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Paper Monitor special

12:17 UK time, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Your print souvenir edition of today's souvenir editions... and a bit about Amy Winehouse.

(Click here to print out this souvenir edition Paper Monitor in PDF format)

First off, let's sort the men from the boys. While most of the papers today boast "souvenir edition" how many walk the walk and offer a genuine pull-out?

Strolling stridently down this runway of grandiosity are the Guardian, the Times and the Daily Mirror.

Skulking in the talk-the-talk sidelines are the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Independent, while the Sun, Express, FT and Metro desist from using the "S" word altogether.

Starting with the pull-outs...obama_1_203.jpg

If a souvenir edition is going to be true to its word it has to warrant its place in the collective shoebox of memories. With full colour printing on tap these days, the Guardian's "supplement" [see picture, right, with the Daily Mirror's] is a glossy in newsprint clothing - all full page pictures and scholarly essay-length writing from the learned fingertips of Jonathan Freedland.

If anything, the Times [see pic below] goes even more Vanity Fair-ish - commissioning a verse from celebrated black poet Derek Walcott, sketching out an Obama family tree with more than a hint of African-style illustration, and an "exclusive extract" from Obama's autobiography Dreams From My Father. Exclusive? That's the several-million-selling Dreams From My Father that was first published 13 years ago.

The Mirror pull-out uses the same picture - of Obama as a boy, swinging a baseball bat - as the Guardian's effort. But the Mirror is clearly offended by the original monochrome rendering of this archive family snapshot and throws some lurid green and yellow colourising at it. Still, it's the only one to feature a gem of a school photo from 1972 of Obama and classmates in Hawaii. If only school uniform policy had been this liberal at Paper Monitor's alma mater. Think Grange Hill on surf safari.obama_2_203.jpg

Even the loftiest of essays can't compete with a funny cartoon for Paper Monitor's affections. So the Telegraph's lack of a pull-out is amply offset by a Matt cartoon on the front page depicting a fountain in the foreground of the White House and the sign "Please Do Not Walk on the Water".

And what's this in the Mail: "[M]oving extracts from President Obama's incredible life story in his own inspiring words." So, in other words, reprinted sections of Obama's autobiography. And yes, you guessed it, there's the exact same extract about Obama's father arriving at the University of Hawaii in 1959 as the "exclusive extract" in the Times.

The Mail, like almost all the others, slips into portentous front page headline mode. "CHANGE HAS COME" is how it chooses to sell its wares from the newsstand today. "AN AMERICAN DREAM" proclaims the Independent. "The dream comes true" - the Telegraph. "Believe" - the Mirror.

It all leaves Metro's take on things feeling fresher and more with it. "The day America became a little cool again," it says. And, yes, whatever side of the political divide one sits on, Metro undeniably seems to have tapped into a subconscious thought here.

Finally, to the Sun. Facing this historic moment in the history of democracy and civil rights, what can the Sun do to bring this story home to its readers? Ah yes, hint at a bit of nooky. "THE EARTH MOVES" it says, picturing Mr and Mrs Obama mid-smooch. Not enough sex for you? Well there's always "Keeley, 22 from Bromley" on page three, pictured in a pair of stars and stripes briefs and not much, in fact nothing, else.

"He'll be a fantastic president," says Keeley. "Obama is such an inspirational figure to so many people across the globe."

Why thanks Keeley, your pithy analysis of the geopolitical future has given Paper Monitor a renewed sense of moral purpose and certainty.

Maybe even Mr Amy Winehouse, aka Blake Fielder-Civil, newly released from the nick, senses this.

Let's turn to page 9 and see. "I'm gonna see my wife Amy and take her knickers down."

Or maybe not.

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