Socialist Worker

What Telegraph staff want after Black's fall

by a Telegraph journalist
Issue No. 1879

It was good to read the article in last week's Socialist Worker on the sudden resignation of Lord Conrad Black.

He is the neoconservative media mogul who ran the Hollinger International newspaper group that owns the Daily and Sunday Telegraph.

There's widespread glee here at Black's fall from grace. He was loathed by working journalists for siphoning cash out of the company into his back pocket while screwing down on his employees.

His reign was marked by bullying management, increasing casualisation, fanatical hatred of trade unions and a constant chipping away at wages and conditions.

Black has always fancied himself as some kind of latter-day Napoleon figure. But unfortunately for him modern capitalism favours grey fund managers over deranged buccaneers – so his fantasies ended up 'drowned in the icy waters of egotistical calculation'.

Nevertheless, it's not all good news. The Wall Street firms that elbowed him out are looking to cash in their investments by selling off most of Hollinger's juiciest assets.

The Telegraph is first up on the auction block – and a possible buyer is Richard Desmond, the sleazeball porn boss (and New Labour donor) who owns the Express.

Journalists here are understandably petrified at the thought of Desmond taking over. His 'management style' is to cut costs, dumb down and sack as many people as possible.

And he's desperate to get his hands on a 'respectable' paper like the Telegraph. (Michael Howard paid a visit to Desmond last week to extract a promise that he would preserve the paper's Tory editorial stance.)

An awful lot depends on the actions of our NUJ chapel (union branch) in the next few weeks. We're in the middle of our first collective pay claim since we won union recognition earlier this year.

Whatever happens, we need to build the Telegraph NUJ so that we're in a position of strength to look after ourselves when the new management takes over.


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Article information

News
Sat 29 Nov 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1879
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