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Paper Monitor

12:01 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

How do you know if you're cool? Is it strength in numbers, and does it matter if your champions are hot or not?

(This very question was addressed in Heroes last night, as the geeks and freaks of Union High School banded together to vote an ostracised cheerleader as homecoming queen over the "popular girl", proving the uncool masses can tip the scales in such a contest.)

The Guardian, Observer and the Independent will surely now subscribe to the notion that it's a numbers game, having topped the newspaper section of the CoolBrands list, with rankings compiled from a public poll and the opinions of a body known as the CoolBrands Council. Isn't there an adage that holds if you have to call yourself cool (or such like) then you are obviously not?

But ranked 166th, 207th and 223rd respectively - well short of, say, Google at number five or even Marvel Comics at 123rd - the papers still have a long way to go before they can hang out with the really cool kids.

So what is uncool about the rest of the papers? The Daily Mail knows its market too well to even try and so offers a free David Attenborough wildlife DVD that can be picked up from Tesco or WH Smith. Read between the lines for how cool that is.

The Daily Telegraph has an interview with a Jagger. Well they would, wouldn't they. T2 in the Times has more tips from Paul McKenna on how to get rich. Look into his eyes and know that he was never too cool for school. And the Daily Mirror gives J-Lo's Perspex sandals with black ankle socks the thumbs-up. Paper Monitor is no trendsetter but surely socks 'n' sandals should remain an arrestable fashion offence?

Meanwhile, another numbers game is being played out in the Times and the Telegraph. Each puts a gloating bar graph on its front page, trumpeting its triumph over the other in the latest ABC figures. How could this happen?

Look a little closer and the small print speaks for itself. The Times uses full-rate newspaper sales and unique users for its online version; the Telegraph opts for total newspaper circulation and monthly page impressions for its news website. None of these things are quite like the other.

And it's this tricksy use of numbers that proves why neither paper made the CoolBrands list. They have been outed as maths geeks.

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