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Paper Monitor

11:00 UK time, Friday, 9 January 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Ah, isn't "probably" a word rich in promise? An adroit newspaper sub-editor can sprinkle it like fairy dust and transform even a humble nib - short for "news in brief" - into a tastebud-tickling amuse bouche.

The Times deploys this fairy-dust to great effect with the headline "Aliens probably not to blame for mangled turbine".

Is your mouth watering? Is it? Rarely does interesting-thing-didn't-happen make the newspapers, but when interesting-thing-didn't-happen involves a damaged wind turbine, the weather, and unexplained lights in the sky, then it does.

Those playful scamps at the Sun may go all out with headlines such as "Close encounters of the turbine" today and yesterday's "UFO hits wind turbine", but for a serious paper of record such as the Times, the word "probably" is needed to green-light such silliness.

The Daily Telegraph deplys a question mark to similar effect: "Lights in the sky and a broken wind turbine: evidence of little green men?"

Speaking of Sun staffers, they really are in a cheeky mood. After the Guardian's Emily Bell, director of digital content, blogged that the lights seen near the turbine were actually fireworks from her father's 80th birthday, the red-top today branded her theory ridiculous.

And how, quoting her as "Emily Bell - a local blogger for a small newspaper group..."

Paper Monitor shouldn't laugh. Or at least not quite so heartily.


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