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Paper Monitor

12:07 UK time, Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Hats off to the Americans - when it comes to mortgage lenders, they can at least humanise faceless financial institutions by giving them folk s y names: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Unlike, say, Halifax or Nationwide, Fannie and Freddie reach out beyond the headlines to non-business sorts, drawing them in with the vague promise this story could be about something more than percentage signs, dollar symbols and abbreviations such as SEC and FSA.

But the Sun takes things one step further. As any good hack knows, it's faces that really turn people on to stories. So a Sun scribe has been despatched to track down a real life Fannie Mae (in this case retired teacher Fannie May), who is trying to "beat the crunch by going back to work as a rock singer" and Freddie Mackie (who we are reassured is "known as Freddie Mac". Well, he is now).

The computer crash that put London's stock market out of action yesterday is another financial tale that threatens to leave 99% of the population utterly bamboozled. The Financial Times toughs it out, of course, telling us the outage is called a "Black Swan event", caused by "problems with the electronic connections that allow traders to place buy and sell orders on the exchange's trading platform".

Confused? Perhaps the Mail can cast some light.

"The traders' frustration was clear as computer geeks spent a painfully slow eight hours..."

Now, that's more like it.

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