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Paper Monitor

11:03 UK time, Monday, 14 January 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's January, the perfect time to change your life and make 2008 your best year ever. As expected, the papers are brimming with suggestions and advice on how to achieve this metamorphosis. Anything and everything, right down to getting a new haircut - yes, it can be that simple.

But Paper Monitor has noticed a bit of one upmanship going on between the papers. It seems just telling us how we can change our lives is not good enough, there's a fierce battle going on to see which paper can change our lives in the shortest amount of time possible.

The Independent can do it in seven days, but the Express is laughing in its face. It can do it in a weekend. Its advice includes having "a long think about your values". Obviously not too long, you only have 48 hours after all.

The Sun has come up with a rather novel twist on the whole X-Factor-style competition format. It's launching Debt Factor in today's paper, where you can win £25,000 to pay off loans, bills and credit cards. All you have to do is tell the paper in 100 words why you deserve the money. The 10 "most moving" stories will be printed and readers will vote on who wins.

There's something quite unsavoury about the whole thing, getting people to beg for cash by revealing the misery of their lives. But maybe we should be thanking the Sun, as there's nothing like reading other people's tragic stories for that smug at-least-my-life's-not-as-bad-as-that feeling. So keep your eyes peeled for the "most moving" stories - this phrase being media shorthand for utterly desperate.

Presumably you will be able to vote by ringing a premium-rate phoneline. Just the way to run up a few debts.

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