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Paper Monitor

12:20 UK time, Monday, 16 February 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

One of the ways Paper Monitor used to while away Friday afternoons, in its geeky past, was enjoying NTK's Life Imitates Onion. (Anyone else miss NTK? Add your tributes, via the comment form below.)

But life continues to imitate the Onion, as this sad Times story demonstrates: "A sex-change woman has pleaded guilty to reckless homicide after her elderly husband was 'exercised to death'. Christine Newton-John, 41, who named herself after the singer Olivia Newton-John following her operation, faces up to five years in prison for forcing her exhausted 73-year-old husband to swim in the pool of their apartment complex in Chardon, Ohio."

And that's not even to mention this: Record nails broken in car crash.

At the other end of the news spectrum is another tale in the Times about how millions of people who have had photo driving licences for 10 years are unaware that they need to be renewed, and that they could be fined for having an out-of-date licence. What a good story, original and relevant, and one of those rare things - something in the newspaper which actually makes you do something about it (in this case, open your wallet/purse to see when your driving licence expires instead of hoping not to be stopped by the side of the road and answering awkward questions to an officer of the law).

So kudos to the Times's esteemed transport correspondent, who day after day finds something interesting to write. Paper Monitor is just left wondering what gave him the idea for this story, and hopes it was merely a casual glance in his wallet.

Apropos of nothing, Paper Monitor felt a bit conned having shelled out for the Sunday Times, lured by its front page promotional box promising "The world's 100 best blogs", only to find inside that there were only 49 blogs listed. Part two of that series next week, even though one feels one has paid for it already.

The Daily Mail has strong views about Wikipedia. Can you guess what they are? That's right, it really doesn't like it. The headline (which is longer than some Wikipedia entries) tells the story: "WICKED-PEDIA! Millions trust its every word. But Wikipedia, the error-ridden online encyclopedia, has become a dangerous tool for lazy students, spiteful cranks and truth-twisting politicans." The conclusion is thus: "If Wikipedia does disappear or if, as could conceivably happen, it were taken over and commercialised (and perhaps made a professional service) by someone like Bill Gates or Google, its amateurish, free-for-all days will doubtless be mourned. But at least those monstrous inaccuracies would disappear with it."

How very dare they suggest that making monstrous inaccuracies is best done by amateurs. One needs to be a real professional to do it properly.

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