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Paper Monitor

11:20 UK time, Friday, 23 January 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Just when you thought you'd heard the last of "W", he's back - that's not Bush but Wossy of course. "Wossup" is how the Daily Mirror heralds Jonathan Ross's return to national TV from the naughty step.

But the Daily Mail is in full supernanny mode with the headline: "Back in the old woutine - Ross returns to his BBC chat show - and is as foul-mouthed as ever". And there's a factbox of notable quotes from the show, titled "In his own f-words".

The Guardian, never averse to salty language, is more forgiving and headlines page three with Wossy's opening words to his studio audience: "'So. Where were we?'" It also notes that its former technology columnist, one Stephen Fry, updated his Twitter feed throughout. Sample tweet: "Show is recording earlier than usual to suit: a) Me, b) Lee Evans or c) Tom Cruise? Answers on a tweetcard."

Meanwhile, Paper Monitor has only just noticed it - having had no paper deliveries this week - but Wednesday's Financial Times carried an interview with the new owner of a local London paper. A man whose CV may - or may not - carry the unusual career progression from spy to oligarch to media magnate.

Alexander Lebedev made several jokes in the course of the interview - see Quote of the Day - but also sounded a more sombre note about a) feeding money into the gaping maw of a loss-making newspaper when one's personal fortune has halved due to the downturn, and b) Monday's fatal shootings of a lawyer and a trainee journalist from the Moscow paper he part owns.

Little surprise he has a robust response to those who criticise his move into UK newspapers. "[T]he British have a kind of arrogant, turn up the nose attitude towards their own free press. They think it should not interfere, for example, in their private lives. My recommendation to them is to try to live in a society that has no free press and see how this changes their attitude."

Paper Monitor is not going to argue with a man who was once a lieutenant colonel in the KGB.

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