Daily Telegraph: awards dinner at the Dorchester expensive, shock

These days you can find a date, plan a weekend in Brighton, arrange your wedding, and insure your new house through the Daily Telecraph. OK, I invented the bit about arranging weddings.
 
Every newspaper and magazine is searching for more and more ways of bringing in cash as they try to cope with with declining sales and advertising revenue.
 
For trade publications, organising conferences and awards ceremonies is a lucrative part of the business now. Problems with the journalism awards organised by the Press Gazette were among the reasons that led it giving up print and becoming an online only publication.
 
Trade journals like the Local Government Chronicle still produce print editions although, increasingly, their sales are online and the journalism is supported by the various events they organise.
 
So you might have thought the Telegraph would have a little sympathy for the LGC which held its local government awards ceremony last week.
 
But no. It ran a story headed, Council chiefs’ five-star dinner for handling cuts. It detailed the numbers of people sent and the money spent by some councils.
 
The tone of the piece was set by the intro:

More than 1200 senior local government officers, many of whom have overseen redundancies and deep cuts to services, attended the black tie awards ceremony in the chandeliered Great Room of the five-star Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, Mayfair, on Wednesday.

Some of the councils do seem to have sent more people than necessary but given the price of London hotels for those coming from distant parts they did not look particularly extravagant. And we don’t want council officials and councillors to cut themselves off from the chance to talk to others in their business and, perhaps, learn from them.
 
Suffolk County Council won the public/private partnership award for the Suffolk Waste Programme. So how much did it cost to pick up with award? This is what a spokesman said:

Two representatives attended (Bryn Griffiths, the assistant director responsible for the project and David Gazeley, our senior procurement manager who was the project director during the procurement phase).
 
Costs were of course kept to an absolute minimum. They travelled by train on day returns (standard class) and they did not stay in hotels. The tickets cost £225 each which included access to a conference to share good practice with councils across the country. No expenses have been claimed.
 
For info, the projected saving over the lifetime of this award winning project is approximately £350m – when compared to continuing to landfill.

That sounds like money well spent. And there are no cheap ways to organise an event in London.
 
For the Telegraph, I think it was one of those easy stories. Posh hotel, council officials eating well, redundancies, and the Taxpayers’ Alliance to make the expected comment.
 
It is far too convoluted to suggest they were worried about some of the profits going to ease the losses at their rival newspaper, the Guardian. But the LGC is part of EMAP which is 30% owned by Guardian Media Group as one of the investments made specifically to support the newspaper.
 

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