22
Apr
09

exclusive: Editor of the Gazette desperately tries to silence his critics

Yesterday Mr Monkey revealed that editor of the Shields Gazette and chair of the Northern region of the Society of Editors, John Szymanski had complained to council leader Iain Malcolm about the contents of a newsletter that criticised the Gazette’s less then healthy relationship with the ruling Labour group. CLICK HERE.

This chimp can now confirm that Mr Szymanski has brought his profession into disrepute by attempting to silence his critics. Unfortunately his actions have made a mockery out of his so called commitment to free-speech and has raised some serious questions about his integrity and judgement as well as his suitability to continue as a editor of the once proud Shields Gazette.

It seems that Mr Szymanski took exception to the following statement published in the spring edition of the Independent newsletter for Westoe: 

WITH ALL OF THIS ACTIVITY why is our local rag not full of accounts of all the questions, discussion and debate raised by the Independent Alliance? It has been suggested that the Gazette has become part of the Malcolm Fanzine Cavalcade. Since Cllr Iain Malcolm stepped out of the shadows and took on the role publicly that he has always had, leader of the Council, the editor of the Gazette is seen more often at the jollies previously mentioned than the Mayor! The Alliance has no need to depend upon the Gazette for reporting its activities, we can do it ourselves. As you know we distribute newsletters four times a year, produce special leaflets for specific issues e.g. Gypsies Green and the disappearing ballot boxes, knock on doors and talk to people throughout the year and hold public meetings. Never the less, it is sad to think that free press is not that free and has been bought for an onion baghee from the buffet! 

 … apparently the truth hurts.

A source close to Iain Malcolm has confirmed that he alerted Mr Szymanski to the article who in turn was so incensed by the critiscim he faced that he contacted the council leader to see if there was anything he could do about it. Councillor Malcolm told him there was nothing he could do officially and that the best course of action would be for him to make a formal complaint to the local Standard’s Board. Councillor Malcolm explained the process in more detail and even told him which sections to quote in his complaint.

Mr Monkey can now reveal that John Szymanski has complained to the Standard’s Board about councillor Jane Branley whose name was on the newsletter and that following a confidential report to a sub committee the matter will now be investigated further.

What councillor Malcolm didn’t tell John Szymanski was that when a complaint is made to the Standard’s Board the person who the complaint is lodged against is told who made the complaint. Poor Mr Szymanski thought he was making an anonymous complaint and that no one would find out about it, least of all councillor Branley and especially his own staff – nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr Szymanski’s desperation to silence his critics and his willingness to please his paymaster has back fired and he has been labelled a hypocrite with no integrity. He’s also become the laughing stock of his profession – but worse is to come.

Mr Monkey will be contacting senior managers staff at Johnston Press in Edinburgh and will be sending hard copies of this post to every member of the Society of Editors and not just in the North East.

Mr Monkey has also learned that a further 20,000 newsletters containing the same article have been distributed in Hebburn South, Whiteleas, Biddick and All Saints, Horsley Hill and Whitburn and Marsden - apparently there’s more to follow.

Mr Monkey can’t help wondering how Mr Szymanski is going to explain this latest in a long line of gaffes to his senior managers? 

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15 Responses to “exclusive: Editor of the Gazette desperately tries to silence his critics”


  1. 1 The Sun on High
    22/04/2009 at 16:40

    Well, well, well, Mr S. – as the Sun newspaper might say – “Gotcha.”

  2. 2 Sub-Editor
    22/04/2009 at 20:08

    WITH ALL OF THIS ACTIVITY why is our local rag not full of accounts of all the questions, discussion and debate raised by the Independent Alliance? It has been suggested that the Gazette has become part of the Malcolm Fanzine Cavalcade. Since Cllr Iain Malcolm stepped out of the shadows and took on the role publicly that he has always had, leader of the Council, the editor of the Gazette is seen more often at the jollies previously mentioned than the Mayor! The Alliance has no need to depend upon the Gazette for reporting its activities, we can do it ourselves. As you know we distribute newsletters four times a year, produce special leaflets for specific issues e.g. Gypsies Green and the disappearing ballot boxes, knock on doors and talk to people throughout the year and hold public meetings. Never the less, it is sad to think that free press is not that free and has been bought for an onion baghee from the buffet!

    Shame the newsletter didn’t point out that there is a local blog that uses precisely the same language as that used in the newsletters, in fact it is so similar one might think they were authored by the same people. Now let me think which councillor newsletter writer was recently enjoying free onion baghees at the opening evening of a Laygate restaurant?

    It’s almost official then, this is the semi-official South Tyneside Independent Alliance website, the nasty party is really going after peoples throats, no interests in policies, just damage the personalities!. Now how would you lot ever manage if you were given the responsibility of running the council?

    You have burned every boat and bridge in sight, your hatred for certain council officers is splattered all over these pages, your hatred for certain councillors is plain for all to see, your hatred for the local newspaper is difficult to hide, your hatred for other bloggers is poorly disguised, is there anyone you lot could actually get on with? Where would you find the cooperation to enable you to run a multimillion pound council?

    As your first respondent has said – “Gotcha”

  3. 3 Try Again
    22/04/2009 at 20:27

    The rabit-rebuttal unit is in full swing against Mr Monkey, it seems.

    As for the Szymanskiii story: GOTCHA GOTCHA GOTCHA!!!

  4. 4 Bob Monker
    22/04/2009 at 20:36

    So you say you don’t need the Gazette to spread your own publicity, so why the hell do you keep whining on about it then.

    The rest of us are happy with the gazette it’s your bloody newsletters that get up my nose, from letterbox to dustbin in one easy move.Fuckin politicians.

    Who pays for all your shit anyway, it cannot all come out of your own pocket, your not all as rich as the westoe folks.

  5. 5 The Librarian
    23/04/2009 at 07:44

    Sub Editor – did I read somewhere that council Alex Donaldson opened a restaurant in Laygate recently?

  6. 6 The book reader
    23/04/2009 at 08:05

    Mr. Librarian, the Mayor is not a prolific writer, certainly not of newsletters.

  7. 7 The Librarian
    23/04/2009 at 09:28

    No but I’m told he loves his onion baghees and madras curries.

  8. 8 MacSpongepants
    23/04/2009 at 19:24

    You really seem to have misjudged the public mood with your last few posts Mr. Monkey haven’t you? I think you should gp back and ask the party for some policy directives.

    Oops, sorry, forgot, they don’t do policy do they?

  9. 9 Mr Monkey
    23/04/2009 at 20:18

    Amusing how many people think they know so much about Mr Monkey, the fact is that only one person came near to exposing Mr Monkey in nearly 9 months and that was by chance.
    This chimp loves the speculation and innuendo, keep it up people especially you Labour party types it does wonders for his ego and his stats.
    As for you Pisspants or whatever your name is, Mr Monkey isn’t here to please you or anyone else so if you don’t like it don’t read .. but you can’t resist having a little peek can you?

  10. 10 Charlie
    23/04/2009 at 21:18

    Tell em mr m… We love ya

  11. 11 The Sun on High
    23/04/2009 at 21:57

    Indeed Charlie,
    When the Malcolms and their dodgy friends are brought to book, it’ll be thanks to Mr M. Thanks for that, most excellent Chimp!

    As for MacPisspants – in your dreams baby!

    Let’s repeat it – Gotcha Malcolm tribe and Mr S. Just a matter of time now.

  12. 12 Philip Carey
    24/04/2009 at 07:50

    Over the last 18 months The Gazette has undergone a massive transformation.

    Last year it ran stories concerning missing ballot papers, high court election cases and a Council email which centred on a pure contempt for the electorate and public. The 2009 Local Elections were a culmination of this coverage, when then Council Labour leader Paul Waggot lost his seat.

    These stories were at the forefront of provincial journalism, and they gained national attention. More importantly for Szymanski and his bosses, it sold papers by the bundle.

    However, since Iain Malcolm became Council leader, The Gazette has become a shadow of its former self. It is now more concerned with cats stuck up trees than it is with the manipulation of political power. As a result circulation figures have fallen and the paper now covers the bottom of more rabbit hutches than it does coffee tables.

    What has happened since that inglorious day when Iain Malcolm took control of the Borough?

    What is the origin of the power which the Labour administration clearly holds over the Gazette’s editorial policy?

    If the allegations made against Iain Malcolm on this site are true, then manipulating a regional editor would be child’s play for a man whose ego knows no bounds and whose lack of morals encompasses serious election fraud.

    If John Szymanski thinks that by referring Jane Branley to the Standards Board all criticism of his conduct will cease, then he is sadly mistaken. Both he and Malcolm have made a massive mistake and have shown that they have no political acumen. This is grist to Branley’s mill and she won’t let it go. The fall out from her appearance will draw attention and it will go on and on and on, and when The Gazette fails to pick up the story, The Journal will.

    How embarrassing will that be John, when your bosses find out that not only were you manipulated in an attempt to stifle political debate and free speech, but you were also beaten to the post by a rival?

  13. 13 Le Vieil Aigle
    24/04/2009 at 14:41

    How true Philip Carey, and how well argued. The whole pack of cards, manipulated by the Malcolm family, and their hangers-on – (Pudgy Face and Big Teeth Wheely Bin note!) is now in freefall. Mr S – you’re a piffling idiot and a very stupid little man, wholly without vision!

    As Philip argues, you will continue to be beaten about your fat little loins, until either you or you contemptible little rag pass into history.

  14. 14 John The Editor
    24/04/2009 at 23:17

    Le Vieil Aigle, have some compassion.

    Szymanski can still save himself.

    He has before him allegations of electoral fraud, the perpetrator being named and witnesses highlighted.

    All he has to do is instruct a certain reporter on his staff to follow it up with a full investigation.

    As the good Book of Journalism says, Chapter 9, Verse 6:

    “Redemption John, follow the path, and thy sales will riseth, and thy job will be saved!”

  15. 15 Le Vieil Aigle
    25/04/2009 at 23:49

    Ah, yes, John. I do appreciate your evangelism, but he won’t will he? He’s sold OUR LOCAL PAPER, along with his self-respect, to a nasty, nasty man, AND THERE IS NO REDEMPTION LEFT FOR HIM.

    There WAS a time, (February 2008) when it did appear that the sad old Gazette was dipping its toe into the rough seas marked “Investigative Journalism.”
    It quickly withdrew its toe however, and returned to cosy old nonsensical chit-chat, with multiple pics of Missy gormless-grin Miliband, our parody of a Mayor, and Miss Piggy holding up OUR Town Hall..

    No, John, I’m afraid that I’m in no mood to have comapassion for that little fat friend of Miss Piggy. Papa MUST continue to receive a lengthy thrashing to his fat little loins!


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