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Paper Monitor

12:57 UK time, Thursday, 13 October 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Her Majesty's press is tending towards introspection again today, months after its self-feeding frenzy over hacking. The Leveson inquiry into the General Nastiness is bringing out some unlikely revelations.

Yesterday Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail but someone rarely quoted in public, came into the limelight as he warned of the dangers of press regulation.

En passant, he referred to two newspapers as "brilliant" - but they weren't his own. They were ones "subsidised either by trusts or by Russian billionaires". By implication that is the Guardian and the Independent (or the INDEPENDENT as we must now shout it so that it is harder to miss).

Kelvin Mackenzie, the voluble former editor of the Sun, had some confessions to make in the London Evening Standard yesterday.

Noting that the inquiry wants to know how much editors know of stories' sources, he recalls that only once in his 13 years as editor did he ever ask about a source.

It turned out to be an expensive mistake. The story was wrong and the paper had to pay £1m in libel damages.

On another occasion, the Sun had published a story based on a leak from the Ministry of Defence, he said.

"The reporter concerned came in and said there was a problem. No 10 had gone nuts and an official inquiry was starting into who had leaked the story, with a colonel from MI6 being drafted in to head it. The reporter told me the MoD were determined to get to the bottom of it but it was not all bad news. Why was that, I asked.

"Because the colonel heading the inquiry was the bloke who gave us the story in the first place."

Meanwhile, over at said INDEPENDENT (this is already getting tiring), even the crossword is feeling a bit introspective. As is conventional in these matters, one must say the next few paragraphs should carry a SPOILER ALERT for anyone planning to solve the puzzle later today.

But there is a Today programme theme. Answers include MONTAGUE, REDHEAD, NAUGHTIE, NORMAN, FORD, WEBB, STOURTON, DAVIS, QUINN, ROBINSON and LYMAN.

If you're really interested, the clue for HUMPHRYS is "Irritable interviews ultimately taking little time".

And if you're really interested, this is reached by the following method: HUMPY for "irritable" then S for "interviews ultimately" (its last letter) going around ("taking") HR (an abbreviation for hour, or "little time").

Paper Monitor hopes you feel smarter now.

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