Saturday 9 August 2014
The American action against ISIS in Iraq makes the main story in six of the ten (and the FT); the extent of any SAS involvement is unclear and the i heading doesn't quite match the story (there is a strong case for saying that the country is at war with itself, but not that the latest Western action creates a new conflict), but it's encouraging to see a serious and important story claim the main spot on an August Saturday. It is, however, equally disappointing to see that the puffs have not been curtailed. It jars to see bikini clad women advertising puzzles on top of the SAS story or a naked man atop "US bombs jihadists".
The most interesting aspect of the Times's front page, however, is the presence of an advertisement at the bottom. A cricketer made the front-page picture of the Guardian yesterday, so football cannot be far away. In fact, the Premier League returns next weekend, papers are offering guides to the season, transfer gossip and so forth, and Sky Sports is making sure that no one forgets with ads on the front of the Telegraph, Independent, i and Times. As you see, the one in the Times is deeper than the rest. Let's hope this doesn't become a regular fixture, front-page ads are killers for tabloids. Inside, pages 2 and 3 are given over to Sky and there's a chance to win a Sky Sports package on 4. Editorial then claims its bounty: two clear spreads followed by a run of three clear right-handers. Good negotiating by that page planner.
Elsewhere in the mini Shard, Sun cancer campaigners were latching on to Susanna Reid and a lump in her chest. Needless to say, her terror proved to be unwarranted - a benign cyst - but the "story" is offered as an example of the importance of women checking their breasts regularly, coincidentally reminding readers of the Copafeel! campaign. SubScribe has always been uncomfortable with this enterprise and is equally unsure whether dramatising an instance where everything turned out to be OK is a good idea. Will it encourage women to take action in similar circumstances or make them think "Oh, not to worry. It's probably only a cyst"?
SubScribe Sun boobs with Page 3 campaign
Friday 8 August, 2014
Commander Sarah West was the first woman to captain a Navy warship, but now the Sun tells us that she has been disciplined over an affair with her third-in-command and will never be put in charge of a ship again. There are many serious issues raised by this story, but they won't be discussed here. For SubScribe has only one comment to make: Give the sub who wrote that splash head a medal.
Plaudits, too, for whoever spotted the unfortunate juxtaposition in the first edition of the Telegraph, right, and instituted the quick change that produced the page above.
Further down the page, the paper lines up with the Guardian and Times in reporting that President Obama is preparing to order airstrikes to protect Iraqis being persecuted by Isis jihadists, while the Independent remains focused on Gaza with its striking main photograph.
The Times's splash is rather confusing: the heading suggests that there will be more than one conflict covered, but the story relates exclusively to Iraq. What it is doing is pulling together the flight of 100,000 Christians, the plight of 40,000 Yazidis at risk of dying of thirst up a mountain, and an unknown number of Kurdish forces who are all under attack from Isis. An airstrikes heading would have been better. It is also mystifying that Tom Coghlan's report (from where? No dateline) that Christians were being beheaded and crucified does not merit a mention in the wrap splash. He quotes the Rev Andrew White - a respected source - as saying: “There are many explicit examples. They have chopped off heads, chopped children in half, hanged people on crosses. The stories you hear are so bad they don’t sound true they are so extreme — but I am afraid they are extreme, and true. People are being killed and their homes blown up. They are putting yellow on their houses and saying they are ‘Nazarines’ and not welcome.” To leave this sort of material to page 30 is odd, assuming the paper has complete faith in the claim.
The Mail covers the airstrikes angle on page 2, followed up with a spread on conflicts in the region on 30-31 (more of this elsewhere later).
Returning to the more trivial, the Express follows yesterday's Mirror exclusive on Amal Alamuddin posting her wedding banns and reports that the notice had been shredded after being displayed for the requisite 16 days. The Mail, with whom George Clooney has such a cordial relationship, does not appear to have reported this in today's paper.
But much, much, much more worrying than that is the revelation that this wedding notice had been up in a public place in central London for more than two weeks before anybody picked up on it. Whatever happened to regular calls and checks? This is where you get stories: court lists, planning application, wedding notices. They are all open to public scrutiny. Great heavens!
Thursday 7 August, 2014
Yesterday the Tories were at sixes and sevens over Sayeeda Warsi's resignation from the Government, today they're tizzing around over Boris Johnson's threatened return to Parliament.
Is he a prince over the water destined to save the country from Europe and his party in the process? Or is he a buffoon disguised as an erudite classicist playing the fool? Is he a flawed genius or a deluded adulterer? One thing is certain: he is the country's most recognisable and recognised politician, with more charisma in his newly-shorn blond mop than the whole of the House of Commons put together. As such, his decision to renege on his promise to serve a full second term as London Mayor and to seek instead a safe Tory seat (safely within the M25) is a valid splash for papers both left and right. His picture is absent from only two front pages - the Times, which leads on his planned return, and the Mirror, which splashes on the stabbing of two British medical students in Borneo and no doubt irritates the hell out of the rest of the Street (especially the Mail) by getting a scoop on George Clooney posting his marriage banns at Kensington register office.
Poor old Dave is meanwhile out of the loop on holiday in Portugal: Warsi told him she was off only just before she tweeted her resignation on Tuesday; Boris (yes, I want, I desperately want, to write 'Johnson', but even ageing pedants have to accept that he's 'Boris') gave his old Eton chum an hour's notice before announcing his decision. The Prime Minister must be wondering what other shocks his loyal troops have planned.
Will he get elected? Probably. Will he join the Cabinet if the Tories are returned? Probably. Will he make a bid for the leadership? Possibly. Will he ever get the keys to No 10? God, let's hope not. But it's going to be a wonderful story all the way.
*Facetious footnote What a pity they started the storm season with Arthur, rather than Alice. Then we might have seen this.
See what the commentators think about the return of the blond bombshell here
Wednesday 6 August, 2014
A mutiny? A rebellion? A war? Baroness Warsi has stirred up the Tories with her resignation - but whether she has precipitated any kind of uprising, let alone a war, is questionable. Certainly the Times's choice of the word 'war' in this context seems unfortunate. But it has at least - in common with the Independents, splashed on the best story. It's surprising to see the Guardian prefer the aspirin research, less so for the Telegraph to plump for GM crops and Dave's holiday photo-opportunity, and the Express confounds expectations by preferring higher electricity bills to "a simple pill a day to ward off cancer". The Mail has the best consumer splash with the latest in the chicken story first reported by the Guardian. But it really is perverse to have two politicians take up so much of the front when neither is the one who matters today. Warsi does, however, inflict a shock 5-3 defeat on Kate in the picture stakes. She even makes a mugshot in the Sun, which returns Katie Price to her familiar place alongside the titlepiece. In case it passed you by in the two days of WW1 mania, Ms P gave birth to her fifth child the other day. The little girl was a couple of weeks early, unfortunate timing that meant the announcement was consigned to page 7 yesterday. Today we are relieved to learn that love-rat Kieran held her hand through the caesarean, cried at the birth and that the marriage is back on. Well, as back on as a marriage can be when you are having therapy for sex addiction and have to take regular lie-detector tests. Who'd have guessed it would end like this? Everyone.
Editor's blog Honour the fallen, but not with this ersatz emotion
See what the commentators say about Warsi here
Tuesday 5 August, 2014
There will be a lot of grubby-fingered readers today. Printing processes have improved in the past half-century, but not to the extent of protecting the hands from this volume of black ink. They are, however, sufficiently advanced to allow the Independent to produce this front page and render it readable. Yes, the page in real life is more charcoal than the black we see on screen, but the white is as clear and sharp as anything. The Guardian, too, looks better in print than on screen. The Express and Star have both excelled themselves - although the former takes cheesiness to a new level with the offer of a free World War One thimble. For the Sun and Mail, yesterday's events provided an excuse for more royal pictures and the Times was even more blatant with its wraparound photograph of Will and Kate against a bright green background. Yesterday's poppies were lovely, today's wrap is inside out. The i stands alone in splashing on something other than a moment from 100 years ago. Well done them. The Guardian and Times both find room for another element, and the Telegraph just looks confused.
Editor's blog Honour the fallen, but not with this ersatz emotion
Monday 4 August, 2014
Sunday 3 August, 2014
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