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Paper Monitor

11:20 UK time, Monday, 30 August 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Pity the poor reporter, trudging into work to prepare the August Bank Holiday Monday newspaper.

Yes, you know you can rely on a photo of a police officer grooving with a reveller at the Notting Hill Carnival (the Daily Mirror gets an odd-numbered page picture lead out of this perennial shot). But otherwise you are becalmed in the depths of silly season, and the task of filling column inch after column inch is a daunting one.

And so there must have been whoops of joy in newsrooms across the country on Sunday morning when the News of the World dropped. The tabloid's allegations of a cricket betting scam is followed up as the splash on every title except the ever-quixotic Daily Express (heart disease breakthrough), Independent (Labour leadership contest) and Daily Star (Big Brother).

Even with such a cast-iron Proper Story on which to lead, filling the rest of the paper is no easy task - as evidenced by the Sun, which carries a five-column photo of clouds shaped (supposedly) like the British isles. For sheer silly season-ness, it is perhaps only outdone by the Daily Mai's page seven lead - a grey squirrel looking a bit angry and trying to bite someone.

Nonetheless, there is, apparently, a Labour leadership contest taking place at the moment, and the Milibrothers each talk to one of the liberal heavies - David chats to the Guardian's Decca Aitkenhead, while an interview with Ed is the Independent's splash.

Both papers diligently pick out the sibling rivals' policy differences - on the legacy of New Labour, on the party's record in government, on whether to pursue the core vote or the middle ground. But it is the Cain and Abel aspect of this familial battle that intrigues journalists most, hence David finds himself insisting that the contest has been "fraternal" while Ed says he is "determined" their relationship will not be damaged.

All this may be good news for the Milibands' mum, fretting over her ballot paper in north London. But how unfortunate for Fleet Street's Sunday shift. The News of the World's staff really must feel they are owed a drink from their daily rivals.

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