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Paper Monitor

09:54 UK time, Monday, 4 May 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

If you were to go the National Newspaper Library at Colindale in north London and look back at the fading and yellowed newsprint of papers from long ago, you would notice one major difference from today's titles.

Pictures.

Fine colour presses now allow high quality pictures. Papers can choose to define themselves by the front page picture as much as the headline.

So the front of today's Sun has a picture of an attractive young actress blowing a kiss as she enters a premiere. On the Daily Mirror, what could be more Mirror than a picture of a beaming Fern Britton. Is she beaming because the Mirror is revealing her "new diet secret" inside?

On the Daily Telegraph there is a warm, fuzzy oil painting. It's the Duchess of Cornwall. And if Camilla hits the Telegraph's target audience who could be more Daily Express than Felicity Kendal. All the better to salve the pain of readers upset by illegal immigrants.

The Daily Mail, never one to go for cheap titillation, has an image of 19-year-old Princess Eugenie in a bikini. In case that's not enough, there's another shot inside. It's enough to remind you of a row over another bikini photo - of Eugenie's sister Beatrice - and the Duchess of York's criticism of Allison Pearson for some veiled comments.

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And on the Guardian, it's all about the story. But when wasn't it? Their main picture is of a doctor accused of accidentally causing the death of a patient.

Of course, pictures aren't the only thing you can use the modern presses for. There's also the blurb - the promotional box at the top of the paper, promising goodies inside.

This image from the Mail on Sunday shows the difficulty of achieving consistency even in this. One part of the blurb is telling people to Keep Calm and Carry On. The other is telling people how to get their hands on an anti-viral hygiene kit.

Make your mind up.

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