Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Phew! What a stinker

What constitutes a winning headline these days is becoming decidedly dodgy. The finalists announced by Press Gazette today range from the half-decent to the, frankly, pedestrian.

The Sun’s treatment of US general Stanley McChrystal sacking was okayish (Mac the knifed) but the Guardian’s Rene Descartes note found on the internet (Descartes letter exists, therefore it is found by web surfer) was the sort of thing my second year students would come up with.

Only the NoW and Sunday Mirror's “Hand of clod” reaction to goalie Rob Green’s World Cup blunder got anywhere close to what I’d call a decent head.

At least we didn’t have to put up with the likes of The Mirror’s Saturday offering on Simon Cowell visiting Cheryly Cole in hospital (Bed Si manner) or the Sun’s absurdity on cuts in the Civil List (Her Much-less-ty).

Anyway, the good news was that the judges got it right when choosing the Star's story on Declan Donnelly growing back his thinning head of hair. The headline: It's all strands on deck.

Take a bow night editor Nick Bailey. I knew him when he was a cub sub in the provinces - and he was dreaming them up like this 25 years ago.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Eric Pickles - some headway?

The government wants to tighten the rules on council-run freesheets.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has wasted no time in doing what his predecessor dithered about: insisting the government will tighten the rules on the growing number, and often quite daft, propaganda sheets masquerading as proper newspapers.

He hit out at what he called "town hall Pravdas" passing themselves off as independent journalism.

It comes as an endorsement to the Newspaper Society’s campaign to tighten the council publicity code, and leave local news, and advertising, where it belongs – in the hands of local papers. The LGA claims most council papers are distributed a few times a year and are not significant competitors for ad revenue, which is debatable to say the least.

But what is plainly barking is their claim that "only council publications can keep residents fully informed about the services on offer where they live".

If they can’t even get that right, what hope have they got of telling us anything we need to know.