“Talk to me Verizon” and they did! Finally.

Verizon Wireless, in the shape of lovely Customer Relations Specialist and part time goddess in human form, Veronica Murietta of Southern California, capitulated (I told them they would) and have settled with me. I wonder what made them change their mind? Was it logging my dispute about their Early Termination Charge on this blog and Twitter and LinkedIn AND Facebook. The risk of lost sales was way in excess of my $350 dispute. Who knows. But whatever it was, I made sure it was in their interest to settle ASAP. The consumer is king. Long Live the Consumer.

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Not a glimmer on my Verizon

Just wondering how many Verizon puns there are, sadly there aren’t that many. I am working on ‘Verizontal’ like horizontal but have not found a use for it yet. Any ideas?

Had a good response to my last post, it seems I am not alone with Verizon Wireless issues.

Update

Customer Service supervisor ‘Nicholas’ (really?) promised to ‘reach out to me’ within 72 hours, that was on 29th July, needless to say not a peep. (Bit like their mobile phone service round here) – but he did (very unintentionally) make me laugh. I told him, I was recording him, to which he replied he’d have to terminate the call.I reminded him he was recording my call, to which he said, “that is for training and quality purposes”

Background

For new readers, my complaint with Verizon Wireless is very simple. I am disputing their “early termination charge” of $350.

I am resident in England but have a holiday home on Long Island. In May I purchased a Verizon  iPhone 4 with an annual contract for my wife, . I made it clear she intended to use the phone on Long Island (631). To our dismay – there is no viable Verizon Wireless service at the house. This was catastrophic and caused us no end of problems. The only way we got a signal was to get in the car! After fruitless phonecalls and emails with Verizon Wireless, we had to ditch their phone and transfer to AT&T, which does work. Now Verizon Wireless are demanding an early termination charge (fine) even though they can’t provide me with a signal.

I don’t see why they should enforce their contract when they cannot provide me with service – which is after all the ONLY reason for going to them.

Lies

I am noting their ‘lies’ and will update you.

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A speck on the Verizon

Be very careful before entering into a Verizon Wireless mobile phone contract. Make sure they can provide a viable signal first. There is none here at my house on Long Island. Now they are trying to charge me a $350 Early Termination Charge, as if it was my fault. I will fight them. Its going to cost Verizon Wireless a lot more than $350 if they don’t back down. Watch this space. WFM78851694

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French Farce. Broadcast Regulator’s hilarious ‘Canute’ ban of the T and FB words!

Communiqués de presse

Renvoi sur les pages des réseaux sociaux : le CSA publie la lettre envoyée aux chaînes http://www.csa.fr/multi/index.php?l=uk

Date de publication sur le site : 6 juin 2011 tvradiocable

Afin de dissiper les malentendus, le Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel publie la lettre envoyée aux chaînes concernant son analyse sur la pratique fréquente pour une télévision ou une radio, consistant à renvoyer le téléspectateur ou l’auditeur vers les pages consacrées à ses émissions sur des réseaux sociaux tels que Facebook ou à réagir sur le réseau social Twitter.

Monsieur le Président,

Les réseaux sociaux font aujourd’hui partie intégrante de la vie quotidienne d’une part considérable de la population, qui les utilise régulièrement en tant qu’outils de communication. Il est tout à fait normal que les services de télévision souhaitent les intégrer
dans la conception de leurs programmes, ce dont le Conseil ne peut que se féliciter. Cela participe de l’enrichissement des émissions et permet une interactivité entre les téléspectateurs et les animateurs.

La pratique consistant à renvoyer les téléspectateurs sur un réseau social sans citer celui-ci est informative.

En revanche, les renvoyer sur ce réseau en le désignant nominativement revêt un caractère publicitaire, ce réseau émanant d’une société commerciale et sa dénomination étant déposée à titre de marque. Cette pratique contreviendrait aux dispositions de l’article 9 du décret n° 92-280 du 27 mars 1992 fixant les principes généraux définissant les obligations des  éditeurs de services en matière de publicité, de parrainage et de téléachat, selon lesquelles « la publicité clandestine est interdite. (…) constitue une publicité clandestine la présentation verbale ou visuelle de marchandises, de services, du nom, de la marque ou des activités d’un producteur de marchandises ou d’un prestataire de services dans des programmes, lorsque cette présentation est faite dans un but publicitaire ».

Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur le Président, l’expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs.

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Primark Stitched Up By Panorama says BBC Trust

For immediate release 16/06/11
Trust finds it ‘more likely than not’ that certain footage in Panorama programme on Primark was not authentic
The BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) has found that a Panorama programme ‘Primark: On the Rack’, broadcast in June 2008, breached the BBC Editorial Guidelines on accuracy and fairness.  The ESC considered an appeal from Primark about certain footage in the programme and has concluded it was ‘more likely than not’ that this footage was not genuine.  The ESC has directed the BBC to make an on-air apology.
The programme, which investigated Primark’s claims that it can deliver ‘cheap, fast fashion’ without breaking ethical guidelines, included footage obtained in a Bangalore workshop of three boys carrying out an activity described in the programme as ‘testing the stitching’ on Primark garments.
The ESC examined a substantial body of evidence including rushes tapes from the programme, emails to the UK programme team from the freelance journalist who obtained the Bangalore footage, and witness evidence.  The ESC has concluded that, although it was not able to say beyond reasonable doubt, it was more likely than not that the Bangalore footage was not genuine.
Read the press release and the ESC’s finding in full here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/news/press_releases/june/panorama.shtml
For further information contact the BBC Trust communications team on 0203 214 4946.
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Press Notice – Rachel Hood Chair of Save Historic Newmarket says cost of Derby Appeal shocking.

Press Release
SHNAG (Save Historic Newmarket Action Group)
May 31 2011
Chair of Save Historic Newmarket and President Elect of the Racehorse Owners Association, calls on Lord Derby to STOP STOP STOP his Planning Appeal.
• It’s the Derby on Saturday
• The prestigious Derby Dinner tomorrow (Wednesday) hosted by Lord Derby
• One year since the Newmarket (FHDC) councillors threw out Lord Derby’s massive Hatchfield Farm development scheme (2 June 2010)
In this important week, RACHEL HOOD – Chair of Save Historic Newmarket (SHNAG) and President Elect of the Racehorse Owners Association, calls on Lord Derby to STOP STOP STOP his Planning Appeal.
“The money it’s costing the Council, the people and businesses of Newmarket to stop him concreting Hatchfield Farm is simply shocking.” says Rachel Hood, Newmarket’s newest elected district Councillor, “it makes me so upset! This money should be going to vital community services! Not wasted on legal bills. If he (Lord Derby) really wants to do something for Newmarket as he claims, then he must stop now – before a million pounds is squandered. ”
SHNAG won at Judicial Review in March and now will raise still more thousands to fight his Planning Appeal on behalf of the people of Newmarket.
Cllr Hood, elected to Forest Heath District Council on a wave of popular support in May, has spent three years leading efforts to stop Lord Derby building his new town on a greenfield site in this world famous Suffolk horse racing and breeding centre. She says the four week Appeal Hearings due to start on July 12th will cost Save Historic Newmarket Action Group in excess of £150,000, on top of the £75,000 spent on their victorious Judicial Review in March.
In addition to SHNAG, other parties who must be legally represented at the Appeal Hearings to fight Lord Derby’s application, are Forest Heath District Council, Suffolk County Council (both funded by local council tax payers), and an alliance of key Newmarket businesses including Jockey Club Estates Ltd, bloodstock auctioneers Tattersall’s, Darley and Godolphin racing stables and the Newmarket Trainers Federation . It is estimated these legal fees could exceed one million pounds.
The Appeal Hearings are due to continue until September. Te Inspector’s report goes to the Secretary of State Eric Pickles in October.
Notes to Editors
Lord Derby, 47, who lives near Liverpool, owns 167 acre Hatchfield Farm in Newmarket. He has applied to build over one thousand houses (1200) and 36,000 sq meters of commercial units on this important greenfield site. In the face of overwhelming local resistance, his planning application was unanimously rejected last year. Lord Derby has defended the plans, insisting to local derision he would never do anything to jeopardise the racing industry in Newmarket.
Those opposed to the development say it will result in irreparable damage to the town, known as the HQ of British Racing.
Racing in Newmarket dates back to the 12th century. One in four of its population is employed in jobs connected to the racing industry. It is widely regarded as the birthplace of thoroughbred competition. Routes across this small Suffolk town allow horses and their riders to get to the gallops safely from their stables.
At the recent Judicial Review hearing in the High Court David Elvin QC, speaking for SHNAG told the court: “National and international racing interests are very concerned that the proposals for urban expansion will impact on Newmarket as a centre of racing excellence.”
The Men Only Derby Dinner tomorrow (Wednesday) hosted by Lord Derby was boycotted last year by  racing legend Sir Peter O’Sullevan, who held an alternative Derby dinner in protest at Lord Derby’s Hatchfield Farm Scheme.
John Stonborough FCIPR
John Stonborough & Co
T +44 207 371 9695
M +44 7771 893 683
PR for Save Historic Newmarket Action Group
Please follow Rachel Hood on Twitter @hoodrachel
www.historicnewmarket.co.uk
www.stonborough.com @stonborough
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Forgetful, Who? Me?

I have just done an on-line Alzheimer test- – give it a try www.foodforthebrain.org and click on Cognitive Function Test. I am happy to report I have a very low risk of going gaga
just yet.
I have just done an on-line Alzheimer test- – give it a try www.foodforthebrain.org and click on Cognitive Function Test. I am happy to report I have a very low risk of going gaga
just yet.
I have just done an on-line Alzheimer test- – give it a try www.foodforthebrain.org and click on Cognitive Function Test. I am happy to report I have a very low risk of going gaga
just yet.
I have just done an on-line Alzheimer test- – give it a try www.foodforthebrain.org and click on Cognitive Function Test. I am happy to report I have a very low risk of going gaga
just yet.

 

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Russia: The Wild East BBC R4

Are you enjoying Martin Sixsmith’s extraordinary polemic Russia: The Wild East, a thousand years of Russia’s history? It’s on BBC Radio 4, every weekday afternoon for five weeks. We are about three weeks in now and approaching 1917.
It is a remarkable journalistic tour de force. Sixsmith knows his stuff. He digs out bite-size historical highlights to prove a pointed message that no matter what else goes on in the world, the thing Russians do is Brutal Autocratic Rule. Чем больше все меняется…
If I have any criticism so far, it is that Sixsmith ignores the significance of the Russian Orthodox church on this cultish, devout and superstitious people; its reactionary ignorance, its tense relationship with the Tsars and the suppression of  literary thought and artistic freedom over centuries.
However, nobody, who isn’t tied to a bed, can tune-in at 3.45pm on 50 consecutive weekdays; so 15 minute catch-ups with the iPod, iPlayer and Bose dock are a must. And therein lies the problem. The audio quality is too good!
Instead of listening to the Sixsmith panorama, as vast as a painting of the Volga by Levitan or Repin, I find myself waiting for the next crashed edit, the next level-jump, the next ‘fake’ street FX.
I keep wondering if he really is where he says he is; in Kiev, St Petersburg or actually in the studios of Ladbroke Radio Productions Ltd? The clue is when a background sound effect fades but the commentary remains consistent with the studio ambiance.
I bet most people don’t notice. But, like HDTV, with the clarity of sound that’s easily achievable now, every blemish is visible to the naked ear.

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NO

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SM & Unintended Consequences

I spotted this on the LinkedIn Crisis Communication forum (re Using Social Media in a Crisis) by Bob Wade ex COI (lightly edited)

…. The University of East London and several other universities have been given permission to run a ‘Twitter Farm’ in a programme to study how social networks change/direct behaviour during a crisis.

They group the Twitter dynamics as:
Stage one – ‘Open’ – what’s going on? Includes a lot of opinion – ‘I think it’s because of this etc’
Stage two – ‘Directed’ – sharing hard information and insight with each other.
Stage three – ‘Comprehension’ – what does this mean for me/us, who’s fault is this – consequences/blame.

They are taking live incidents and monitoring speed and size and content of responses. They looked at the Cork air crash on 11 Feb this year in Ireland. The first mention on Facebook was ONE MINUTE after the crash. They recorded 243 tweets on the crash – the incident began at 9.50 am – the first tweet with CORRECT information did not appear until 11.51. So for two hours, false information was circulating.

The peak in the Twitter exchange for the Cork incident was Stage Two, which was about the time the correct information began to appear. The danger period is Stage One when people are giving uninformed opinions. This is the reason Emergency Planners are waking up to the social media – there have already been two major ‘Stage One’ incidents with serious consequences:

Love Parade, Germany – several people crushed to death after texts and tweets circulated that the quickest route out of the festival was through the tunnel, when officials were trying to get people to disperse evenly through several exits.

New York Grand Central Station evacuation – Police dealt with a small suspect package; a very minor incident. But people began tweeting that the station was being evacuated, even that bombs had gone off else where in the city (the source of this rumour turned out to be a steam valve burst in the Mayor’s office). So the whole place self evacuated – when police and railway officials asked where everyone was going, people would show them their tweets and the officials and police would join them – its on Twitter so it must be true!

So the buzz words now in the emergency planning community are ‘network innoculation’ (moving quick to counter false rumours)and ‘network seeding’ ( getting correct info into the mix asap).

But a lot of us in the emergency services and Resilience community are dinosaurs (including me) and don’t know how to rapidly use social media to affect behaviour change during a crisis. So I’m certainly beginning to advise organisations that, if they are ‘not yet with the programme’ on social media, they need to make arrangements in their Media Emergency Plans to bring social media experts in, so their organisation can ‘join the conversation’ when the proverbials hit the fan, and move it to Stage 2 as quickly as possible. Some of the emergency services do get it however – I was with Hertfordshire Police on Monday for an exercise, and they told me how they use Facebook to talk direct to suspects, even asking them to hand themselves in – and some of them do!

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Victory on the Newmarket Battlefield

Stunning High Court victory for Newmarket residents. Forest Heath Council and Lord Derby’s plan to concrete Newmarket greenfield legally flawed http://bbc.in/eEzS05

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Social Media Tools

Dr Claire Wardle

To get the best out of Social Media Tools quickly, this is a must : BBC College of Journalism tutor Dr Claire Wardle guides you through some of the major social media tools. http://bbc.in/9mDtKa

Claire Wardle is a freelance trainer and researcher, currently working with the BBC College of Journalism. She has developed and is currently facilitating a training workshop on social media for journalists, after undertaking a one-year research project about user generated content in BBC news. She was previously an academic at Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, where she still holds an honorary lecturer position. Claire completed an MA in American Politics and a PhD in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania.
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Just Jammin’

Jammy new client – Tiptree Jams http://bit.ly/fFM48n – maybe they’ll pay me in scones, clotted cream and Little Scarlet. Come to think of it, I could get everyone to pay ‘in kind’.
Fiat –  a 500 TwinAir,
Waitrose – ban my wife for a year.
Barclays – one of those Bonuses please
BAT – a packet of 20 shares a day.
Kellogg’s – (cupboard’s full already)
B&Q – …. and please send somebody to fit it.
Absolut – Skol!
Save Historic Newmarket – Victory
Swiss Re – whatever it is they do, I’d like lots.

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Ofcom’s new Broadcasting Code out today

Ofcom’s new Broadcasting Code takes effect today. It sets rules for TV and radio broadcasts, and replaces the previous version. The full Code and Guidance Notes can be found here: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/broadcast-codes/broadcast-code/

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Very Mature Student

Just when many men my age are Grandads, I am to be an Undergrad Dad doing English Language (Linguistics) and Communication at Kings College, London University for the next three years.

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Co-operating Fully

Wellington College

The deputy headmaster of Wellington College told The Times (10/2/2011) “ The college immediately informed the police and social services that the allegation had been made and have been co-operating fully throughout their enquiry”.  I suspect he may not have said anything of the sort. It sounds  like a typical PR holding statement, as it contains both a grammatical error (has not have, surely?) and a cliché ‘co-operating fully’ in the same sentence.
I have no doubt that Wellington College has/have been co-operating fully, as the opposite, ‘obstructing the police fully’ seems unlikely.
But I try to avoid buffing statements with hyperbole. Adverbs like immediately, prompt the question – how immediately? One hour? One day? Only after a week of ‘OMG what shall we do’? I’d steer clear of ‘co-operating fully’ too. Shady businessmen say it, as they reach for a whole box of Kingsley Napley’s. It preceeds that oxymoron ‘assisting the police with their enquiries’.

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Know your Onions? – It’s Sergiev Posad.

Sergiev Posad Monastery north east of Moscow - JS 23/1/2011

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Looting Cairo Museum

Dr Zahi Hawass Egypt’s Antiquities Chief writes about looting and vandalism at the Cairo Museum http://bit.ly/igXca1 Due to the news and internet black out, he sent this out by fax.

The Situation in Egyptian Antiquities Today
On Friday, January 28, 2011, when the protest marches began in Cairo,
I heard that a curfew had been issued that started at 6.00pm on Friday
evening until 7.00am on Saturday morning.  Unfortunately, on that day
the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, was not well guarded.  About a thousand
people began to jump over the wall on the eastern side of the museum
into the courtyard.  On the western side of the museum, we recently
finished something I was very proud of, a beautiful gift shop,
restaurant and cafeteria. The people entered the gift shop and stole
all the jewellery and escaped; they thought the shop was the museum,
thank God!  However, ten people entered the museum when they found the
fire exit stairs located at the back of it.
As every one knows, the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, is naturally lit and
due to the architectural style of it, there are glass windows on its
roof.  The criminals broke the glass windows and used ropes to get
inside, there is a distance of four metres from the ceiling to the
ground of the museum.  The ten people broke in when I was at home and,
although I desperately wanted to go to the museum, I could not leave
my house due to the curfew.  In the morning, as soon as I woke up, I
went directly there.  When I arrived, I found out that, the night
before, three tourist police officers had stayed there overnight
because they were not able to get out before the curfew was put in
place.  These officers, and many young Egyptians who were also there,
helped to stop more people from entering the museum.  Thankfully, at
10.00pm on Friday night, the army arrived at the museum and gave
additional security assistance.

I found out that one criminal was still at the museum, too.  When he
had asked the people guarding the museum for water, they took his
hands and tied him to the door that lead to the gift shop so that he
could not escape!  Luckily, the criminals who stole the jewellery from
the gift shop did not know where the jewellery inside the museum is
kept.  They went into the Late Period gallery but, when they found no
gold, they broke thirteen vitrines and threw the antiquities on the
floor.  Then the criminals went to the King Tutankhamun galleries.
Thank God they opened only one case!  The criminals found a statue of
the king on a panther, broke it, and threw it on the floor.  I am very
thankful that all of the antiquities that were damaged in the museum
can be restored, and the tourist police caught all of the criminals
that broke into it.  On Saturday, the army secured the museum again
and guarded it from all sides.  I left the museum at 3.00pm on
Saturday, 29, 2011.
What is really beautiful is that not all Egyptians were involved in
the looting of the museum.  A very small number of people tried to
break, steal and rob.  Sadly, one criminal voice is louder than one
hundred voices of peace.  The Egyptian people are calling for freedom,
not destruction.  When I left the museum on Saturday, I was met
outside by many Egyptians, who asked if the museum was safe and what
they could do to help.  The people were happy to see an Egyptian
official leave his home and come to Tahrir Square without fear; they
loved that I came to the museum.
The curfew started again on Saturday afternoon at 4.00pm, and I was
receiving messages all night from my inspectors at Saqqara, Dahsur,
and Mit Rahina. The magazines and stores of Abusir were opened, and I
could not find anyone to protect the antiquities at the site. At this
time I still do not know what has happened at Saqqara, but I expect to
hear from the inspectors there soon. East of Qantara in the Sinai, we
have a large store containing antiquities from the Port Said Museum.
Sadly, a large group, armed with guns and a truck, entered the store,
opened the boxes in the magazine and took the precious objects. Other
groups attempted to enter the Coptic Museum, Royal Jewellery Museum,
National Museum of Alexandria, and El Manial Museum. Luckily, the
foresighted employees of the Royal Jewellery Museum moved all of the
objects into the basement, and sealed it before leaving.
My heart is broken and my blood is boiling. I feel that everything I
have done in the last nine years has been destroyed in one day, but
all the inspectors, young archaeologists, and administrators, are
calling me from sites and museums all over Egypt to tell me that they
will give their life to protect our antiquities. Many young Egyptians
are in the streets trying to stop the criminals. Due to the
circumstances, this behaviour is not surprising; criminals and people
without a conscience will rob their own country. If the lights went
off in New York City, or London, even if only for an hour, criminal
behaviour will occur. I am very proud that Egyptians want to stop
these criminals to protect Egypt and its heritage.
At this time, the Internet has not been restored in Egypt. I had to
fax this statement to my colleagues in Italy for it to be uploaded in
London on my website. (from Dr Zahi Hawass, Chief of the Egyptian Antiquities Authority 30/1/2011) 

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None too smart

UBS stuck a well groomed head over the parapet

That 43 page UBS Dress Code; When good intentions go hilariously awry. See the Wall Street Journal & everywhere else .

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‘Greedy Teddy Derby – an awful man’

Reputation In Shreds
 

The Earl and Countess of Derby

You have to wonder how much more reputation shredding ‘Greedy Teddy’ Derby is prepared to take before he gets the message and gives up his plan to concrete over a Newmarket green field. 

In the Daily Mail Diary today he is called ‘an awful man’. On Monday John Gosden called him Greedy in his acceptance speech for the International Trainer of the Year award. 

Many leading figures in Racing including legendary commentator Sir Peter O’Sullevan have condemned the plan. And the local Council have rejected the Planning Application once already. 
The people of Newmarket and the racing industry are united against him and will not give up. It’s time his PR Mark Bolland had a serious word with Greedy Teddy. 

Mark Bolland

(illustration  by Ivana Nohel)

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My News Picture of the Year 2010

‘Is that the exit Gillian?’ 

Gillian Browned-Off shows Gordon Duffer the way out

(PA pictures)

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Ofcom shows us How to Complain about a Radio or TV prog

 

Dear Mr Ofcom,
I wish to make a complaint. Never have I been so shocked and disgusted as when I switched on my YouTube this morning. If I had known that such shoddy rubbish was to be screened in this country, I would have emigrated long ago to a place where production values, literacy and slick informative film-making are still prized; not like this amateur vid of yours paid for out of my taxes. Why didn’t you get the BBC to make it or anybody come to think of it?
My lady wife and my good self have resided in Royal Tunbridge Wells since my dear late father’s merciful deliverance from Dunkirk*. He would be turning in his urn if he had seen what I’ve just seen. Come off it Mr Ofcom £145.2 million a year! You can do better.
yours truly 
Disgusted.  
cc
HM The Queen
PM David Cameron
DM Richard Littlejohn

(*August bank holiday 1976 – Ed)

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First 10 CV’s Considered

I need a part-time Researcher/Assistant PR, ideally SW6 area. Hours to suit a parent. First ten CV’s considered. john [@] stonborough.com

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Editors kill the myth (but not very convincingly)

The Editor’s Code which covers accuracy, will be changed (amendment in italics):
Clause 1ii says – A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published. In cases involving the (Press Complaints) Commission, prominence should be agreed with the PCC in advance.
Editors Code Committee secretary Ian Beales said: “This amendment is designed to help kill the myth that newspapers and magazines routinely bury corrections. Research conducted by the PCC has shown this to be untrue – nearly 85% of PCC-negotiated corrections and apologies appear no further back than the original transgression, or in a designated corrections column. To see the new Code in 1-page A4 format click here.

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Streetcar to Stardom

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Blanche DuBois’ last words as she is escorted to the asylum in A Streetcar Named Desire; Tennessee Williams’ hypomnemata of the delusional Southern Belle unravelling in a ‘della Robbia’ blue-collar New Orleans tenement and immortalised (apologies for the cliches) by Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando.
Yesterday I heard those words again, at the packed Oxford Playhouse, spoken by a 2nd year English undergraduate Ruby Thomas, directed by another Oxford University student Anna Hextall . It was devastating. This amateur (in name only) production deserves all the plaudits .

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No Show – Why Nobody Shows Up On BBC Watchdog Anymore

 A hiding to nothing, even for those with nothing to hide. 

Have you noticed nobody shows up on Watchdog anymore? The national paladin rips into Britain’s finest for heinous misdemeanours and none of them defend themselves? This week it was BSM, Asda, B&Q, M&S: last week Jamie Oliver, British Gas, Thornton’s, Thomas Cook, Ticket Master. The week before? Another bunch of Footsies, I forget which. 

What’s going on here? A primetime programme with direct access to 6 million potential customers, most with money to burn apparently and yet they can’t get anybody to come onto their show.  

Watchdog - Waiting for an Interviewee

 Here is what Watchdog says to bashful multinationals, who may be toying with the offer of a gig at Television Centre on a wet Thursday night. 

“…We know from our viewers that they respond very positively when companies take part in the programme (instant reaction media like Twitter tell a different story) … In our last series, earlier this year we included reports about some of the UK’s leading companies, Government departments and associations – these included studio interviews with Procter and Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, the CEO of the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency), the Spanish Ambassador to the UK, the ABI (Association of British Insurers) and the Chief Executive of HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) “ 

Not that many, for a series that rattles off consumer beefs like grape shot, 5 brace of businesses winged at a time. Not that many, despite anecdotal evidence that turning-up lowers the risk of being targeted again in subsequent programmes.  

So is there a boycott? There was one once, lead by Airtours (fat lot of good it did them) and Ford tried it too, with more success, after WD doorstepped their CEO at the Motor Show. 

I don’t think this one is as orchestrated. Companies have just decided that fielding a spokesperson is a waste of time. A ‘hiding to nothing’ was the way one top PR Director described it to me. ‘ The interview is a spectator sport and you are going to lose.’ The only person to go on recently, was a bloke talking twaddle (in my opinion), from a firm supplying Holland & Barrett. 

So what’s going on here? Big companies, with huge reputations, thousands of employees and turn-over in billions, scatter. They prefer to let a short statement be butchered and sneered at, than put up a briefed and flossed mouthpiece (see I’ts No Picnic).  The programme doesn’t seem to mind any more. Interviews take up time and require brain power. No interview means more scripted flirting and more time to bash another business. 

One argument, I often hear PRs use is that an interview lengthens the item by about two minutes and allows the audience to focus on your story, rather than being distracted by the next. It’s true. Others say they don’t want to be associated with the ‘real crooks’ on the prog. 

Double Glazing Salesman

I can understand the reluctance of back-street villains to appear. This is why Matt does the Rogue Trader set piece door-step, on people with less mitochondrial DNA than an Atlantic cod. But that’s not relevent here. 

Companies may have good answers, companies have staff who need to hear their employers defend themselves, companies may have countless other happy customers who still need re-assurance. The issue at hand may be an aberration.  

Despite the Guidelines (them again) saying that a programme should reflect the views of those who don’t show up, human nature being what it is, WD doesn’t do it that well. And I am inclined to say, why should they. If you want a hearing, speak up. Viewers like a bit of gulping mea culpa

Or, and this is just a thought, is there something more seismic going on. Is Watchdog irrelevant? After 40 years (WD40) has Watchdog become a place where suckers sound off but nobody cares and sales don’t suffer. Despite its face-lifts (Anne Robinson and the Set), employing the talented children of That’s Life (Rebecca Wilcox) and Panorama (Abby Mangold) is Watchdog the British Bulldog it once was? Is the legacy of Roger Cook, of Esther, dying in a pink, blue and yellow studio, where nobody shows up?

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The silent Ofcom committee

Ofcom delegated Standards & Fairness decisions to an internal review committee http://bit.ly/anQiO9.  Four people armed with a fat rubber stamp. Yet another committee in an impenetrable bureaucratic legalistic monolith, where clarity, speed, fairness and common-sense feature on my ‘at risk’ register. Two years downstream and not a Peep.

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There used to be a formula.

Just had a jolly email from that famous media law firm Schillings proclaiming some new skill, FAQ – finding your way through the pre-nup maze. It ends with this:

“An amusing quote from one of our clients, Bernie Ecclestone, who clearly marked the barriers with veteran biographer and reporter, Tom Bower when he was writing his biography featured in The Times yesterday (28/10/10). “Tom, if I didn’t like this, I would tell you to f*** off and tell Keith Schilling to send you on your way.” Good to see Mr Ecclestone knows who to call!”

Not so clearly marked are the barriers about veteran solicitors repeating  the f*** word (even an occulted one) and revealing (revelling in) the identity of a high net worth client in a marketing puff. There used to be a Formula. One didn’t.

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Who was that masked man?

Just had my 4000th visitor to the site. Welcome stranger, whoever you are.

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Code War Warrior

I’m not sure if my last blog had anything to do with it, but BBC1 Watchdog (TX 21/10/10) is back up on iPlayer- it’s a cracking programme. Hurry you only have a couple of days left to watch it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00vjbwp/Watchdog_21_10_2010/

I hooted at the bogus £50 ‘food intolerance’ test kits. Shocking that sensible people still fall for snake-oil hocus pocus like that.  The story about the time-share victims being re-conned made my blood boil – brilliant doorstep! I made programmes about time-share scams in the 80’s and 90’s. Finally the law was changed, about 10 years too late for many people.

But, someone at the Beeb needs to speak to the Editor of Watchdog Jeff Anderson. Thirty three minutes in, at the end of the filmed report on shoddy workmanship by Techguys (a company owned by Dixons, Curry’s & PCWorld), http://bbc.in/bzwYwr they come back to the studio with Anne R wearing protective glasses (why?). The reporter – not Matt, the other one says:

Chris Hollins: “…first, they (Techguys) tell us that 96% of deliveries and 93% of repairs are carried out successfully first time.”
Anne R: “Did you tell them we are not interested in things that go right?” (see YouTube)*

Well perhaps Anne Robinson isn’t, but context is a relevant defence and not to be rubbished by her. Otherwise the audience is being misled, as it can’t know how ‘serious’ a problem is without context. 

I suspect this institutional arrogance comes about because Watchdog has never got past the double glazing scam mentality of its roots. It was easy to scoff back then, when everything their targets did was fraudulent.  But Watchdog should resist treating household-name companies with the same sneering contempt. 

We all know how AR likes to talk tough. This is what she says on the Watchdog website. “My mission statement is to have all customers treated like royalty. Any chairman of a public company providing less-than-perfect service needs to fasten his or her seat belt and adopt the brace position.”

That’s fine and fun but like them or not, tax paying, economy driving major retailers like Curry’s etc, employ many thousands of hard working people striving to provide value for money for customers – Its not in their interest or their company’s to do it badly. They wouldn’t survive long.  So telling the Watchdog audience (who are their customers after all) ) that over 90% of the time, things go right, is both important and valid and the programme has a duty to report it. To use a popular term – it’s about fairness.

Adopting Anne R’s dismissive approach, would also put the programme in breach of the new BBC Editorial Guidelines, re-published just last week. I promise not to be a Code War Warrior for long (there’s no bore like a Code bore), but under Section 6 Right of Reply, those criticised should be given a fair opportunity to respond, and, any part of the response relevant to the allegations broadcast should be reflected fairly and accurately. And that is the point, those two statistics were relevent to the allegations broadcast. Incidentally neither Techguys nor Dixons, Curry’s & PCWorld is/are my client.

* Note the edit/shot change mid statement. Why?

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Watchdog gone walkies

Here’s something to investigate. Last Thursday’s BBC 1 Watchdog programme is missing on iPlayer. There is a strange message on the Watchdog website which says  Sorry, this programme is not available to watch again here but is currently available on these devices: Selected wi-fi/3G enabled mobile phones.

“Lots of you, even with iPhones and other wi-fi/3G enabled mobiles have rung my help-line and emailed me to say you can’t get last week’s Watchdog on iPlayer either. So I rang Watchdog and spoke to a very rude woman called An …”

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Nice to be back

So glad to get the blog up again after a month – had a nightmare upgrading from the original 4 year old WordPress version to this one. Still a bit of tidying to do, but it’s looking a lot cleaner and clearer than before, don’t you think? (thanks Poldy, good job)

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Wheat from Chaff makes Mincemeat of the Gardner!

I found this in the Guardian/Comment is Free on-line. Someone who calls him/herself WheatFromChaff replied to an article by left-wing lawyer and blogger Carl Gardner calling for Effective regulation of the media, independent and outside of the courts.

(Carl Gardner wrote): Instead of subjecting serious, responsible journalists to prohibitive costs for defending reports that serve the public interest, freedom of speech would be better defended by taking these issues out of the courts, to be adjudicated on, without prior restraint, by a truly independent regulator accessible to all, applying flexible standards and offering non-financial forms of redress.

(To which WheatFromChaff replies): So… We have our regulator, and he is faced by a claim that a newspaper article calling X, a teacher, a kiddy-fiddler, is grossly untrue, seriously defames him, and he has lost his job, been left by his wife, shunned by his friends, and suffered criminal damage to his house as the result.The newspaper claims that it has evidence to prove the allegation.

How is our new touchy-feely regulator to deal with that dispute? Presumably he will have to have some sort of hearing. But what are the issues to be heard? Well those will have to be defined and narrowed beforehand – let us call such definitions “pleadings”.

Now our disputants will want to be given access to such material being held by the other side which may support their case, or cast doubt upon the other side. Being mindful of the rules of natural justice, our independent regulator will make an order requiring … shall we call it “disclosure”?

During this process, we discover that the newspaper’s “evidence” is a couple of anonymous letters written to them accusing the teacher of various acts. What is the regulator to make of this so-called “evidence”? Should he take it into account, and, if so, what weight should he attach to it? On what basis would he make his decision?

In the meantime, both the newspaper and the teacher (via his union) will have engaged people experienced with this sort of thing – let us call them “solicitors” – to do all the leg work for them: and who will have to be paid. If our teacher turns out to have been wrongfully defamed, is it really fair that he should have to shoulder the costs of establishing that? perhaps, if they lose, te newspaper should be required to pay … erm … let’s call them “costs”.

Eventually the regulator will have to decide whether to deal with the dispute on paper, or whether it would be fairer to hold an oral hearing in which each side says what happened (erm … “gives evidence”?) and is cross examined on it, and is then given the opportunity to state their case (erm … “submissions”?) in the light of the evidence given.

Then our regulator – let’s call him a “judge” – can give his decision, and the reasoning behind it (erm … his “verdict”?), and make orders consequential on the verdict. Hmmm Excellent idea. (Guardian Comment is Free 13/7/10)

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Really bad pun

Drat! Woke up suffering from early onset Cough and Cold. Speaking to the Food and Drink Federation Corporate Communications Group today – Man flu over the Coca Nestlé! 

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Ofcom’s Un-Fairness Committee – A Top Media Lawyer Writes:

 I’ve had a very positive response to my last blog “Ofcom’s Unfairness Committee”, with the link re-tweeted on Twitter to over 10,000 PR and Media people! It’s obviously struck a chord; In particular I want to share this note from Susan Barty, a partner with leading London law firm CMS Cameron McKenna LLP, who writes: scbphoto-2.JPG

I agree, it is a nonsense that Dispatches can choose not to contact them or ask them to take part, trash them in the programme, and then try and rely on the fact that they were not contributors.

1. Under the Reynolds guidelines, in order to benefit from the qualified privilege defence, the media should be seeking comment from the subject of any story, unless the matter is particularly urgent, or if there is real reason not to do so.

2. There are two distinct issues with Section 7 of the code. First, were Nestlé, Kellogg’s and TS “contributors”? (I was very interested at your reference to “interviewee”!) Secondly, even if Ofcom choose not to regard them as contributors, were they treated fairly, in particular in relation to 7.11?
On any basis they were entitled to be dealt with fairly. The Principle at the start of section 7 states it is “To ensure that broadcasters avoid unjust or unfair treatment of individuals or organisations in programmes” – i.e. it is not specific to “contributors” or otherwise. The Foreword to the Fairness section is also interesting: “this section contains ‘practices to be followed’ by broadcasters when dealing with individuals or organisations participating in or otherwise directly affected by programmes as broadcast.
Following these practices will not necessarily avoid a breach of this section of the code (Rule 7.1). However, failure to follow these practises will only constitute a breach where it results in unfairness to an individual or organisation in the programme.” I cannot see how Ofcom can have reached the conclusion that they were treated fairly. Even, for the moment, ignoring the position in respect of Kellogg’s and Nestlé, the conclusions in relation to TS are extraordinary – and really do make you wonder what was going on here.

3. You refer to the question of hearings, and there no longer being “an option for the complainant to have ‘their day in court’ – the tribunal hearing just vanished”. In fact it is not quite as simple as that. The procedures for handling fairness and privacy complaints say that:
“In some circumstances, Ofcom may decide to hold a hearing before reaching a decision if it considers that a hearing will advance its understanding of the case, or if it is necessary to ensure that the proceedings are fair. At the hearing, the parties will be invited to make oral representations.
Ofcom will normally give 15 working days’ notice of the hearing date to the parties. Hearings may take place in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, as appropriate. ” They go on to provide information as to how hearings will be dealt with – i.e. that they will be in private, who can attend etc. It is just that, previously, it used to be a fairly regular practice and now they probably never consider that a hearing will advance their understanding of the case. I have made specific requests before – but have never got a hearing. (SB 7/9/10).

Thanks Susan, this is really helpful. If anybody has anything further to add – I am very keen to build up a file on Ofcom Standards and Fairness to send to the media and DCMS – please contact me john [@] stonborough.com or leave a comment in the box below.  

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Ofcom’s Un-Fairness Committee

John Stonborough asks ‘After a Ruling that destroys the Right to be Heard – Is it Time to Overhaul the Ofcom Standards and Fairness Complaints Process?’

In a telling scene in the new Stieg Larsson film, The Girl Who Played with Fire, investigative reporter Micke Blomkvist insists that the targets of a Millennium investigation into people trafficking, must be contacted for comment before publication.

As you’d expect most fetch up dead, but as asking for a comment or interview is what journalists do, it may come as a surprise that there is no obligation to contact the subject of an investigation in the UK.

A commonly cited reason (for not contacting people) is the supposed threat of injunction; grossly over-stated in my experience. But Editors usually insist the reporter ‘put a call in’, even if the reporter doesn’t really need to, or sometimes want to, hear the answer. The risk if they don’t, according to former Sunday Telegraph Editor Dominic Lawson, is that “the newspaper’s position is much weaker, legally, if it then publishes something which is untrue”.

Radio and TV are different. The convention enshrined in the Ofcom Code (which applies to both BBC and ITV) says broadcasters must avoid unfairness. In fact it pays dividends to read the whole of Section 7 which is all about contributors’ rights.

But most crucial is 7.11 which states. “If a programme alleges wrongdoing or incompetence or makes other significant allegations, those concerned should normally be given an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond.” This applies in particular to investigations by hostile TV programmes. BBC Panorama, C4 Dispatches fall into that category.

There is a PR maxim that says ‘the later they approach you, the worse the story will be; and the less they tell you, the worse the story will be.’ So when corporate PRs get wind of an investigation, but no reporter gets in touch or they have to kick the information out of them, alarm bells shrill.

Now everyone needs to sit up and take notice. The regulator Ofcom has validated the decision by a programme maker to be economical about content even, in one case, after they failed to contact the target at all.

Cast your mind back to October 2009 when Channel 4 Dispatches ran an hour long programme, made by Blakeway Productions, called What’s in Your Breakfast. It was an attack on health claims made by cereal manufacturers about their products. Whether the programme was right, partially right or plain wrong is not at issue. What matters is why there were no interviews or even a quote from Nestlé, Kellogg’s and others?

ofcom.jpgThe question Ofcom was asked to address was whether Nestlé and Kellogg’s should have been allowed to contribute to the programme. If yes, then they were entitled to be dealt with ‘fairly’ (7.3).

The Office of Non-Communication

Months went by. Then last week, fairness and common sense took a hit below the waterline when Ofcom ruled they were not ‘a contributor’ and handed Dispatches carte blanche to treat future targets unfairly. If you don’t believe it read the three adjudications (Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin 164 – 23/08/2010) .

The key to this is the word ‘contributor’. Dispatches asked the manufacturers some questions, but it now seems, intentionally, never asked them to contribute (by interview or statement); thereby avoiding having to inform them in advance about the content.

This debate goes back more than 10 years, when the ITC (grandfather to Ofcom) stopped talking about ‘interviewees’ and introduced the notion of a ‘contributor’. The issue then as now, was how much information about the investigation, programme makers were obliged to provide individuals or organisations directly affected.

Restricting it to interviewees only, put the target in a Catch 22. First they had to agree to do an interview, before anybody would tell them what the interview was actually about. This was grossly unfair. Hence the change, in part at my insistence, to ‘contributor’.  Anybody directly affected could agree to contribute, but hold fire on an actual interview, while they assessed the evidence the programme makers wished to confront them with. It was imperfect, but a lot fairer. Programme makers have never liked it of course.

And so it remained, until last week.  In the lengthy ruling, in which Nestlé and Kellogg’s had complained that they were not given a proper opportunity to respond; Ofcom said there was no requirement on the programme-maker to offer such an opportunity because “no significant allegations of wrong-doing” were made about either cereal manufacturer.

Ignore for a moment that Ofcom has mis-quoted the wording of Section 7.11 (see above) – surely, any critical commenton national TV about a product, especially foods consumed by half the world’s children, manufactured by two of the world’s most famous companies, is significant, and they should have been granted all the rights accruing to a contributor, including a timely and proper opportunity to respond.

You could argue that the viewer might have liked to hear what these giant manufacturers had to say. Instead they were shut out. Their input largely ignored. Their protests dismissed. Were it not so serious, one might have laughed when Channel 4’s lawyer Stephen Collins brushed off one short (two paragraph) rebuttal statement as “verbose and self-serving”.

As you can imagine there is more to this story. I sense a degree of ‘Regulator Capture’ by C4, but have no evidence of it. But perhaps instead of worrying about one adjudication, no matter how bizarre and perverse, the real problem is with the Ofcom Fairness and Standards process. It has become a legalistic, bureaucratic monster, where terror of Judicial Review eclipses common sense and fairness.

In December Ofcom quietly changed the rules. No longer is there an option for a complainant to have ‘their day in court’ – the tribunal hearing just vanished. Now all decisions are made in conclave by a committee. Who they are, we don’t know. Have they read everything, one can only hope. What we do know is they base the decision on a rinsed version of the original complaint.

It is time for a new complaints process; something more akin to the old Broadcasting Complaints Commission. In the meantime Channel 4 should take no comfort from this Ofcom ruling. Dispatches got away with injustice, that’s all. (c)JTCS2010

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Ofcom Ruling destroys Right to be Heard.

Ofcom has profoundly damaged the ‘right to be heard’ by this perverse ruling (see pages 51-108) The entire Channel 4 programme (Dispatches: What‟s In Your Breakfast?, Channel 4, 26 October 2009) was an attack on cereal manufacturers and their products. How Ofcom can declare there were ‘no significant allegations of wrong doing’ and therefore no need to give them a voice in the programme, defies any commonly held notion of fairness, but even worse in my opinion, paraphrases (intentionally misinterprets?) Section 7.11 of the Code, which actuallty states If a programme alleges wrongdoing, or incompetence or makes other significant allegations, those concerned should normally be given an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond. Ofcom might also look at their Rule 7.1 and Guidance Note 7.11 (20 March 2006).

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Wit and Wisdom

“When someone says something is ‘off the record’ they have already told 20 people. When it’s ‘strictly off the record’ they have already told 200” (John Betjeman)

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‘One to Watch’

times-23-june-2010001.jpgTimes Fashion & Beauty Editor Lisa Armstrong picked my clever designer wife Jane’s gorgeous Handbags for her ‘One to Watch’ column today. http://www.pochette-a-porter.com

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140 characters or less (fewer?)

PR in Tweetspeak!
#pr power. #Crest Nicholson #FHDC shamed over Dead Red Lodge #newmarket ghost town #hatchfield. Indie http://bit.ly/bsIu5b #Boadicea Lives.

But a picture is still worth a thousand tweets:
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One of the few Red Lodge residents,
Lisa Rothwell in the Independent 18/06/10

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Suffolk Punch

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9 June 2010

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(photo Emma Berry)

Lord Derby had wanted to build about 1,200 houses, a hotel, park and ride scheme and a retail park on a 160-acre site in Newmarket, Suffolk.

But councillors voted against the plans at a meeting last Wednesday, after a long-running battle during which Save Historic Newmarket Action Group used external PR help to fight the proposals.

victoria-4-of-5.jpgThe pressure group turned to independent PR John Stonborough, a former adviser to ex-House of Commons speaker Michael Martin, to advise on strategic and tactical PR. Working with Ston­borough on the PR effort to see off the development was former Brunswick PR Victoria Sabin.

‘The people of Newmarket believed passionately that Lord Derby’s development would ruin their town and possibly their livelihood,’ said Stonborough. ‘All attempts to dissuade Lord Derby had failed and the local district council seemed hell-bent on imposing Labour housing quotas on Newmarket, whatever the locals wanted. We had one shot and one shot only to halt it, so we mounted a classic PR campaign for them.’

Over eight months, Stonborough and Sabin targeted local, national and racing media and built up lobbying firepower with support from new Conservative MP Matthew Hancock, top racing commentators including Sir Peter O’Sullevan, John McCririck and Clare Balding, as well as legendary trainer Henry Cecil and Derby winner Sir Michael Stoute.

Stonborough said: ‘The local authority, despite being Conservative, seemed deaf to all pleas until we were able to prove there was no need for any more houses in the Newmarket area and it had a democratic obligation to respect local wishes.’

Last week’s meeting, when Forest Heath district councillors voted against the plans, was so busy some people had to wait outside.

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Derby loses Battle of Newmarket

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At 7.15pm last night Forest Heath District Council voted unanimously to reject the Earl of Derby’s application to build more than a thousand houses at Hatchfield on the edge of Newmarket. The result of one of the most intense PR assignments my colleague Victoria Sabin and I have ever undertaken and a personal triumph for the amazing Rachel Hood and her colleagues in SHNAG (Save Historic Newmarket Action Group).  This vote, enabled by a fundamental change in housing policy under the new government, will have repercussions for other Local Authorities all over the country and give great strength to countless communities faced with similar attempts to concrete over greenfield sites.

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Vacancy at the Telegraph filled at last

My friend Guy Black has been dispatched to the Lords in yesterday’s Honours List, (along with John Prescott for gawds sake). I am so delighted, Guy is a terrific bloke and currently executive director of the Telegraph Media Group; anybody remember what happened to the last Lord Black at the Telegraph?

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Gordon Sanitaire

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Clients and anybody who’s sat through one of my lectures, has heard me bang on about creating an ‘exclusion zone’ around reporters ‘Treat all microphones as on and all cameras as running.’ ‘Classic Gaffes Caught on Microphone’

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It’s No Picnic

It’s lovely down Wood Lane* today
But safer to stay at home.
If you go down Wood Lane today
You’d better not go alone
 

Due on Newsnight or Watchdog tonight?
We ready you for any Breaking News interview. We test drive your key messages, do real time run-throughs and give you the practical skills to handle any live or pre-recorded ‘Paxo’ style interview.

* BBC Television Centre
Leave it to the experts. Its no picnic!
Call the Air Supremacy INSTANT RESPONSE number +44 7771 893 683  
 

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“Credit Suisse”

It’s sooo nice to be thanked!

Dear John, dear Jane and dear Ian
In the name of the entire Media Team we would like to thank you for this marathon training.You are beating all records here: the media training company who has been working with us for ever, the longest media training session ever (4 days), most interviews in one day (44!) and the gold medal to Ian for a truly tough job of listening to (JS) over and over again for 11 consecutive times…. Many thanks for your dilligent preparation, the stamina during the four days and the individual feedback reports sent by Jane today!
Best regards,

Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd
| Mythenquai 50/60, 8022 Zurich, Switzerland
 

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Part Time PA

I desperately need a part time PA, Fulham SW6. Hours to suit. john@stonborough.com

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End of the Road Kill?

A staggering 75 million people signed up for a Twitter account in 2009, but in December only 17 percent of them sent even a single Tweet. An all-time low say research company RJMetrics. That’s still nearly 13 million Tweeters but I wonder if there is too little commercial application for it work. I have tweeted journalists, without any noticeable benefit over picking up the phone. But my friend PR Queen Liz Male @lizmale swears by it.

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Ocean Spirit

It’s ten years since twenty of us crewed the Gordonstoun owned Ocean Spirit of Moray from Cadiz to Bermuda, in the Tall Ships Race. We were all ages from 17 to 70. Most of us had never met till the day we set sail. The fact that it was a huge success (2nd boat over the line) and great fun, was down to the skipper Ian Lerner. My job, in addition to story telling was making a home vid. Not easy, ocean passages are hours and hours of nothing much, with bursts of jolting high drama; too dark, too rough, too wet, too busy, too tired, too scared to film. Once safely back home, creating ‘sturm und drang’ out of the footage I did get, was relatively easy, but what I couldn’t distill was the endlessness of 3 weeks at sea. The feeling of never arriving, always being in the middle of your own horizon. So, sitting at my pc, I put on my favourite Carlos Santana track, Samba Pa Ti and tried again. 

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