Is Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel the next Michael Schumacher? For the good of the sport, let’s hope not!

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Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position for the third straight race tomorrow as he ominously pulls away from the chasing pack.

Nobody could get close to the German in today’s qualifying rounds, with Jenson Button, who will also start on the front, almost a second behind him.

Unstoppable

CNN describing the 23-year-old as “unstoppable” certainly seems to be correct at the moment.

It is already hard to see beyond him for the win in Shanghai.

While many people praise the talents of the young chap, which is valid, for the sake of the competition we have to hope he doesn’t triumph.

I do not say this out of spite.

But for this competition to be exciting, as any competition should be, it cannot just be a walk over.

Boredom

No offence to him, but the last thing we need is another Michael Schumacher.

His talent was great, yes. But for the contest as a whole, his period of domination was dreadful. Boring isn’t the word.

Now we have three exciting teams, in Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren, who are all (pretty much) equal. This makes it interesting.

But if his storming start continues, this excitement will quickly turn to boredom.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

‘Wonder pill’ for fat people, and shed a tear for Cowell

So much to do, so little time…

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Sorry folks, no real post today. We got our ethics essay questions today, and to ‘test’ our journalistic skills we have to answer them by Friday, which means all hands to the pump at the moment.

In many ways this is my last assignment for my journalism course, as after this it’s just exams and housekeeping. Quite sad in a lot of ways, but such is life…

Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to posting tomorrow. Sayonara for now!

Is there a Royal Wedding happening soon? It’s not like the papers have covered it much…

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Yeah, we get the picture...(by Nick Clapp)

Excuse me, but is there a Royal Wedding this month? I was just curious, because there doesn’t seem to be much coverage of it.

That is apart from the small amount of coverage which has been given by every national newspaper, every day since it was announced!

Four papers

Today, believe it or not, is no exception. Look at the front-pages of the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror. Kate Middleton is on each one.

Four of the eight main national papers have gone with her picture. Why? They aren’t even good pictures, or at least nothing special.

Flog that dead horse

I know, as we all do, that when there’s a dead horse (which this story is) you flog it for all it’s worth. But come on, this is bloody ridiculous.

Clowns to left, jokers to the right, stuck in the Middle with you...(by Nick Clapp)

The Mail and Express have even used the same “Kate shapes up for her big day” line. I know they’re practically the same paper, but try an inject some originality at least.

Blanket coverage

I am one of the few people who, it seems, is actually looking forward to seeing the event, especially as it seldom happens. But, I think we’re all tiring of this blanket coverage of every minor thing Will and Kate do.

Please papers, give it a rest, at least for a day or two.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

‘Wonder pill’ for fat people, and shed a tear for Cowell

Advertisers have got newspapers right where they want them, now they’re going in for the kill

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HSBC cover ad for Telegraph (pic: Nick Clapp)

This is a post I’ve been meaning to do for a while, about the way advertising in newspapers is changing.

It’s no secret the industry is dependent on adverts. Newspapers especially rely on advertising for most of their revenue, and so have to bow to the pressures of the ad men.

This has become even more apparent in the last few years, as papers lose more and more money.

Amazing changes

However, something amazing happened recently which really showed how much things have changed. At least I think it was amazing.

The Daily Telegraph, the only British paper which has maintained a traditional broadsheet style, came with a cover advert. That’s right, a cover advert.

Why is this a big deal?

Control

Simply because it shows now how much control advertisers have over newspapers.

Clearly to carry out such a huge campaign (it was for HSBC) still would have cost an astronomical amount of money.

But a few years ago this would have been unimaginable. Now, it’s a reality.

Good and bad news

This brings with it good and bad news. The good news is that it clearly means advertisers are still willing to pay for newspaper ads, and see them as the main way to get their message across, so at least they won’t neglect the industry.

The bad news is, as papers have to make more and more money from advertisers and squeeze out every last penny, they will have bow down to pressures a lot more and resort to things like cover ads.

This is the kind of thing which could eventually destroy a newspapers reputable image.

Just look at last Friday’s Independent for another example.

Five ads over two pages of The Independent (pic: Nick Clapp)

Spread across pages 30 and 31 were no less than five ads. Five. That’s an incredible thing to see, especially over just two pages.

Short term solution

Newspapers are struggling to survive, so in the short term selling such large chunks of each paper seems like a good idea.

But if this trend continues and gets worse, then I fear it could eventually lead to our most respected publications becoming nothing but colourful picture books.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

‘Wonder pill’ for fat people, and shed a tear for Cowell

Monday’s newspapers: Fat people rejoice thanks to ‘wonder pill’, and shed a tear for Simon Cowell

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Monday's Sun and Express (Pic: Nick Clapp)

Hurrah, it’s good news for fat people, at least according to the front-page of The Daily Express.

Their splash is about a “wonder pill” which has “more than double the slimming power” of current drugs.

Sadly, as we all know, stories like this have come and gone before.

New weapon against obesity

 Will this “new weapon in the battle against the country’s spiralling obesity epidemic” (wonderfully powerful language) work?

Somehow, I doubt it.

Page four of The Times today has a funny story about Boris Johnson getting up to his old tricks.

Boris Johnson

The Mayor of London has asked the “entire newspaper industry” to come clear about its use of phone hacking and similar methods.

Frankly, this is a pretty ridiculous suggestion, for two reasons.

Firstly, no newspaper in their right mind would confess to such tactics unless they absolutely had to.

Secondly, if they all did, then the amount of cases which would come to light would be staggering.

Shed a tear for Cowell

The most sympathetic (or just pathetic, depending on how you see it) story of the day has to be The Sun’s front-page.

It suggests that Simon Cowell’s “huge workload” could lead him to “an early grave.”

Now, not only is this completely unsubstantiated (the quote comes from a “source”) but even if it was true, it’s quite hard to believe.

Tough job

It’s not as if he’s chasing criminals or working long shifts on a hospital ward. He’s presenting TV shows. That’s not exactly stressful.

Even if it was, I’m sure he’s got enough cash to keep himself in good health.

Excuse me while I wipe away a tear.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

Does the BBC need to change? From the groundbreaking to the overly sensitive

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How do you solve a problem like the BBC? The organisation has, over the years, gone from strength to strength and given us lots of great things.

But, for all the good it does, and all the new ground it’s broken since being created, there are times when it deserves criticism.

Take this weekend’s Grand National for example. The main event in the horseracing calendar is a world famous occasion.

Tragic event

Yet Saturday’s was marred by the death of two horses. This was obviously a tragedy, which needed covering.

Yet the BBC shied away from doing so.

Rightly, it received criticism for that. It may not have seen it as being a very sensitive or politically correct thing to do during the showcase event, but even so, an organisation like the BBC should have covered it in more detail.

Ammunition

It’s times like that which do the broadcaster no favours and give ammunition to critics.

Yet for all the damage it does itself, there are moments of genius.

Take a programme which I watched yesterday, called ‘The Truth about Lions’ (catch on iplayer if you missed it).

Brilliant wildlife shows

It chronicled the rise and fall of the animal in Africa, and was another in a long line of high quality wildlife shows which has been produced by the beeb.

So, what deserves more notice? The times when it makes mistakes, or the times when it blows us away?

It’s a hard one to decide, made more complicated by the fact that we, as viewers, pay the licence fee.

What do you think?

Sadly, it’s an issue which could be discussed in a lot more detail than I can go into here.

But what do you think? Should be more critical of the organisation? Or should we let it be?

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

Get out and enjoy the sun!

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Just a very quick post to say…get out and enjoy the sun while you can!

As Brits we know that while conditions are as good as this (which sadly they rarely are) that we should make the most of them.

So get out there and soak up some rays while you still can 🙂

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