Today’s paper roundup: Jeremy Clarkson’s affair ‘exposed’ and Northern Ireland bomb in Libya link

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Forget the crisis in Libya. Jeremy Clarkson’s apparent affair is obviously much more important.

At least that’s what today’s Daily Mirror believes.

 Their front-page story is an “exclusive” (always be wary about that word) about the Top Gear presenter with a “secret lover.”

Overboard

Clearly tabloids thrive on celebrity news, but today they really seem to have gone overboard. “Clarkson’s mistress” adorns page one, while two and three are taken up by Charlie Sheen’s latest antics.

 Pages four and five then give us another double dose about the BBC star before we get to any serious news on page six.

Don’t get me wrong, I like celeb rubbish as much as the next person, but with such serious things happening elsewhere this does seem a little extreme.

Luckily The Daily Telegraph gives us a sense of reality. Their splash about Gaddafi reports on how he could soon stand down after a “growing realisation” strikes the Libyan leader.

The second main story is also very interesting, regarding the death of police officer Ronan Kerr in Northern Ireland. It claims the bomb which killed him could have been “supplied to the IRA” by Libya.

Strange

 It’s very strange to think these two stories, seemingly completely unrelated on the face of it, may actually be linked.

However, even The Telegraph can’t resist a bit of royal dabbling, with Camilla and Prince Charles the main picture on the front-page. Everyone loves a bit of royal news…don’t they?

The Times runs with a worrying story for the Tory leader David Cameron about his NHS reforms, with the PM being accused of having “lost control”.

The paper clearly sees the issue as a significant one for the government, using emotive phrases like as he “scrambles to prevent the coalition from splitting” to portray Cameron’s dilemma.

 Interestingly, the paper also runs with a comment piece on the front-page about Gaddafi.

 This is certainly something which you don’t see often, which reflects the scale of the crisis.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Celeb Gossip: Why people love it

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Matt Baker: David Cameron’s nemesis

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

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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