Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

In the Air

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

In the Air

Article excerpt

ANXIOUS moments at The Spectator ahead of the magazine's Parliamentarian of the Year lunch tomorrow after a rash of stories linking editor Boris Johnson and columnist Petronella Wyatt (pictured). Will Petronella show up? And will publisher Kimberly Quinn, who famously hit it off with David Blunkett at the lunch three years ago? Quinn, who is expecting her second child, continues to spend a lot of time away from the Speccie offices, to the growing frustration of senior staff. Indeed, one former Spectator board member says the directors intended to discuss her future at their next meeting. The recent axeing of the board by the new owners, the Barclays, hasn't stopped the rumour mill.

. SOME heated sparring between Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and Independent editor Simon Kelner at a debate on the future of newspapers, called Does Size Matter?, at Stationers' Hall. Rusbridger demonstrated a well-rehearsed trick of juxtaposing one of Kelner's front pages with one from the Daily Mail, arguing that "the new tabloids are on a dangerous and slippery slope". But Kelner had stolen his thunder and told the audience about his technique beforehand. "I knew you were going to do that," said Kelner smugly, as Rusbridger left the stage. "I know, you bastard," muttered Rusbridger cheerfully.

Times editor Robert Thomson, who was also on the panel, quipped: "I'm like the demilitarised zone."

. CUT-THROAT competition among hacks at the PEN quiz night this week. The erudite Observer team revealed that editor Roger Alton had given them only one order - they must not be beaten by sister paper The Guardian. As it turned out, honours were even, with The Obs and Guardian dead-heating. The Times won, thanks largely to a brainy graduate trainee, whose performance was so flawless that even his team-mates found it eerie, verging on the suspicious.

. IN THE wake of The Guardian's unsuccessful letter-writing campaign to get Americans to vote out Bush, former Blair aide Pat McFadden approached the paper's political editor Michael White at a party. …

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