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

Leave a comment

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

Advertisements

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

Leave a comment

Is there anything wrong with phone hacking? I have to say, I don’t think there is.

Let’s face it, this kind of thing has been going on for years. To say it’s only a tactic that’s been used by the News of the World is too naive.

Journalists come and go between newspapers all the time, and so do their methods of getting stories.

All newspapers

I would bet at one time or another, all newspapers have accessed voice mails and messages in this manner.

But what’s the problem? Journalists uphold standards of journalism, and journalism in turn upholds standards of democracy.

News has a crucial role in holding to account those who need to be held to account.

Yep, in the public interest

The defence of ‘in the public interest’ has been used many times, but that’s because it’s such an important one.

As a society we deserve to know what those in power and positions of responsibility are actually doing.

It’s through methods like this (though not directly) vital stories about MP’s expenses and injustices have come to light. Surely that’s benefited society?

If those people who are being ‘hacked’ have done nothing wrong, then they have nothing to fear.

Celeb double standards

But what about celebrities? Don’t they deserve better? Well arguably yes.

But they can’t have their cake and eat it.

If they truly want privacy, why are they staging shots for the paps and doing everything they can to stay in the public eye.

You can’t phone a photographer to tell them where you’ll be to get your picture on page three of the Daily Mirror one minute, and then be complain when they try to get your messages the next. Double standards?

Our conversations have been listened to for years by the government’s own hacks as they bring about a Big Brother state.

I’d say that’s more worrying than some millionaire actor or politician being rightly held to account.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Clarkson’s affair ‘exposed’ and NI bomb Libya link

‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

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

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Friday’s newspapers: Independent’s Ivory Coast story breaks conventions and cash-strapped Cameron’s fly on Ryanair

Leave a comment

Whatever you say about The Independent, I don’t think anyone can deny that it often has great front-pages.

Today’s for example is striking, with a helicopter flying over the city of Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, seemingly being fired at.

It doesn’t really follow the conventions.

 There are no celebs, no fancy graphics or over the top headlines. But for some reason it just works.

Brilliant

It’s brilliant front-page almost makes up for the fact the rest of the paper is full of black and white pictures, which still strikes me as strange.

There’s also an incredible story on page 11 of the paper, about a Swedish couple who went on a “catastrophic honeymoon tour”.

Understatement

Incredibly, their trip saw them go to Australia, South-east Asia and Japan. Erika Svanstrom says it “turned out to be a bit more than we bargained for.”

 That’s quite an understatement!

The Daily Telegraph has a great front-page story, about the government looking for a “Twitter tsar.”

‘Tough’ job

That’s right, someone is going to be paid £142,000 a year to send out “text messages” make initiatives “easy to understand”.

 Well, it’s a tough job…but someone’s got to do it.

The Telegraph, along with the Daily Mail, also has a fantastic picture of the Cameron’s in an airport departure lounge.

 But this isn’t first class, as you’d expect. This was with Ryanair.

 And as such, both David and wife Samantha look suitably fed up. Clearly the recession really has affected everyone.

Paying for Osborne’s petrol

The Daily Mirror has gone with a typical tory-bashing story for their splash, as apparently George Osborne “charges YOU for HIS petrol”, as they’ve put it.

Now, as much as it is bare faced cheek for him to claim petrol expenses, did we really expect anything different?

 At least it’s not a bloody duck pond! And let’s face it, if we were in a position to claim as much as this bunch of ‘politicians’ do, we probably would.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Rupert Murdoch’s media monopoly

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Clarkson’s affair ‘exposed’ and NI bomb Libya link

‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

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

Katie Price, Charlie Sheen and celebs: Why people like reading gossip

2 Comments

There has been a lot of talk recently about why so many people continue to read “news” stories about celebrities, like Katie Price (aka Jordan) religiously.

While I agree it seems strange at times, the answer is actually very simple: because we want to.

We want to read about Katie Price’s relationships with cross dressing cage fighters. And Charlie Sheen “banging seven gram rocks” (direct quote).

The general public, and consumers of news, love gossip and hearsay (not to be confused with the, erm, band).

Cheap

Newspapers discovered this a long time ago, and flogged this dead horse for all it’s worth. While the amount of articles published daily about celebs is extreme, don’t blame the media.

Blame society.

Journalists found out just how much readers loved rumours and scandal. This provided an almost magic formula for editors.

While nothing is guaranteed in news (which is why they’re now seemingly dying a death, but more on that later) this is as close to a cash cow as it gets.

This is because of several key factors.

Firstly, it’s cheap to produce. Think about it. When revenues are squeezed, you don’t want to pay for expensive investigatory journalism. You want something quick and easy to produce.

Which celeb news is. You don’t need many sources, many substantiated facts or a lot of copy. All you need is “a close friend” (whatever that really means) and a nice, big pic. Simple.

Saturation

Secondly, there’s a lot of it. There are more channels than ever. More mags. More bands. Which means more celebs.

So, there’s a constant stream of scandal, arguments and famous people collapsing out of nightclubs. It’s an all you can eat buffet.

Thirdly, it’s easy to read. Whoever you are, you know you’ve read celeb news at some point. From hairdressers to Oxford academics, we’ve all done it. Sad I know.

But it’s easy to consume, because it’s shiny, glossy, simply written and appeals to our bitchy side. Which we all have.

The formula is simple, and makes sense. So you see an article about Charlie Sheen’s meltdown or Katie Price’s new book, feel free to read it. Or ignore it. Just don’t complain.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Rupert Murdoch’s empire: Fair or undemocratic?

Gareth Bale and Robots

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news