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Paper Monitor

11:39 UK time, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

When journalists are young great pains are taken to instil them with "news sense".

Perhaps journalism's core skill is this ability to instantly judge whether a particular occurrence is both interesting to the audience and of significance.

Some journalists have this naturally, but many don't. And it's always possible to make mistakes.

Take for instance, the kerfuffle over cutting remarks made by British New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay about Sugar plum Fairy ballerina Jenifer Ringer, namely that she "looked as if she'd eaten one sugar plum too many".

Unfortunately, Ms Ringer has spoken in the past of suffering from eating disorders, helping to propel Macaulay's comments into a very minor furore.

The Daily Telegraph's sense is that this is just a nib (news in brief), two pars in its world news section.

But the Times sniffs something more, letting the story have the whole of page 30.

They reason that the reader wants to see a big picture of Ms Ringer and the justification by the critic of his remarks.

You can again see news sense in action in the Daily Mail's coverage of the US satirical programme The Daily Show's japes at Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The show featured a "commemorative riot plate" as well as a "commute of terror" chess set, showing a king and queen piece in a car surrounded by a mob of the other pieces.

The Mail gives it half a page, the Sun just a few pars.

But all the papers seem to agree that the judge convicted for failing to control her dog, and who swore on her departure from court, is of undoubted interest.

But again, the Sun gives it less space than the likes of the Times, Telegraph or Mail.

Decisions, decisions.

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