DIARY: Reuters' comms boss Walker enjoys the fizz

Familiar faces at the British Press Awards last week, where there seemed to be more PR people than hacks.

Edelman, Hill and Knowlton, Bell Pottinger and Weber Shandwick were among the major PR firms represented at the Park Lane Hilton.

Held on the night of Tony Blair's key parliamentary vote on the Iraq war, conversation turned to the impact this would have on the industry.

'Clearly it's harder to get clients mentioned in the paper if there is so much war coverage,' one serious PRO commented. 'Yeah, but you have a great excuse when you fail,' was one agency CEO's more realistic response.

Elsewhere, the flashlights were clearly getting to Simon Walker, comms director at troubled news group Reuters - which two weeks ago announced another 3,000 redundancies. Asked by one onlooker how many Reuters staff could have been saved had the firm not sponsored an award and a table at the gala dinner, Walker responded: 'Dunno, but the champagne's rather good.' Oh dear.

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