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Paper Monitor

12:52 UK time, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor has been gripped by one particular story in recent days - that of the necklace. For those readers who haven't been following the Daily Mail's "life-affirming" series, here's a very quick rundown. Thirteen women buy a £26,000 necklace that "changed their lives". Really? Changed their lives? Wow.

The ladies met, bought a necklace, made new friends, fell out with said new friends and then made up with them. It's Daily Mail gold - or diamond in this case - being about a group of middle-aged middle-class women, and reads like a slushy novel... which in fact it is. Well, a novel, at least. No wonder it's been strung out for three days.

Where does one purchase just such a life-changing necklace you may ask, but there's no need. The Mail is offering one lucky reader, and their friends of course, the chance to win one by writing 200 words about why they deserve this "life-enhancing piece of jewellery".

It certainly sounds intriguing, mostly in how it will work. If it doesn't change your life will you get a refund for the paper you bought and the postage you spent? And how do you measure what is or isn't life-changing?

Questions, questions... but before the mind begins to churn these imponderables, stop and appreciate how old style this competition is. There's no multiple choice with one blindingly obvious right answer and two moronic options; there's no premium rate phone number. Why, entries can't even be submitted by e-mail. It reminds Paper Monitor of a competition it once entered (and was runner-up in...) that was run by a comic that has long since expired from the newsstand. Complete this sentence in 13 words or fewer... that sort of set-up.

Of the rest of the day's press, front pages and back pages look one and the same. It's all about a certain Portuguese former football manager. Mr Scolari's not going to have to worry about any recession with his reported £7.5m pay-off. But in weighing up Big Phil's successors for this poison chalice of a job, why has no one invoked that great Elvis Costello song title? You know the one.

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