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If in doubt, put up campaigns that people will find impossible to argue against AND creatively steal other peoples’ ideas.
To suggest that the ‘News of the World’ is a family newspaper would be stretching the truth just a little as it covers an awful lot of scandal and nonsense in it’s pages (mainly any of the perm-four-from-five subjects of sex, drugs, alcohol, money OR violence), granted it occasionally features the odd human interest story BUT the sense of ‘awe’ it must inspire to readers as the latest celebrity gets broilly involved in some ‘unfortunate’ incident makes the ‘News of the World’ a far sinister read then most readers are willing to acknowledge (a sense of the unwashed LOOKING DOWN on the ‘great’ and the ‘good’ perhaps!?)..
The ‘News of the World’ is merely a facade as a scandal and gossip sheet, aiming to popularise it’s appeal by stating it’s intentions up front (lo betide those who disagree with them for they are to cast as evil and ne’er-do-wells who simply disagree with them just because) with indigneous boasts of ‘WORLD EXCLUSIVE’ or ‘EXCLUSIVE’ (Mind you, Carol Vorderman, for example has put a brave face AND supported the odd campaign or two of the 'NotW'....Michael Barrymore was never a big fan....).
Far better than it’s international nemesis ‘The National Enquirer’ which covers similar ground BUT is far more gaudy and unreceptive (they’re prepared to stick their necks out though so FAIR PLAY to them even if the stories rise little above the unbelievable truth that are ‘The Sun’/’The Sport’).
Dropping features after a few weeks simply because they can’t admit they’re wrong (Rav Singh in the ‘Rav’ column promised that he would reveal the CIN singles chart’s top three selling records EVERY week....he quit after two weeks after ‘predicting’ Wheatus’ ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ would outsell Atomic Kitten’s ‘Whole Again’....not as bad as the fecking ‘The Sun’ who after proudly boasting it’s ‘The Official Survivor Newspaper’ has quit, switching it’s allegiences to being ‘The Official Big Brother Newspaper’....mind you, I haven’t seen any ‘support’ JUST report).
Have you any stories you’re willing to tell for very little money about someone you despise, close to you!? It appals me that such things occur (the worse thing is that people are willing to ‘sell out’....it proves the adage ‘Put your friends close BUT your enemies closer’ a bit ironic then....even worse, is it’s ‘people who’ve slept with celebrities’ stories which invariably will crop up which readers will either find a GUILTY PLEASURE and an insight into all those celebrities that people fantasise about (maybe you have, I don’t know....) or disrespectful and ambigious (as I do). It sells papers and that's the things that count.
Filled with snaps from ‘celebrities’ copping off with loved ones usually ‘stolen’ moments of them at the beach or ppol-side at a hotel (I know they have long-lenses BUT more likely it’s surveillance cameras too....it is already planned in advance? Are the celebrities themselves in on it? Do they care?).
The campaigns they run are blase NOT ballsy and just blah, sensationalistic....’Sarah’s Law’ and ‘Megan’s Law’ worthwhile causes though they are makes you want to go ‘Duh!’. Yes, campaigning against paedophiles won’t have any critics BUT getting celebrities to get in on the deal is bad taste (in comparison to the seemingly restrained ‘The Indpendent On Sunday’s ill-advised stance on what was then, a campaign to legalise marijuana....nobody cared).
’Cash & Parry’ who proudly proclaim to be ‘The People’s Champions’ who do rarely little BUT brighten up the life of some unfortunate person who needs to overcome some illness OR disability....to beat about who this ‘Captain Cash’ would be absurd though and a bad sense of moral judgement as they do, do a good job BUT it rarely gets trumped up like the other pieces in this paper.
Any saving grace come variantly in two forms....the ‘News of the World’ has writers of occasional note who write very partisan pieces that neither you feel should be treated seriously as they think they should be OR any respect. Chris Buckland is the incumbent political columnist replacing Sion Simon who wrote well-argued pieces for ‘The Daily Telegraph’ when he turned to the ‘NotW’ to write pathetic half-page soundbites. Chris Buckland like Richard Stott before him feel rabid and old hat (and old news).
Worryingly one of my favourite writers (though I rarely agree with her) Julie Burchill writes occasional profiles of celebrities in the news with such thorough dissection and hateful precison of their personalities, one can only assume that they allow Burchill’s presence because like ‘GQ’, they can boast that they had an established writer of note writing for them (in that case, may I recommend in all seriousness Giles Brandeth who may be ridiculed by many for his woolly jumpers BUT as a writer he makes worthwhile reading and his political insight and acute AND sharp cynicism is easier to digest and belies the chumminess that is shown on say, ‘Countdown’).
The recent addition of ‘Dr. Pam Spurr’ as it’s resident ‘sex therapist’ in their ‘sex clinic’ seems delibrately designed to titillate (it almost certainly is) AND not really practical as anything you might have read in say, that standard that is ‘Cosmopolitan’ (it doesn’t feel out of place there....even in the ‘NotW’, I’d want them to show a bit of a restraint).
What’s the difference between ‘Dear Deidre’ in ‘The Sun’ and ‘Dear Jane’ in the ‘NotW’!? Absolutely very little as they’re both agony aunts with ‘photo casebooks’ BUT Jane is far more cutting, unhelpful and rude AND the subject matter’s more morally deviant (the calibre of reader that read ‘The Sun’ and the ‘NotW’ may reflect here....).
The sports feature at the back called ‘Sin Bin’ is pure men’s magazine type stuff with it’s ‘editor’ Martin Daubney and it’s crude depiction for ‘gorgeous sportswomen’ (with accompanying photos....you should have read what was the 'real' reason why men watch women's tennis....frank? Truthful? God knows....) and a wacky look at sports stories around the world. With a tremendous emphasis on football though, it’s ideal for that one aspect BUT other sports are rarely covered with such tenacity and conviction that it’s almost ‘nouveau cuisine’. Shame and their collage of sports results is merely the ones THEY think YOU should know RATHER than thorough coverage (football, again is the only one they treat with any respect with a separate pullout as well called 'Score!').
Out of all the columnists (here comes my first of the saving graces....) my favourite if any is Ally Ross, a Scottish TV reviewer with a knack for belittling remarks and rude soundbites that should keep Garry Bushell on his toes (not to say, a firm knowledge for the phone number of his lawyer as Ally ‘steals’ his format of reviewing as many shows as possible in snippets....some may argue that Charlie Catchpole has the ‘copyright’ to that format....they should know better).
And as for ‘Ross and Ronay’....they get paid for what they write!? It’s when you go beyond the halfway point that you feel a sense of relief as the perspective shifts onto sensibility with Peter Prendergast’s ‘Money Matters’ column and Richard Jackson’s gardening column ‘Dig’, genuinely practical advice BUT unfortunately brief.
Papered over the cracks are ‘tidbits’ around the articles which invariably are cribbed from other sources as they’re the ‘wacky’ stuff that occurs from around the world (ain’t too proud to rip-off their sister paper ‘The Sun’ either....).
The ‘NotW’s ‘Sunday’ magazine’s style and format is a blatant rip-off of ‘Heat’ (also a rip-off of sister paper 'The Sun') which it once gave a 4 out of 10 rating....that’s s’funny ‘NotW’, why are you using it’s typeface and design for your TV listings then?
Inbetween (and here’s the second of my saving graces....) is the type of stuff that’s meat and two veg for women’s magazines such as health and beauty treatment and food recipes BUT done in such a way that the info is fresh and new as it’s very witty captions in it’s photo gallery of celebrities called ‘Snap Happy’ regularly proves. Elsewhere, are the usual fodder of human interest stories of triumph over adversity OR freak occurences that form an all-too-easy grin on your face.
Coming as the ‘supplement’ in the ‘NotW’, combined with the newspaper itself, it’s tremendous value.
The ‘News of the World’ overall feels it’s the fountain of all knowledge and when it is proved they’re fallible, they’re unapologetic about it and carry on with the next thing as though it never happened....where it is partisan it is merely patronising (oh, and of course, wrong....).
Nobody has the guts to tell Britain’s biggest selling Sunday newspaper what to do and where they should stick it. :-P
In it’s letters page recently, you have to worry that someone has wrote in for £10 saying:
“Mel B’s story proves yet again that wealth, fame and popularity don’t always go with happiness. No doubt she’ll get more taunts in future, mainly from people jealous about her good fortune. But now she has the metal strength, hopefully, to withstand it”.
I don’t see anybody sniping about Nicholas Lyndhurst for example, who seems to have been able to keep quiet about his private life brilliantly (apart from his ‘secret’ wedding). The reason why Mel B is being subjected to such treatment is that newspapers like the ‘NotW’ are printing defamatory stories such as they’ve spent lots of money on buying a house (as the ‘NotW’ has) AND then printing stories about their past in order to gain sympathy for themselves and their chosen subject.
My hostility for the ‘NotW’ resides as much as it’s unsubtle attempts to provide news stories that aren’t news (Kate Beckinsale’s ‘secret’ film past is in a long line of up and coming film starlets whose past have come to ‘haunt’ them....that’s what the ‘NotW’ aims at....titillation for men).
More scary than the idea of George Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’, the 'NotW' is a newspaper geared for men BUT bought by a tremendous amount of housewives, it’s ultimate saving grace AND cause for popularity is it’s price which makes it very convenient. A more trite and unfortunate reason is people WANT to read salicious gossip on celebrities and DON'T want news that's been reported on TV in more detail (a churlish point that one....sometimes for instance, a 'bombing' may prompt the 'NotW' to do a thorough report).
In the end, I am reading the WRONG newspaper, I’m not a puritan BUT it’s intentions are hardly pure, it’s values are inverted as much as they are subverted and that’s one of the many reasons I despise it.
FOOTNOTE: You won't care to know it BUT the editor is Rebekka Wade. Who!? It doesn't matter who she is BUT who's she with....Ross Kemp. Any dirty little stories OR tales of triumph about Ross, you'd like to care to tell us, dear OR is that private!?