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Paper Monitor

10:55 UK time, Thursday, 23 October 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The trouble with political scandals is that while the headlines are bold enough, the news-skimming public very quickly become disoriented by the complex machinations that got us into this mess.diagrams203.gif

At which point the papers are wont to call on their - wince - information architects, to set out the story in easy-to-interpret graphical format. The Times takes the contrived route of illustrating the connections between those involved as arrows that form in the outline of a yacht (see pic, top). Oleg Deripaska is represented at the mast, Nathanial Rothschild the hull and Peter Mandelson is what looks like the waste pipe. Confusingly, George Osborne isn't here at all. Man overboard perhaps.

The Daily Mirror (right, middle) perplexingly transports this very nautical affair into a sort of metro map - with Osborne, Deripaska, Mandelson and multiple Murdochs, among others, depicted as stations and the connections between them train lines. Never one to baulk at exhausting a metaphor, Paper Monitor concludes that Deripaska is the King's Cross of the outfit, David Cameron the Paddington and poor Roman Abramovich the Ruislip Gardens.

The Guardian's diagram (right, bottom) also has a ring of a train map, although the lines are more swirly than rigid and straight.

It's enough to make the head hurt, although quite whether it's going to dispatch one into a bottomless pit of depression is less sure. Paper Monitor only wonders because the Sun cites Yachtgate, along with the GFC, as an excuse for a "happy page" which is newspaperly the equivalent of Kirsty's Home Videos - a picture of a pig in wellies, another of a baby sitting in a watermelon, a man selling "genuine fake watches" and, yes, a big-breasted woman in a tight Obama campaign vest.

Are people really depressed by political scandal stories, or just bamboozled?

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