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Paper Monitor

09:40 UK time, Friday, 16 July 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Ah, adolescence: Era of self-absorption, social awkwardness and Topshop.

Paper Monitor may not be quite in the first flush of youth; to Paper Monitor, references to "grime", "txtspk" and "carefree, un-jaded existence" are as impenetrable as the original Norwell Codex manuscript of Beowulf.

It's all Fleet Street's fault. To most newspapers, teenagers tend to fall into one of two categories - Drunk Girl, or plucky youth who sails around the world unaided/climbs Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Cancer Research/gets into Cambridge at age 13.

This is understandable. As we are often reminded, today's youths don't read newspapers - they get their understanding of world affairs from social networking sites, text messages and the Twilight films, so why bother trying to win them over?

The Guardian thinks differently, however, and has given over an edition of its G2 supplement to be "The Teen Issue", complete with features about organising one's bedroom, flirting online and which pair of skinny jeans to wear with your Converse All Stars.

The paper's reputation may suggest that all this will have the flavour of a beard-sporting trendy vicar interrupting a ping pong session at the Friday night youth club to tell the awkward throng that they should check out the new Florence and the Machine long player because it has a really good beat.

And, inevitably, there is an element of that, although the paper is sensible enough to hand over much of the day's writing some duties to some real, human teenagers.

Here is Rebecca Grant, 15:

Why is it OK to discriminate against teenagers? Human beings are allowed into shops in groups, can choose where they sit at the cinema, and can get on a bus without fear of being turfed out halfway home. Teenagers don't have these privileges. Can you imagine the outrage if an irate bus driver suddenly stopped and bellowed, "Right. All you over-60s, off the bus"?

It's so unfair. Especially when the nation's journalists are revisiting their own adolescences via the news that Robbie Williams has re-joined Take That.

"As a former Take That diehard, I'm chuffed to bits," gushes Beth Neil in the Daily Mirror. "It'll be like Whitley Bay Ice Rink 1994 all over again."

Others aren't so enthused.

"The only problem I can see is Robbie's crippling stage fright," deadpans Gordon Smart in the Sun. "Still, at least he will have the best four friends he has ever had standing shoulder to shoulder beside him."

Nostalgia, eh? It ain't what it used to be. Paper Monitor feels older than ever.

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