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Paper Monitor

13:40 UK time, Monday, 2 November 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

We all like a weather story now and again, and several of the papers are singing from the same hymn sheet today with their take on the everyday minor fluctuations of a barometer needle which, in normal times, is simply called the weather forecast.

The Scots certainly have good reason to be alarmed - heavy rain has brought havoc to areas of Scotland. But elsewhere in the UK, the story is largely that it's November and it's damp, windy and a bit chilly.

Hardly front page fodder, unless you are the Daily Express, which last Tuesday had splashed with the story that we were in for a spot of mild weather, sorry, make that a "70F Indian summer".

A point of order before we go further. Ever noticed how newspapers deploy two different scales to measure temperatures depending on whether it's hot or cold? Contrast last week's Express headline with the paper's headline from 5 January this year: "Sub-zero Britain - Temperatures plummet to -9 as longest freeze for a decade tightens its grip."

The Times also pitches into the "it's autumn and the weather is a bit wet" story on its front, with an image of two men in rain gear driving a veteran car on the annual London-Brighton car rally.

Delve inside the paper and you soon come across a picture of a boy wrestling with an inside out umbrella and another image which has been widely reproduced today, of a man surfing in Tyneside. Granted the waves look pretty fierce, but, IT'S NOVEMBER!

But Times weatherman Paul Simons, who deserves a medal for his command of weather stats, raises the stakes by noting this year has seen the driest September and October combined for 53 years.

Staying with the Times, a helping of kudos to the picture desk for forgoing the typical image that accompanies most stories on soft drugs. Its picture of two eyeballs - one heavily dilated from the effects of smoking dope - is hardly the most arresting of images, but at least it's not the same old crumpled cannabis joint that's in just about every other paper.

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