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Paper Monitor

11:00 UK time, Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's day two of Brickgate.

For those of you in a cave yesterday, a Daily Mail feature on a woman called Samantha Brick caused a major stir.

In a nutshell: Brick believes she is so beautiful that other women hate her. A gazillion Mail commenters (famous for their acidity) and tweeters queued up to disabuse her of this notion.

Today the Mail has done a two-page follow-up. The main course is another piece from Brick revealing she cried all day in response to a stream of Twitter invective and unpleasant emails.

The first key point is that a day of hate mail has not dissuaded Brick from the belief that she is a rare beauty. The second is that there has been an epic and rather virulent reaction to her piece.

It has allowed the Daily Telegraph a chance to assess the reaction in the light of the current concern over trolling.

The follow-up eases Paper Monitor's mind on one count.

It had crossed some people's minds that the Mail had broken all rules of journalistic decency yesterday and printed a wind-up a full 48 hours after April Fools' Day.

But the Mail's follow-up comes close to laying any such notion to rest. It seems extremely likely Brick does believe she is beautiful and is not conducting one of the most successful publicity stunts ever.

Thinking back to Paper Monitor's time as a cub reporter, occasionally hacks would encounter fruity characters and know that with a bit of guidance they would say things that would entertain the readers.

But these were things that might not, with the benefit of hindsight, be the best thing for the subject to be espousing in print.

Reporters would sometimes feel bad over this. There was no lying and the subject knew their comments were going in the paper, but did they understand the consequences?

One suspects that Brick has gone sufficiently far that there will not be a scintilla of such emotion among the Mail commissioning editors.

Instead, they will be cock-a-hoop.

They even get to run an analysis of just how the story went viral.

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