Monday, June 28, 2010

England lost, but it's the Sun wot won it

There are few better days to night edit a tabloid than the week of an England match against West Germany. The trick is to be in the chair all week to make sure you get the full range of headline opportunities.

It’s all very well for Thomas de Maiziere to call for restraint, but he needs to know that, behind the scenes in the aftermath of the only story anyone is talking about, it’s open season - and pure Spitting Image.

Why else would we go like lambs to the slaughter of credibility with such barking predictions as Germans terrified of 3 lions (Sun, Friday, complete with picture of ‘scaredy cat’ players in a fortified safari truck and an inset Wayne Rooney in boxing pose), We’ll make Roo sorry (Sunday Mirror) and All-out roar (NoW with an embarrassing picture of Rooney, Gerrard and Terry showing their fangs alongside a token lion, there presumably so we don’t mistake them for vampires). Even the Sunday Express waded in with Rooney holding a giant flag with the headline: Your country needs Roo.

That was before the match. Edition put to bed, its time to roll up your sleeves and you’re 90 minutes away from the likes of Fritz your lot (Daily Star) and Rout of Africa (Mirror); the sort written days ago, when the draw was made and stored for the inevitable.

The Mail gave the top of page one to the Littlejohn quote, If The few had defended as badly as England, we’d all be speaking German now. That just about said it.

But for once, only one tabloid back benche woke up the old adage that there’s no better way to tell a story than straight.

Thus the best front page of the day: The Sun, with it’s full-page shot of the backs of the players lined up for the national anthem as if facing a firing squad of fans with the headline: You let your country down.

Some things are best served raw.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Don't make hard work out of seeking work

It feels good to be advertising for staff, even casual staff, these days. And it's encouraging to get a strong and instant response from Gorkana.

But common sense dictates that it the need for more hands on deck usually means you're up to your eyes in it and need someone to share the workload. So, a few pleas:

1. If I ask for a news reporter, get in touch if you fit the bill - don't tell me you specialise in arts, book reviews or, God help us, travel – and could turn your hand to it. I wouldn’t hire a vet who fancied having a go at my ulcers.

2. If ask for a sub, don't even think of not reading your letter before sending it, lest you try to convince me your work is “fast and acurate”. And that’s an accurate quote.

3. And whatever I ask for, don't tell me you're conversant, (or worse, compliant) with systems if you're going to demonstrate the opposite by ramming my Outlook account with 10mb of PDF attachments.

Like I said, I'm busy. I want to know at a glance that you're The One, and if you cant relate that fact at a glance, you're probably not.

See you at the interview.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Own goals? I know the feeling

Footballers eh? They’re like children. You watch ‘em grown then they let you down.

Take Nigeria’s athletic keeper Vincent Enyeama. A stunning display against Argentina had the talent scouts watching his every move. Good news for his club side, Hapoel Tel Aviv who, my man in Israel tells me, are hoping to cash in by flogging him at a premium.

Nice to hear some good news following the wall-to-wall coverage of the hand-of-clod howler made by England’s Robert Green.

Media students: please feel free to count every inch given to five seconds of action. We’ll dissect soon and discover the true art of milking a yarn for all it’s worth.

Anyway, not to be outdone, Enyeama gave the Chronicle its own angle on goalies and swerving balls for a readership interested in all things Israeli – so we joined in the fun and milked it just that little bit further.

Here’s the angle: Enyeama’s old manager Avram Grant has just got a new job and may be looking to headhunt his former No.1. And where is Grant destined for when the new season begins? West Ham. And which club does the hapless Robert green play for? Yep: West Ham. Conclusion: Poor old Rob may be fighting for his place with a star who doesn’t spill easy shots.

Thus, a back-page picture of Enyeama saving spectacularly in front of the best player in the world (Messi, if you’re not into this) with the irresistible headline: Sorry Rob, your problems just got worse.

Fine and Dandy. Until you put the paper to bed and turn on the TV to see Enyeama’s Nigeria line up against Greece for their second group match.

Hardly had the presses stopped rolling before Enyeama faced a low shot, not a great deal different from the one Green had spilled on Sunday. And what did he do?

He spilled it. Nigeria lost and a our inspiring story of the hero soon to take a coveted premiership jersey hit the shelves alongside all the red tops, seemingly dying to have a pop at suspect goalies.

Thankfully, it hardly got a mention. At least the blushes were saved.