03
Mar
09

Maybe she fell down the mountain twice

Today’s Daily Mirror served to remind me what a bleak existence working for a tabloid must be. The world of the red-top is one of bullying and backstabbing. It has to be. When one tabloid runs an exclusive that’s actually an exclusive, you can be sure somebody in a rival paper is hauled before the editors to spend 15 minutes explaining why they didn’t get the story. It’s a culture that breeds a high level on sneaky undercutting and nasty in-house rivalry. A college buddy of mine, who was briefly employed by The Star, once found an article she wrote had appeared in the paper with somebody else byline. I ask you, would you like to work in an environment where you routinely cannot trust your colleagues like this?

On page three of today’s issue of the Mirror there’s a story on Alesha Dixon and how she slipped and fell 10 feet while having a pee during her Mount Kilimanjaro climb for Comic Relief. It’s the barely interesting celebrity fluff that usually fills the red-top pages. Only the Mirror’s subs must have really like the story, because it appears again on page five. To add slightly delicious irony to this, the main splash on page three is about two celebrities (ie, two people I’ve never heard of) who accidentally wore the same dress at the Marley & Me premier. “Oops” indeed.

There is some messing with synonyms between the two pieces. For instance, “the graceful Strictly winner, 30”, becomes “The singing babe”, in the second version. Page five’s version is also slightly longer, with a few paras that seemingly were unfit for page three. Regardless, they’re pretty much the same article, with the same structure and the same reliance on anonymous quotes. The only significant difference is that the first one is credited to one Don MacKay, whereas Tom Bryant gets the byline for the second. The reality is obvious. One, or perhaps even both, of these men stole this story from the true writer.

On a separate matter, the article also highlighted for me the tabloids’ questionable use of anonymous quotes. The line, “She gingerly got up and shouted to everyone that she was OK,” reads a bit odd to me. I mean, does anyone really use the word “gingerly” in everyday conversation?

Hey, lads, I bought youse a round.

Nice one! Set them down there gingerly and we’ll have us a drink.

Or how about:

Can I try taking you from behind tonight?

Ok, but do it gingerly. It was like you were diggin’ a hole in the road last time.

Maybe it’s just me, but it just seems quite unnatural in my opinion.

Anyway, before I finish this I must give credit to my sister. She’s the one who spotted the two articles, not me. I’d hate to be accused of stealing someone else’s story.

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