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Udo Ulfkotte was a German journalist who died of a heart attack in 2017 at the age of 56.

Strangely enough, he never studied journalism, but rather jurisprudence and politics.

He had a distinguished career, which included being assistant editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung for several years; he left the paper in 2003. Between 1986 and 1998, he lived in several Middle Eastern countries. He also wrote several investigative books during his lifetime.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51gdGRKeFjL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgOne of his books that is nearly impossible to buy is Gekaufte Journalisten (‘Bought Journalists’), which appeared in English as Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News. It sells for a whopping $900 on Amazon.com.

Image credit: Amazon.com

It’s worth reading the comments on the aforementioned English language Amazon page for the various comments. In effect, the book is being censored. Here is a good representative comment, where the reviewer gave the book five stars (emphases mine below):

No, I haven’t read the book, because it is priced completely out of my reach. I am giving it five stars anyway because of what I’ve read *about* it, as I’ve followed its author’s sagathe blackout by German media of the original German edition Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) for a couple of years now, raids by German police on the author’s house, his noting how he feared for his life, and his finally being found dead on January 13 of this year “from a heart attack” (he was only 56, and because it is possible to kill someone in ways that look like a heart attack, some people believe he was murdered).

The fate of a whistleblower against one of the world’s most powerful organizations in a controlled society being passed off as a democracy?

Two things are abundantly clear: (1) The English translation of this book has been “privished.” There are a couple of good recent discussions of what it means to “privish” a book, but Amazon will not allow me to link to them. So let’s just say: the purpose of “privishing” is make a book with an unwanted message disappear without a trace by limiting information about it, destroying its marketability by printing too few copies, and refusing reprint rights, so that the copies available are too expensive for readers of ordinary means (which is nearly all of us). (2) Anyone who claims there are no conspiracies, that there are no behind-the-scenes efforts by powerful people to suppress information that would expose their efforts at global domination, is full of crap.

Privishing = private + publishing.

Until I read that review, I thought the word had positive connotations, as in a publishing house saving a title and making it more affordable and better-known.

I could not have been more mistaken.

Privishing is meant to kill off a title.

On January 8, 2018, Off Guardian published a good post on the book and the implications of privishing; James Tracy’s ‘English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte’s “Bought Journalists” Suppressed?’ is a must read. A summary with excerpts follows.

A US-Canadian publishing house, Tayen Lane, released the title through their imprint Next Revelation Press in May 2017. Ulfkotte had died earlier, in January. However, in 2015, when James Tracy enquired as to whether there would be an English release, Ulfkotte responded:

Please find the link to the English edition here http://www.tayenlane.com/bought-journalists

The page, at that time, gave an expected publication date.

Today, the page no longer exists.

Tracy explains:

When a book publisher determines that it has acquired a politically volatile or otherwise “troublesome” title it may embark on a process recognized in the industry as “privishing.” “Privishing is a portmanteau meaning to privately publish, as opposed to true publishing that is open to the public,” writes investigative journalist Gerald Colby.

Also:

Privishing often takes place without the author knowing, simply because it involves breach of contract and potential liability.

Tayen Lane will likely not face any legal challenge in this instance, however. Ulfkotte died of a heart attack on January 13, 2017, at age 56.[4]

Tracy provided an update to his article to say — see the tweet below — that someone had ordered a copy of the book, only to receive a cancellation:

Tracy included a 2014 video of Ultkotte saying that he had to work with intelligence agencies at the risk of losing his job. Ultimately, intelligence agencies gave him articles to publish under his own name:

Tracy gives us more about the content of the video:

The German journalist explains how he was recruited during the 1980s to work in espionage. This began through an invitation proffered by his graduate school advisor for an all-expense-paid trip to attend a two-week seminar on the Cold War conflict in Bonn.

After Ulfkotte obtained his doctorate he was given a job as a reporter at “the leading conservative German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, oddly appointed despite no journalistic training and hundreds of other applicants.

Serving as a correspondent throughout the Middle East, Ulfkotte eventually became acquainted with agents from the CIA, German intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Britain’s MI6, and Israel’s Mossad, all of whom valued his ability to travel freely in countries largely closed to the West.

His editors readily collaborated in such intelligence gathering operations,”[5] for which journalist possess “non-official cover” by virtue of their profession.

“Non-official cover” occurs when a journalist is essentially working for the CIA, but it’s not in an official capacity,” Ulfkotte explains.

Tracy includes one of Ulfkotte’s last tweets prior to his death:

Tracy says that intelligence agencies’ ties to media outlets accounts for a) the CIA’s antipathy towards WikiLeaks (which could no doubt make all this public) and b) the media’s insistence on pushing the Trump-Russian collusion narrative.

An American Free Press article from October 2014 — the same year the RT video above was made — has more on Ulfkotte’s book and how he came to be part of the intelligence agency network. Ronald L Ray’s ‘Reporter Admits Most Media Work for CIA, MI6, Mossad‘ is also a must read.

While most of us would say ‘no’ to becoming part of an intelligence network, this is how Ulfkotte described his recruitment:

Prior to a particular semester break, when he hoped to visit Italy and meet young women, a professor asked if he would like to attend a two-week seminar in Bonn on the East-West conflict. This was during the Cold War in a divided Germany. Ulfkotte was not at all interested, but university professors in Germany were (and are) highly respected. It was difficult to refuse.

He was promised that his travel would be paid for, as well as lodging and meals, and he would receive spending money into the bargain. For a young man from poor economic circumstances, this was too much. Relates Ulfkotte, “I suddenly felt this deep feeling inside me that I had ‘always’ wanted to go” to such a seminar. Such “innocent” beginnings were the first bribes, which would draw him ever deeper into a widespread network of corruption and spying, where no one considered such behavior immoral, but rather “accepted practice.”

No one said, “I’m from the CIA,” or from the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND)—the German intelligence service. But the seminar leaders sorted out “who was communist and who was pro-Western” among the young attendees. After further similar events, someone asked Ulfkotte if he would work for the BND—the last thing on his mind. But again, a professor—his doctoral advisor—pressured him to “think about it.” And once more, a poor boy found a free automobile and a good salary very attractive.

Ronald L Ray relates that Ulfkotte’s journalistic career as a war correspondent was a good one in these terms:

Eventually, he did indeed meet agents of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), BND, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6), and Israel’s Mossad, who valued his ability to travel freely in countries largely closed to the West. His editors were knowing accomplices.

What follows is how Ray, using Ulfkotte’s experiences, describes the system working.

This is far worse than I had imagined.

There are the ‘unofficial covers’ — people who work with an intelligence agency but are not on their payroll as actual agents:

It is a broad, loose network of “friends,” doing one another favors. Many are lead journalists from numerous countries. This informality provides plausible deniability for both sides, but it means an “unofficial cover,” as Ulfkotte became, is on his own if captured.

Those involved leave their various connections and affiliations unknown. Ray says that Ulfkotte once accompanied then Chancellor Helmut Kohl to Jordan. There, he attended a function at which the president of Israel was also present. Ulfkotte began shaking the hands of journalists and officials he knew. All of them had intelligence agency ties:

He was ordered sharply back to his place. Otherwise, “everyone would know” who the other intelligence assets were. It must have been an appreciable percentage, because Ulfkotte then realized they were “all in the same boat.”

Ulfkotte’s ‘friends’ often asked for special favours, e.g. soil samples from various trips or a description of political opinions of leaders in certain countries.

But there was more — an ongoing bribery system of lavish favours — which he received when an intelligence agency or powerful institution approached him with an article to put under his own byline:

Large sums of money, gifts, public recognition and significant career advancement go to those journalists who provide useful information on people they meet or know, or on places to which they travel. Many times, the reporter, like Ulfkotte, need only put his name on an article written for him by some spy agency or financial institution. Money and gifts change hands; doors open to elitist groups, like the Trilateral Commission, Atlantik-Brücke, the Aspen Institute and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Those who do not cooperate are fired.

Ulfkotte also believed that the CIA created Germany’s BND:

Because Iran has no U.S. embassy, he would enter the Turkish embassy and follow a then-secret, underground escape tunnel into the German embassy, where he would turn over his reports for the CIA or BND. In a recent RT interview, Ulfkotte noted that the BND was created by the CIA. To him, it is a symbol of Germany’s status as a “banana republic,” a “colony of the U.S.”

In closing, here is a direct quote from Ulfkotte that Ray included in his article (emphasis in the original):

“I’ve been a journalist for about 25 years, and I’ve been educated to lie, to betray—and not to tell the truth to the public. . . . The German and American media [is trying] to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia. This is a point of no return, and I am going to stand up and say it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, but all over Europe. . . . I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don’t [want to see] this situation again. There are always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too. We have betrayed our readers. . . . I’m fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic [Germany], and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom.”  — Udo Ulfkotte

Reading that quote from 2014 and thinking about President Trump’s attempts at negotiating world peace, one can better understand exactly why the media — not to mention the Left and their paymasters — want Trump de-legitimised and, ultimately, suppressed.

May the Hand of God continue to protect the American president, his staff and his family.

Further reading:

‘THE WORLD – upside down’ – Udo Ulfkotte article about his experience in the Middle East (2006)

‘Leading German Journalist: CIA Media Pushing for World War’ – Infowars (2014)

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UP2 Minutes into Tuck and Chill and he gives you this lookTucker Carlson might not yet be a household name, but it could be soon.

His Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight began just a little over a month ago on November 14, 2016.

(Photo credit: The_Donald)

Seasoned viewers of American cable news channels will have seen him on CNN between 2000 and 2005 in the days when he sported a bow tie. He was CNN’s youngest anchor when they hired him. He co-hosted The Spin Room and later Crossfire. He also hosted a current affairs show on PBS during this time, Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered.

In 2004, Carlson and The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart got into an intense discussion on Crossfire, which some viewers might remember. Stewart stayed on the air afterwards to talk about the issues raised. In January 2005, CNN decided not to renew Carlson’s contract, although he maintains he had already resigned:

I resigned from Crossfire in April, many months before Jon Stewart came on our show, because I didn’t like the partisanship, and I thought in some ways it was kind of a pointless conversation … each side coming out, you know, ‘Here’s my argument’, and no one listening to anyone else. [CNN] was a frustrating place to work.”[10]

In June 2005, Carlson moved to MSNBC where he hosted Tucker in the evenings. He also did other broadcasts and investigative reports. However, the channel’s shows became more oriented to the left-wing and, in 2008, Carlson found his programme cancelled because of low ratings. He explained:

they didn’t have a role for me.

Carlson began working for Fox News in 2009 as a contributor, guest panellist and substitute presenter on several shows. He joined the Fox & Friends team in 2013 then left when he got his own show.

In January 2010, with the help of a longtime friend Neil Patel, Carlson co-founded The Daily Caller, a reputable and popular news site. He resigned as editor-in chief in November, although he will retain his ownership stake of the site. He said:

It was really hard. Not because I’m a great manager, I’m a terrible manager. But I loved it and I loved the guys.

Tucker Carlson Tonight airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET. All the segments can be found on YouTube.

Carlson is quickly developing a welcome reputation for destroying left-wing arguments coherently. He is firm but polite. When the guests’ arguments are particularly off-the-wall, he pulls a face. In fact, you can even buy a tee shirt and enjoy his facial expression whenever you like.

The_Donald‘s contributors, not the world’s biggest television viewers, have this to say:

You see in his eyes that’s he trying to go through the mental gymnastics his guest is and realizing just how it doesn’t compute.

I’m getting addicted to his nightly thrashings of idiots. Never raises his voices, uses their own words and idiocy against them. Has become true must-see tv in our house.

His show comes on right around the time I’m cooking and eating dinner. I have never recorded a news show before because it seems silly, but I record Tucker every night now!

I just really enjoy the way he encourages them to go full moron on national tv.

Oh man… I literally sit down to start watching and the first guest is just getting blown out the water to the point where I don’t even know if I can watch without cringing. Tucker does more in 2 minutes than whole news outlets do all day. Every show is bananas and so direct! Love it

There is more love from The_Donald here and here. There is also a Reddit page devoted to him. This is great because most of the contributors to both subReddits are twenty-somethings and political independents who supported Donald Trump.

In this video of December 8, California Congressman Adam Schiff (D) accuses Tucker of ‘carrying water for the Kremlin’:

On December 1, he had a go at Newsweek:

And, the following day, the New York Times:

From observing his interviewing style and reading his Wikipedia entry, until recently, I have been working on the assumption that he is High WASP.

After all, he went to a top Episcopal school in New England, St George’s, just outside of swank Newport, Rhode Island. The school is one of five collectively referred to as St Grottlesex (emphases in the original):

St. Mark’s, St. Paul’s, and St. George’s, then part of Groton, an extra t, and then ended with Middlesex.

Carlson went on to study history at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. It was founded by an Episcopal bishop in 1824 and was originally called Washington College. It was renamed Trinity in 1845.

I once worked for a High WASP who attended Groton and Trinity. (Groton rhymes with ‘rotten’, by the way. It’s important to know how to pronounce it if you ever find yourself in this milieu.) I give him top marks overall. So, I was impressed to see that Carlson went to St George’s and Trinity, which gives me further insight as to what sort of man he must be. It is not unusual for Trinity men to wear bow ties. It’s a High WASP look.

Then I looked up his father’s Wikipedia entry and discovered that the Carlson family aren’t High WASP at all. His dad’s life story is even more interesting.

Richard Warner “Dick” Carlson might be best known for heading Voice of America, which broadcasts overseas, during the last six years of the Cold War. During that time, he was also the head of Radio Marti which broadcast to Cuba and was also involved with other government-funded information entities designed to build goodwill between the United States and foreign countries.

Dick’s origins are fascinating. He was born in Boston in 1941 and his name was Richard Boynton. His mother was a high school student and his father, Richard Boynton, was in college at the time. Boynton committed suicide in Dick’s infancy. His mother, Dorothy Anderson, gave him to the Home for Little Wanderers, an orphanage in Boston.

In 1943, Mr and Mrs W E Carlson of nearby Norwood adopted the child. They had no children of their own. Mr Carlson managed North America’s largest and oldest tannery, Winslow Brothers & Smith in Norwood. Mr Carlson died in 1953 and 12-year-old Dick went to work to help provide for his mother.

Dick never graduated from high school. He joined the military when he was 17 and served as a medic with the third Battalion, Sixth Marine regiment at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and with the USMC Escape & Evasion School at Camp Geiger, N.C. He later graduated from the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Bainbridge, Maryland. Afterwards, he earned a NROTC scholarship to the University of Mississippi.

After being honourably discharged from the Naval Reserves, he worked for one summer as a patrol officer in the family resort town of Ocean City, Maryland. He returned to Mississippi that autumn to continue his studies but left in October 1962 when a series of violent riots occurred. This was the time of Civil Rights unrest and desegregation. Ole Miss, as the university is known, was attempting to admit its first black student, and segregationists went mad.

Carlson went to California to break into journalism. Although he started as a copy boy at the Los Angeles Times, he managed to get odd jobs which would propel his career: working for top entertainment columnist Louella Parsons and for United Press International’s Foreign Film Bureau.

UPI hired him as a full-time general assignment reporter in 1963, working from their bureau in San Francisco. He was promoted to night bureau chief by the end of the year.

He went on to write for Time and Look magazines and joined ABC News as a correspondent, on assignment in San Francisco and Los Angeles. By then, the late 1960s, riots were breaking out around the nation. Dick covered the main ones in California and was even injured at the San Francisco State College Riots.

Dick married an Omaha girl, Patricia Caroline Swanson. In 1969, she gave birth to Tucker McNear Carlson in San Francisco. (The couple have two other children.)

Dick won many awards for his journalism between 1967 and 1997. In the early 1990s, he worked for George Herbert Walker Bush’s administration. He was the Ambassador to the Seychelles, the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (parent company of PBS and NPR). He has also worked in counter-terrorism.

Today, he and his wife live in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Dick writes a weekly newspaper column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Charleston Mercury.

By now, some will be wondering more about Tucker’s Episcopalianism. He did bring up an analogy involving a hypothetical Episcopal priest in a recent show. His Wikipedia page also states that he is still an Episcopalian.

In 2015, he took exception to Obama’s claim that religion causes wars:

“So we’re responsible for the Crusades a thousand years ago?” Carlson complained. “Who’s ‘us’ anyway? And by the way, who ended slavery and Jim Crow? Christians. The Rev. Martin Luther King. Christians.”

“Christianity is the reason we don’t have slavery in the world today,” he added. “I mean, talk about ahistorical.”

“What’s so striking though is his mention of the Crusades as a way to make the point, ‘Before you judge ISIS, keep in mind that that Christians did it too,'” Carlson asserted. “The Crusades is a fixation among jihadis. There’s not a press release from ISIS or from al Qaeda that doesn’t call us Crusaders.”

Democrat-aligned Media Matters took Carlson to task for suggesting that ‘mainstream religious faith’ refers to Christianity when most of the world’s population is, apparently, Buddhist. The exchange below concerns Tiger Woods, who converted to Buddhism in 2010 during a rough patch:

Jacksonville, FL: When did Brit Hume go crazy? Tiger Woods should embrace Christianity and we will forgive him?

You say this on the air?

Tucker Carlson: Crazy? No. John Wayne Gacy was crazy. Judy Garland and Ezra Pound were crazy. Recommending that someone in distress adopt a mainstream religious faith is pretty conventional advice.

Carlson was probably thinking of Westerners, Americans in particular, not people worldwide.

In any event, it’s great that he is willing to defend and speak out on behalf of the Church.

I nearly forgot to mention that Carlson is married and a father of four. Follow him on Twitter.

UPDATE — APRIL 2017: Carlson has removed his Episcopalian affiliation from his Wikipedia page. However, in an April 10, 2017 article, The New Yorker states that he is still an Episcopalian, one who ‘abhors’ the left-wing clergy running the denomination. Good man. During their courtship, his future wife persuaded him to take Christianity seriously.

Readers of mine and admirers of Lleweton will enjoy this guest post from him about Fleet Street, which, until the 1990s, had been Britain’s journalistic home for nearly 300 years.

Llew has written guest posts before about Fleet Street and newspaper work:

Fleet Street, a lost Bohemia

Fleet Street’s cut and paste diplomacy

Llew’s post today concerns in part the controversial ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech by the well-known Conservative MP Enoch Powell. Powell was an erudite man and devoted MP. He was steeped in the Classics, having learned Greek and Latin in his childhood. He became a full professor of Greek at the age of 25. He also served his country during the Second World War, attaining the rank of brigadier. As he achieved so much during his lifetime, suffice it to say that Powell was a polymath.

Enoch Powell 6 Allan Warren.jpgPowell (pictured at left) hoped that, when he gave his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in 1968, it would open up an honest nationwide discussion about immigration and integration, both of which concerned his Wolverhampton South West constituents in the Midlands. Like them, he believed that rapid immigration was harming integration into English society.

The title alludes to a line from Virgil’s Aeneid. Powell wrote:

As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’

It has been said that Powell used that line only as an expression of foreboding, not as a prediction of conflict.

He sent out advance copies of the speech so that it would not be ignored. Certain Conservative MPs, including future Prime Ministers Ted Heath (party chairman at the time) and Margaret Thatcher, criticised Powell’s speech. Whilst the British public thought Powell had said nothing untoward, the elites were damning.

Powell gave the speech just three days before the second reading of the Race Relations Bill in the House of Commons. Heath had sacked Powell from his shadow Cabinet position two days before the reading.

The speech is still controversial today as is Powell himself. Both are taboo subjects.

Powell left the Conservative Party for the Ulster Unionist Party and served as an MP for South Down from 1974 to 1987. He died in London in February 1998.

Someone who knew Powell wrote a long article about him for The Telegraph in November 1998. The author seems to have been a politician, but the archive post has no byline. In any event, this person wrote:

As I have noted, Enoch was no racist, but he was a nationalist in the best sense of the term – that is, a British patriot who also acknowledged and respected other nationhoods. This was surely why he understood so clearly and so early the European Common Market’s true nature and purpose. Like me, he had originally favoured EEC membership because of the benefits of opening up European markets to British trade. But in the late 1960s he changed his mind and started to emphasise the incompatibility between the root assumptions of the Treaty of Rome and British legal and national sovereignty.

Now onto Llew’s guest post, which touches on Powell’s speech and, briefly, the EU Referendum. It also includes an overview of classic journalism. Enjoy!

————————————————————————————————–

The perils of copytasting

So much of the current political/moral climate brings back memories.

I don’t think I need to stress that I deplore racial hatred and discrimination. But one thing that I think links 1968 and now is that the working class world, under a Labour Government then, felt that its worries were not recognised or taken seriously and were even despised. We have seen that same sentiment recently in reaction to Brexit.

Because many Britons did not think the Labour Government was interested in their concerns, the Tories won the 1970 General Election. I remember winning a pint from a very left-wing Revise Sub-Editor for predicting that result. (Ironically, we got Ted Heath who took us into the EU!)

In April 1968 I was working as a Night Sub Editor at the Press Association (PA), similar to America’s Associated Press (AP), when Enoch Powell sent in an embargoed copy of his controversial ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. That was during the Easter Recess that year. Easter fell on April 14.  Powell gave the speech on April 20.

The question that evening involved how much of the speech to print in the morning edition. Was it a minor story or a major one?

Determining what news runs in newspapers involves a process called copytasting. Editors and sub-editors – subs — decide what stories get covered and at what length.

I’ve done plenty of copytasting in my time. It’s always a gamble. I remember once we spiked a Ministry of Defence story about a new warship.  It was a rehash of an old announcement.  The MoD press officer, a former colleague, confirmed that. Then the Daily Telegraph led with the story the next day and we caught a rocket for not using it.

In my day the pecking order in a subs’ room at a daily newspaper or agency such as the PA, Daily Telegraph and the Leicester Mercury was:

Day or Night Editor

Deputy  “  “  “ (sometimes)

Chief Sub Editor

Copytaster

Those were Top Table positions. Also involved often would be a senior sub-editor known as the Splash Sub. Then there were the Down Table subs.

This is how the process worked.

The original copy first went from the reporter to the copytaster, who decided whether to use it, how much and marked it up.

He handed the copy to the Chief Sub who sometimes made more assessments.

Then the copy went to a Down Table Sub who followed the instructions, looked out for pitfalls, cuts, checks, etc. In my day this often involved complete rewrites.

The Down Table then passed his work to the Revise Sub–Editor, a Top Table sub, who checked through and could make more amendments before handing the copy to the printers.

When computers came in this was still the process, but it was done on the machine.

It may all be very different now.

With regard to the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, I did not witness the exchange but was told that evening that the then Night Editor had looked at it and told the Night Chief sub to cut it to 300 words. I presume because of the nature of the Powell piece the Chief Sub involved the Night Editor from the start. The Chief Sub, a tough Glaswegian veteran of the Scottish Daily Express, insisted: ‘We’re using it in full.’ He won that argument.

It was the Night Editor who wanted to use 300 words and the Night Chief Sub who said every word should be used.  The default position of all subs in those days was to try to keep things as short as possible, within the confines of fairness.

I think, essentially the Night Editor, for whatever reason, didn’t pick up the seriousness of the Powell speech. It didn’t miss the awareness of the old sweat from the Scottish Daily Express. Real judgement. There were reports among my colleagues that evening that they had quite a row about it.

The subs had an ironic joke about their seniors on the Top Table or the ‘back bench’ paraphrasing their instructions as ‘Cut it to the bone and let the good stuff run’. The virtue of the system was – and I hope still is – that we reported events without slant, political or any other. In those days we also did frequent updates and summaries of running stories – and no computer copy and paste function. We were also, broadly speaking, an agency of record: Law Courts, criminal cases, both Chambers of Parliament, all sports, including horse racing, etc. etc. Output was enormous.

The PA, like the AP, Reuters and the AFP, served outlets all over the country and, via the foreign agencies, the world – from regional newspapers like the Falmouth Packet and the Southport Visiter (sic) to the national UK and Irish newspapers as well as the broadcasters – all via teleprinter and, in some cases, ‘train parcels’. Yes, really.

I often attended the early morning Holy Communion at St Bride’s when not working at Westminster. The vicar was the much admired Canon John Oates, who arrived in 1984. He helped to smooth the waters at a time when Fleet Street was undergoing dramatic change.

No. 85 Fleet Street was the HQ of PA and Reuters then. Metro International, publishers of the free newspaper Metro, are there now. Reuters moved to Canary Wharf along with some of the national newspapers, the Murdoch titles and the Telegraph. The PA stayed in central London, relocating to Vauxhall Bridge Road, not far from Victoria Station.

I started in local newspapers before that time. I think that is where my heart is still. To sell papers we needed to report what went on in the town or county. People loved reading about their community. I’ve many good memories of calling on vicars and pub landlords and eating cheese ‘cobs’ with parish councillors in their local pubs and Women’s Institute (WI) ladies, gathering their news and editing the reports they sent in on my own WI page.

The job involved day and evening coverage. If there was something to report, we went to it. And reported it. Yes, there was a romance about the job. Reporters are not funded, or allowed, to do that now.  I know that from my battles with the local press as a former volunteer press officer for a charity here. Not that I recall being paid overtime for my trips out of office hours. Four shillings for a lunch – around £5 today — with a contact was the max. It was not a lot.

Free newspapers, based on ad income, have been the ruin of truly local newspapers. It’s a great loss to community cohesion that this sort of coverage doesn’t happen anymore. Online local news does help keep the parish pump flowing but, to me, it’s not the same because it is only seen by initiates.

Times change. Newspapers change. Fleet Street, in journalistic terms, is a shadow of its former self. Only D.C. Thomson & Co., Metro International and the AP are there now. Modern computerised printing plants were built to the east of London in Wapping, hence the transfer of newspapers to Canary Wharf. The widespread use of the Internet has seen newspaper circulation decline. Most people receive their news online for free.

Looking back, I am pleased to have been part of local journalism and Fleet Street in their heyday. Despite the hectic pace – often there were days when stories and names blurred past because of the breakneck speed — those are memories to be treasured.

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