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Paper Monitor

13:22 UK time, Monday, 12 December 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor hates to be the bearer of old news. But it does not like to see excellence go unrecognised.

On Friday, there was a rather nice feature in the business section of the Daily Telegraph about Bart Becht, the former chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser, the pharmaceuticals and household goods giant.

For those of you who are scoffing, incredulous at the idea that this could prove to be a barnstormer, be silent. This is a corker, not least because the PRs involved allegedly tried to discourage Alistair Osborne, the paper's business editor, from asking about Becht's gargantuan pay package.

Osborne was not swayed from his mission. He notes how the PRs helpfully sent over a list of suggested questions, including one they were dead "keen on".

Given the opportunity for consumers to feedback [sic] now - positively and negatively - on brands and organisations, do senior managers - especially C level - need more skills, in the areas of data analytics, IT and marketing?"

Osborne acidly notes:

As it turns out, time was a bit short for that one."

He then recounts the PRs' miffed reaction afterwards. After he asked about pay on seven occasions.

Now many journalists are banned by their news organisations from agreeing what questions will be asked. But there's always the knowledge that asking a really unwanted question, particularly in a celebrity interview, will lead to the termination of the interview and therefore squash the piece.

People tend to leave these questions until right at the end so they've already got something. But asking seven times? That takes skill.

Finally, it seems people not only take pictures of celebrities to the hairdressers and ask for the same haircut, they now take them to the plastic surgeon and ask for the same boobs, bum, tum and nose.

The Sun reveals the most copied celebrities. Top is US reality TV star Kim Kardashian. Her boobs and nose are very popular. A lot of people want Victoria Beckham's legs too, Nicole Scherzinger's arms and Pippa Middleton's bum. Of course.

But hopefully no-one is asking for all of these together. Thanks to the Sun's graphics department we can see what that would look like. The result is really rather disturbing.

Not sure Paper Monitor will be able to sleep tonight after looking at that.

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