HOW DO you know when the game’s afoot? When you noticed late last night that Tony Gallagher, former Daily Telegraph editor and now deputy at the Mail, had just followed on Twitter someone called Louis Tomlinson, a member of boy band One Direction. How puzzling. Was he perhaps a secret fan of the popular beat combo?
Minutes later all becomes clear, in the form of today’s Mail front page featuring a big tease to a spread inside trumpeting “Squeaky-clean pop idols One Direction in drugs shame”. The allegation, supported by a video, is that two of the teen idols smoked a joint while on tour in Peru.
So that’s how you spot imminent scoops in this modern world – incongruous connections on social media. Imagine the excitement if Paul Dacre started ‘following’ Sir Cliff Richard.
WE RETURN to the Manchester Evening News website where readers are greeted with a video headed “Watch: Moment fairground ride broke and horrifically injured two teenage boys.”
The injuries caused when a carriage tipped over on the faulty ride were indeed horrific. One boy suffered a collapsed lung, broken arm and deep wounds to his side while the other had a broken nose, broken teeth, lacerations to his face and a significant head injury.
A serious story then, which saw the fairground operator fined £6,500 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs. But it’s one you can’t watch until you’ve sat through an advert for clothing store River Island or Boots the Chemist. By all means sell video ads on your website – God knows we all need the money – but using ‘shocking’ videos of people getting badly hurt or using police-sanctioned CCTV of serious assaults to gain exposure for advertisers? Sorry, but it just doesn’t seem right.
The Grey Cardigan has been in newspapers since the days of hot metal and expense accounts. After a lengthy career as chief sub on several regional newspapers, plus a multitude of shifts on the nationals, he was appointed editor of the Evening Beast in 2009 before being ignominiously 'rationalised' last year. He is currently collecting gas in jam jars in case the Russians cut us off. @thegreycardigan