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Paper Monitor

13:02 UK time, Friday, 4 September 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's Day Three of Dominic Mohan's editorship of the Sun, and today's paper is a study in the light and shade that is the red-top's stock in trade.

Wrapping around its masthead is a bright and cheerful promotion for the start of its bargain holiday tokens. Decorated with autumn leaves, a mountain biker pulling wheelies, jack 'o' lanterns and bumper cars, it stands in stark contrast to what comes next.

Laid over a photo of a rubbish-strewn stream is a headline that is not so much a headline as a litany of horrors: "Brothers aged 10 and 11 burned young victims' eyelids with cigarettes..." Anyone who has read the coverage of this case in the papers will be familiar with what comes next.

Unlike its stablemate the Times, the Sun has no qualms about describing the perpetrators as "evil". And the "devil brothers", "hell brothers", "savage brothers" and "feral brothers". It also runs several pictures of the pair at large in Edlington, their faces obscured.

The Times leader, meanwhile, appears to hate the sin but not the sinners. "[It's] a terrible reminder of the evil that can result from parental neglect, domestic violence, inadequate social services and sloppy police work."

Normally, journalists writing about the media pack do so because there is not much else to write about. Not in Times reporter Andrew Norfolk's piece, describing the reaction in Sheffield Crown Court as the prosecutor outlined what the brothers had actually done.

"As the narrative proceeded, journalists who had covered vile criminal cases for decades stopped taking notes because their hands were shaking too much. A court usher started to cry. Others turned pale. No one had heard the like of it."

Paper Monitor, reading this on the train, turns pale itself.

Seeking some light relief, one flips to page 51 of the Business section. No wait, come back! It's to a story about that Russian meerkat. You know, "Seemples!" An ad campaign so successful that a rival company is reconsidering its own adverts fronted by the tall one off Dragon's Den.

"Industry experts said that the advert, which was launched in January and revolves around the play on words 'comparethemeerkat/comparethemarket', was a great example of advertising that has nothing to do with the product that it is promoting."

The Daily Telegraph reports that meerkat Alexsandr Orlov has become quite a star since becoming the cravat-wearing frontman - frontkat? - for the insurance website. He has 555,000 Facebook fans and 25,000 Twitter followers, which totally eclipse the Magazine's own stable of followers.

But why is he Russian, if meerkats come from Africa?

And finally, reader Jacob, of London, asks for Paper Monitor's TV recommendations as he shares one's enthusiasm for Strictly Come Dancing, The Wire and The West Wing.

Well Jacob, at the moment Paper Monitor has been enjoying Being Human - in which a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf share a Bristol flat - and Wallander in the original Swedish (it lacks the house porn of the BBC version, but the eponymous detective does swear at an Ikea bookcase).

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