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Paper Monitor

11:24 UK time, Thursday, 30 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

New blood, that's what Paper Monitor craves, vampire-like, and a fresh infusion arrives courtesy of the Sun.

In an attempt to revitalise its pages X Factor-fashion, it ran a competition for aspiring Kelvin MacKenzies, Lorraine Kellys and Jeremy Clarksons under the banner of "Column Idol".

A panel of crack judges, including Sun editor Dominic Mohan and that well-known expert in invective prose, pop star Diana Vickers, assessed the pontificatory prowess of a string of young writers.

And now their choice, 21-year-old journalism graduate Lee Price, gets a full-page column [no link available] and the chance to follow in the footsteps of Jill Tweedie, Bernard Levin and George Orwell.

How does he do? In a genre of journalism which generally tends to favour bold, provocative declamations, Price adopts a different approach.

His lead opinion piece concerns that not exactly neglected subject, Facebook (the "virtual documenting of everything we do is destroying genuine social interactions", he informs us). He controversially asks new Labour leader Ed Miliband for "a little truth regarding the future", adding helpfully: "That's what the man on the street really wants to hear, Ed."

Perhaps hoping to fill the gap vacated by Richard Littlejohn's defection to the Daily Mail, there is a you-couldn't-make-it-up story about a "whopping £1,800 of taxpayer's money" which was spent on "a hip-hop video to promote HAND WASHING!" (bold type and capitals Mr Price's own).

Paper Monitor is pleased that Mr Price is a fast learner.

But in the pursuit of further honing his craft, he is urged to digest the Times' splendid leader on why British chocolate is superior to European varieties:

Unlike our fussier continental cousins, this country has never been ashamed to recognise that chocolate is not an aristocratic luxury, but a proletarian one. Nobody ever sat down with a cup of tea at 4pm, and thought to themselves: "I could murder a tiny, glazed, sickly sweet piece of dark chocolate shaped like a cup and filled with a substance redolent of picked toothpaste."

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