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Paper Monitor

10:51 UK time, Monday, 20 November 2006

Regular readers will know that Paper Monitor loves it when papers start writing about themselves (remember the Sunday Telegraph editor saying she thought of her paper as a "bath bubble"?). And today's Times goes for it big style. The paper has got a new typeface (what it quaintly still terms a "fount"), and wants to make great play of it. Despite the fact that the last time it had a new "fount" was not, as you might think, in the days of yore - it was just four years ago.

The new fount though meets "the demanding criteria of legibility and modernity that readers of The Times demand". Funny, but those demonstrations with radical Times readers bearing beautifully legible posters demanding "MODERNITY NOW!" have escaped Paper Monitor.

There's usually so much in Monday's papers that the weekend already seems like a distant memory. But for personal reasons, Paper Monitor spent a lot of time with the papers this weekend and has some gems with which to start the week.

First, the Guardian invented a new bandwagon on Saturday. Forget wallcharts (though there was one of those too) - it came up with a CAR STICKER. It was tongue-in-cheek, saying "Yes, this journey is absolutely necessary", but it's clear that the new lines are drawn. Within a week every paper will be offering car stickers. So let's see if we can make a self-fulfilling prophesy - if readers would be so good as to suggest appropriate slogans for readers of individual papers, we'll keep tabs on whether they actually get used.

Second, Piers Morgan's column in the Mail on Sunday? It's full of the kinds of things which made his book such an entertaining but self-indulgent read. Anyone care to deconstruct this:

Paragraph 1: A prod at Jude Law for saying that giving prizes at the Pride of Britain award made him realise he was "not that important after all". Piers adds: "It reminded me of that wonderful Muhammad Ali line: 'It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am.'"

Paragraph 11: Piers reveals he has been invited to Gordon Ramsay's 40th birthday party.

Paragraphs 12-15: Piers namechecks fellow guests Penny Smith, Chris Moyles, David Furnish, Kirsty Young, Jeremy Clarkson, Michael Winner.

Paragraph 16: Piers writes: "But most of the 350 guests weren't famous at all. They either worked for, were related to or just mates with Gordon. And they were all having the time of their lives. Such a refreshing change from the normal and ghastly, 'all my mates are celebrities, aren't I clever?' party guest list that you see every week in OK! magazine."

Answers on a postcard please.

And finally in this bumper digest, a big shout goes out to Ben Goldacre, the author of the Guardian's Bad Science column in which he takes apart some dodgy science reporting.

This week Ben writes about how lots of scientists publish press releases with formulas for everyday things, like pulling a cracker, best/worst day of the year. Ring any bells with anyone?

How about this bit: "So I have developed my own equation... The likelihood of an academic whoring their name to a PR company is calculated as GxPxIxC where G is.... " etc etc etc. You get the idea. Especially if you have followed the Monitor's Formula Won over the past two years, or indeed even remember our 2004 story Formula for the Perfect Formula? Bad science? Bad something.

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