The media editorship of The Times is much the same. It's not easy for anyone to write about their own business, but to try to do so when your employer is News UK is well nigh impossible. Look at the stories of the past five years: the BSkyB bid, hacking, police investigations, Leveson, the News Corp split - and all the while the proprietor's hatred of the BBC ticking away.
You can make your own luck, cultivate contacts and come up with good stories, but there will always be the suspicion among rivals that you are peddling the company line, that there's a sting in every tale.
Alex Spence made a good fist of this impossible task in his brief time in the job. He, with Press Gazette, was out in front with stories about the misuse of RIPA and press freedom issues not only in Britain, but also overseas.
Then someone offered him that chalice brimming with champagne: the Sun was going to kill off page three. He had no option but to take a big gulp. The natural reaction from other news organisations was "if it's in the Times it must be true". And of course it was.
As Gameoldgirl noted in January, this pointless tomfoolery left Spence unfairly looking an idiot. He protested in "a strongly worded email" to the editor, a week later he disappeared from the newsroom and he hasn't been seen there since. According to Private Eye's Street of Shame last week, he'd been put on a "PIP" - personal improvement programme - although that report has been described as inaccurate. One source said that he'd just been told "by a Witherow minion" to "buck up".
Now he has resigned and is taking a holiday with his wife before considering what to do next.
None of this reflects well on the Times or the Sun.
Let's hope the next candidate for the job makes sure the chalice has been properly washed up before putting it to his or her lips.
Editor's blog: Gotcha
Gameoldgirl: Spare a thought for page 3 fella