DIARY: How easy it is to be hoisted by one's own petard

Last week's Local Government Association conference saw Andrew Rawnsley emphasise one of his points - that journalists rarely check their facts - a little too well.

While chairing a panel session on whether the media give local councils a fair press, The Observer's political commentator told a packed auditorium that even he had been the victim of sloppy journalism.

In a personality profile about him, one newspaper incorrectly said his first job after leaving university was at ITN. 'A quick look in Who's Who would have found that it was, in fact, the BBC,' he said.

But later in his speech, while referring to Hartlepool Football Club mascot Stuart Drummond's startling success in that town's mayoral elections, Rawnsley referred to the club as 'a second division team'.

Wrong. It is in fact in the third division - it was last season and it will be this. The club's website may not be as illustrious as Who's Who but it's still worth a check, Andrew.

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