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Paper Monitor

11:11 UK time, Friday, 1 February 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

For all the high-minded intentions to avoid Britney tales and the gratuitous use of cleavage shots, even though these mine a rich seam of reader interest, those who produce the news are endlessly fascinated by what readers actually read. (As opposed to what those with higher minds than Paper Monitor think they should read.)

Just as the worker bees at BBC News (of which Paper Monitor is but one) watch the "most read" and "most e-mailed" stats with interest, it should come as no surprise that the drones at the Times are similarly minded.

Columnist Martin Samuel bases his offering on the twice-daily e-mail the paper provides its writers on the most searched-for buzzwords on Times Online. And so, instead of the 926 words of chin-stroking typically found on page 23, he uses each of the top 75 phrases in an effort to maximise page views.

"If this is the way modern media are heading, you might as well take your reality from a Tom Cruise Scientology video (58) and emigrate to Australia (66).
Or China (19).
Although perhaps not Kenya (7).
And certainly not on board BA038 (70)."

Well done, that man. Should any readers of this humble column wish to help in his quest to be most-read, click here.

(As an aside, the earlier talk of cleavage - breasts, by the way, being the 68th on the Times's list - reminds Paper Monitor of some sage advice once given in a cocktail bar: "Cleavage is like the sun; you can't look directly at it.")

Meanwhile, several papers cover the lifetime achievement award presented to Baroness Thatcher by heir apparant "just call me Dave" Cameron. Guess the paper from its headline:
"A Great Briton and one who hopes to be" - yes, it's the Daily Telegraph
"And the award for best prime minister goes to..." - the Daily Mail
"UUUURGH! Be afraid... be very afraid" - the Daily Mirror takes a slightly different tack
No mention - the Independent. Well they wouldn't, would they?

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