DIARY: Sunday Business gets on fast track to bring readers yesterday’s news

‘Every Sunday’, the inaugural Sunday Business editorial trumpeted, ‘this broadsheet will report, reflect, analyse and speculate on the issues of the week gone by and the week ahead.’ It was doubtless modesty which prevented it from mentioning its prowess in scoops from the year gone by.

‘Every Sunday’, the inaugural Sunday Business editorial trumpeted, ‘this

broadsheet will report, reflect, analyse and speculate on the issues of

the week gone by and the week ahead.’ It was doubtless modesty which

prevented it from mentioning its prowess in scoops from the year gone

by.



For on page two, it reveals that Dick Newby, Matrix Communications

director and ‘deputy chairman’ of the LibDems, is acting as a consultant

to Railtrack. The paper declares that this revelation will be ‘a huge

embarrassment to the LibDems who are implacably opposed to the

privatisation of Railtrack’.



Strangely enough, it didn’t seem that embarrassing to the party 12

months ago this week when PR Week first broke the news of Railtrack

hiring Matrix (PR Week, 28 April 1995).



In any case, it’s Dewe Rogerson which is handling the Railtrack

privatisation, not Matrix, which is providing general public affairs

advice. And Newby is not ‘deputy chairman of the party’, but deputy

chairman of general election external communications.



Nevertheless, Sunday Business journalist Adam Sherwin defended his story

with gusto when I called. He insisted it was still significant that

Newby was working for Railtrack, even if not directly on the

privatisation, and that, as the story was new to him, ‘it obviously

couldn’t have had much currency last year’.



Sources close to Newby say he is understandably baffled by the whole

affair.



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