April 30th, 2013
James Fallows caught the Times being very naughty in captioning a news photo earlier today.
James Fallows caught the Times being very naughty in captioning a news photo earlier today.
The Guardian Truncation Team highlights the occasional unfortunate consequences of the paper's mobile app truncating all headlines at the two line mark:
[Via Martin Belam]
I think my favourite part of the newspaper report about a Pervert caught pleasuring himself in slurry for third time (From This is The West Country)…
A man found naked in a field amongst cow dung and mud had been sexually pleasuring himself, a court has heard.
It was the same farm he had returned to over a period of seven years.
When police officers arrived soon after, they found him covered in a large amount of slurry and mud, in a quagmire, surrounded by tissues.
This is the third time that he has appeared in court for this kind of behaviour. [...]
… is that the first comment on the article is from a reader objecting to the fact that the newspaper's web site filed this story under 'Devon'1 when the incident took place in Cornwall and the offender was from Cornwall. After all:
Readers unfamiliar with the geography of Britain may inappropriately be led to believe that this sort of thing could possibly be allowed to happen in Devon.
[Via Blood & Treasure]
2) We're all fabulously important people now. Seriously you guys. we're like the 1% these days and this shit does not look good on golf club applications. Or we're just busy.
[Via flashboy dot org]
Martin Belam predicts the tenor of Olympic media coverage by the British media over the next few weeks:
DAY FIVE: After a couple of failed drugs tests, and a fracas in one of the men's hockey matches, nearly all newspapers feature an online poll: "Is the spirit of the Olympics dead?". Except the Daily Express which features a poll "Would Diana have enjoyed the London Olympics?"
THE DAY AFTER: The general consensus is "Wow, that was great. What can we bid for next?"
Three months later: George Osborne cites the Olympics as a "special factor" in worse than expected economic results as the UK hits a triple-dip recession
Sometimes I think Marina Hyde is wasted on the Guardian's Lost in Showbiz column. Then she writes a piece like Abu Qatada's weight and the showbizification of terror and I realise she's exactly where she needs to be, doing $DEITY's work:
[The Daily Mail...] is distressed the corporation should regard "extremist" as a value judgment best avoided in news reports, where "radical" would do. But more than that, it seems, they are incensed at the Beeb's guidance on Qatada's present dimensions, despite the fact it was clearly only given to ensure current rather than out-of-date stock pictures are used. "BBC staff have also been advised against using images of the preacher looking fat," the paper shrieks to its readers. "He is apparently now much slimmer than he used to be."
"Apparently"? Now come, come, Daily Mail. This disingenuity does not become you. I put it to you that you knew very well indeed that Qatada had slimmed down – just as you are aware of even minuscule cellular changes in the adipose layers of everyone from Cheryl Cole to third-tier government ministers to babies such as Harper Beckham, who are only one whitewashed inquiry into press standards away from being described as "pouring their curves" into romper-suits and the like.
Harry de Quetteville, Obituaries Editor for the Daily Telegraph, on The Art of the Obituary:
[It is...] rare for us to reflect on funeral arrangements, although there are exceptions. It may be fitting to note that a Spitfire will fly over the church where a Battle of Britain fighter pilot is being buried, or that the proprietor of a famous haunt for sozzled actors has asked for mourners to come to his funeral in costume and make up. Rob Buckman, the doctor who died last October after a career which was devoted to improving the way medics counsel the terminally ill, left instructions for a recording to be played at his own interment. It was to run: "Thank you so much for coming. Unlike the rest of you, I don't have to get up in the morning."
Frank Keating's article on the best of 2011's letters to the editor finds room for a reminder of a classic of years gone by:
Memories here a week ago of the late John Arlott stirred a friend to send the cutting he had hoarded for 35 years of a long-forgotten letter to the editor after John and I had enjoyed a lunch at Lord's on the day we reported on the start of a new cricketing summer. It was from Catherine Waterson of Bishopbriggs, Glasgow: "Sir, I see that the English cricket season has begun in typically changeable weather. So changeable that the sun did not once come out at Lord's for John Arlott on page 20 but shone all day for Frank Keating on page 21. Yours sincerely."
No doubt Keating's summons to appear before the Leveson Inquiry to account for himself is in the post.
The Daily Mail on the Amanda Knox verdict: you could
n't make it up!
In the preface to a new edition of Good Times, Bad Times, former Sunday Times and Times editor Harold Evans finds one small consolation in the wake of his having left the News International empire:
On my departure from the Times I became a non-person, and it proved a very happy experience. For years my birthday had been recorded in the Times, a matter I felt more and more to be an intrusion into private grief. After my resignation, my name was left out of the birthdays list. I then came to regard each passing year as not having happened since it had failed to be recorded in the paper of record, and I adjusted my stated age accordingly. More recently my name has been put back in the birthdays list, which is a pity. Perhaps this new edition of Good Times, Bad Times will generate another act of rejuvenation.
Sit them down at manual typewriters and ask them to plunk "2011" onto a piece of paper.
They'll only make it halfway.
"Mine's broken!" one reporter at Florida Atlantic University yelled a couple of Saturdays ago, when we launched the inaugural ALL ON PAPER project. "There's no number 1 key."
"This one is busted, too!" yelled another.
"They're not broken," I replied. "Manual typewriters didn't have a number 1 key. They used a lower-case L instead."
"Seriously?" asked the first reporter. [...]
"That's totally fucked up!" declared the second. Those same words have been repeated often these past two-and-a-half weeks, as we've embraced pre-computer technology to publish the last summer issue of FAU's student newspaper, the University Press. [...]
[Via Feeling Listless]
Robert Fisk remembers working at Rupert Murdoch's Times:
He is a caliph, I suppose, almost of the Middle Eastern variety.
You hear all these awful things about Arab dictators and then, when you meet them, they are charm itself. Hafez al-Assad once held my hand in his for a long time with a paternal smile. Surely he can't be that bad, I almost said to myself – this was long before the 1982 Hama massacres. King Hussein would call me "Sir", along with most other journalists. These potentates, in public, would often joke with their ministers. Mistakes could be forgiven.
The "Hitler Diaries" were Murdoch's own mistake, after refusing to countenance his own "expert's" change of heart over the documents hours before The Times and The Sunday Times began printing them. [...]
[The paper's foreign editor...] dispatched me to editor Charles Douglas-Home's office with the Reuters story and I marched in only to find Charlie entertaining Murdoch. "They say they're forgeries, Charlie," I announced, trying not to glance at Murdoch. But I did when he reacted. "Well, there you go," the mogul reflected with a giggle. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." Much mirth. The man's insouciance was almost catching. Great Story. It only had one problem. It wasn't true. [...]
From Lt. Col. A.D. Wintle.
The Royal Dragoons
127 Piccadilly W.1.
To the Editor of The Times.
I have just written you a long letter.
On reading it over, I have thrown it into the waste paper basket.
Hoping this will meet with your approval,
Your obedient Servant
6 Feb '46
Okay let's make one thing crystal clear. Just because Crazy Horses by the Osmonds is about to come on, don't put two and two together and think it has anything to do with the fact that I chose it. That would be incredibly naïve and short-sighted on your part and demonstrate once and for all how little you understand the world of high-powered record choosing.
The Daily Express can shut up shop now, having published what amounts to the platonic ideal of a Daily Express front page.
[Via Prog Gold]
From time to time1 I've been known to rant about how I wish the newspaper and magazine publishing industry would stop distracting itself with visions of paywalls and iPad apps and find a way to let me make a single payment that will be shared out in proportion to the number of times I read their various publications. Now the creators of the Readability bookmarklet have gone several steps further than just decluttering the reading experience: they're out to ease the process of paying publishers for their work along the way.
Readability is now an online service that both stores details of stories you want to read later but also divides up the monthly subscription you pay – a minimum of US$5.00 per month – between the various publishers according to how often you've read them each month. Several very smart people are advising them on this, and I really think this could be the start of something huge.
I've just signed up2 and installed the Safari extension, and am looking forward to playing with my new toy over the next couple of days.
It gives me no pleasure to say this, Southern Daily Echo, but this is more like a low rent recreation of the Raft Of The Medusa than it is a celebration of Sexy A-Levels Day.