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Paper Monitor

12:25 UK time, Monday, 2 June 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Following on from the Telegraph's recent re-innovation of the slogan "WAS, IS & WILL BE" above its leader column, it's now the turn of the Times for a makeover.

The most eagle-eyed reader will have noticed that ever-so-subtle change on the cover with the mini weather forecast graphic below the title. However, for the more bleary-eyed of Monday morning Times' readers, a turn of the page is what gives the game away.

Page two - known in downmarket tabloid-land as "the graveyard page" because nobody reads it - is most commonly home to those "continued from page 1" stories and the less scandalous of political reports. But it has a new resident in the form of the paper's leader columns.

Daniel Finkelstein extols the virtues of the leader article over two pages further in, reminiscing its past glories and achievements: "Lincoln said that only the Mississippi had more power than the Times." He credits The Thunderer with freeing Mick Jagger from the confines of his Brixton prison cell, and luring Queen Victoria from her isolation following Prince Albert's death. But, knowing the low expectations of page two, why the move for a column of such high-regard? It leads (how appropriate) Paper Monitor to ponder: who actually reads newspaper opinion columns? (Send your comments using the button below.)

Another part of the new-look Times is the colour-coding of the various sections: Blue for news, red for opinion, pale browny-grey for international, grey for obituaries, green for sport and so on. Should Gordon Brown breath a sigh of relief that it's red for opinion, or could too much be read into these mere re-designs?

In fact, the paper's new opinion section looks very similar to that very bastion of opinion, the Independent - but with colour, so ultimately superior. A welcome move for lovers of trivia is the promotion of the Daily Universal Register, with all you need to know on topics like Travel, You bet, Your bid, Day out, Staying in, A dream home..., Happy birthday etc.

And now, a bit like Schott's Miscellany but not in tiresome unwieldy book format, are titbits like this: a cheetah can run at 71mph, a horse at 45mph, and new 100m world record holder Usain Bolt at 25mph. Approximately.

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