuck. fuck, fuck, fuck.

I am sorry if this looks petty (last time i mailed a Times sub about the change of a single word i got in all sorts of trouble) but i care deeply about my work and i hate to have it fucked up by shit subbing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Brogan’s Boob Blogging

The Daily Mail’s politicial editor, Ben Brogan has a very dry blog, read widely in the Westminster Village. It has never had much of a popular following for some reason. Here however is his excellent report on the flight arrangements for the PM’s visit to Tokyo. Guido welcomes his more populist style…

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Diarist’s Dilemma

About this time on a Sunday the hacks on the Evening Standard’s Londoner’s Diary and Peter McKay’s Ephraim Hardcastle in the Daily Mail will be looking for stories for next week.

Last week, as in many weeks past, they cut ‘n pasted from Guido, they are nowadays the only remaining diarists left who still do this. This piss taking thieving has gone on for years. Harry Phibbs actually sells stories he has lifted from here to other diaries. Sebastian Shakespeare told Guido he “doesn’t give a f**k” he has space to fill. If they carry on doing it, they will be subject to unconventional and asymmetric warfare. Guido does vendetta with a capital V…

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pink ‘Un Euromania is Unhinged

Like many in the City, Guido reads the FT for the markets section and the excellent arts section. The political commentary however is often woeful – it is like the Indy in pink. This morning the leader castigates Cameron for a lack of hard policy positions. Fair enough. It also has this barking Europhile non-sequitur:

Mr Cameron has rightly said he wants to tackle global challenges, such as climate change and migration. To succeed, he must work closely with the European Union. This will be difficult if he is also pandering to the eurosceptic right of his party by pledging to pull out of the EU’s main centre-right grouping.

What difference does it make to global warming if the Euro-Tories agree their line with the French centre-right party or the Czech centre-right party? Mad.

Rupert Murdoch has bought the Wall Street Journal, if the European edition of the WSJ sources more editorial content locally, many in the City will switch, since the FT has already become the preferred journal of record for the Brussels bureaucracy, the WSJ could become the preferred reading of the Square Mile and the business community, which is overwhelmingly wary of Brussels. The FT’s centrist establishment tone alienates more readers than it pleases, many of whom feel they have to read the paper on sufferance. Somehow Guido doubts Murdoch’s WSJ will be Europhile…

UPDATE : ConservativeHome reminds us that Dan Hannan described the FT as the Eurocrats paper.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bankrupting The Guardian

Guido has always believed that the nature of the statist BBC and the non-profit making culture of the Guardian encourages a statist and non-profit making culture to dominate the thinking of the political class. These two media organisations of course see themselves as providing intellectual and moral leadership. The knee jerk “government must do something” attitude of the two organisations supports the statist consensus. Breaking that consensus is an essential condition for the post-bureaucratic age.

Crucial to creating an enterprise culture and undoing the all-party, semi-socialist culture which prevails in Britain is shattering this media hegemony. Reducing the scope of the BBC is essential to this long term goal. The BBC is the primary reason Britain does not have a Silicon Valley culture, the multi-billion pound tax subsidy crowds out competition, undermines innovation and makes it impossible for rivals to compete profitably. The Tories are only tentatively thinking about “harm reduction” policies towards the BBC. The Guardian is far more vulnerable…

The Guardian is financed by a charitable trust (ironically taking advantage of tax exemptions) the two main sources of income supporting that trust are the profits from Auto Trader and the public sector advertising that fills page after page of the newspaper. One of the first thing the Tories should do in power is set up http://www.jobs.gov.uk. All available public sector positions would be listed there free of charge, this would save hundreds of millions in advertising costs for the taxpayer and deprive the Guardian of a critical revenue stream.

The second income stream has always been vulnerable to competition. Auto Trader profits have financially supported the salaries of the journalists who write environmentalist anti-car editorials in the Guardian. Now a group of former journalists from Autocar Magazine and Auto Express magazines have launched an online-only magazine Drivers-Republic.com. With a bit of luck it will be a deadly competitor to Auto Trader…

Without the taxpayer subsidy and the profits from Auto Trader, the Guardian could go the way of the Morning Star. Once it was deprived of subsidy, after the fall of the Soviet Union, it became an irrelevance.

UPDATE : Tim Montgomerie emails to tell me it is already Conservative Party policy to bankrupt the Guardian.


Seen Elsewhere

Bercow ‘Wounded’ | Speccie
This Goes Further Than Rotherham | Simon Danczuk
Bercow Mocked | Times
Indy Deletes ‘Jewish Lobby’ Headline | MediaGuido
Cracknell v Boris | Sun
British Muslims are Failing to Integrate | Dan Hodges
Dear Sarah Wollaston… | ASI
Treatment of Ashya King’s Family Authoritarian | Brendan O'Neill
Stop the War Should Disband | Rob Marchant
State Should Not Act as Parent | Kathy Gyngell
Guido’s Column | Sun


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We also need Zil lanes.


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