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Paper Monitor

11:56 UK time, Monday, 8 February 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Gonzo journalism is always appreciated by Paper Monitor, who never ceases to be impressed by the lengths some brave reporters will go to when it comes to delivering readers the story behind the headline.

Only the other week several intrepid hacks were dispatched to their nearest supermarket in their pyjamas, following Tesco banning a customer who wore her nightwear to do a shop. It was Pulitzer Prize winning stuff.

Today The Times goes all investigative on us. Journalist Lucy Bannerman immerses herself in the murky world of plant fertilisers to get hold of the new "legal high" of choice, mephedrone - or "meow meow" as it is known on the streets.

But somehow Ms Bannerman makes it sound like she's ordering her weekly organic vegetable box. She easily sourced the mephedrone online, it was delivered by courier and its provenance was clearly stated - Shanghai. Quite a few air miles there then.

It's a serious subject, the stuff is being linked to several sudden deaths. But the story falls rather short of being what it aspires to be - an alarming piece about how readily available mephedrone is.

With lame quips about herbaceous borders, it's reminiscent of a conversation with a stuffy, old aunt. But seeing as the half-page advertisment below the piece is about equity release and pictures two older people doing their gardening, it probably perfectly pitched. Know your audience, it's a journalism basic.

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