Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The lunacy of newspapers – Pt 4,337 of an occasional series

This is not, admittedly, the worst example its kind, and one or two jugheads around the world might even ask themselves what the hell is he talking about. But for me the following does somehow typify, in a quiet way, just how wacky newspapers and those who produce them are and why in any sane country all its hacks would be settled quietly in a corner out of harm's way with a bottle or five of spirits and a tin of shag.

Anyone turning to Page 60 in today’s Daily Mail (May 23, 2012, available at all good newsagents) will find the Wednesday travel page. Today we are highlighting several spots around the world where you can get a great view of the sky at night. The – rather obvious – headline says it all: Star struck, and the sub-head reads: Nothing beats sleeping in the big outdoors. Follow our sparkling guide to the top star-gazing holidays. Several pictures accompany the piece, of which the main one (which has the headline superimposed on it) shows a night sky and a modern four-poster bed on a terrace. Sleeping out in the open, geddit? That’s when the trouble started.

Rather late in the day – that is the page was due ‘off stone’ at about 7pm and the deadline was approaching – someone noticed that there were precious few stars in the night sky for whoever would be sleeping in the four-poster to gaze at. In fact, there were none at all. And gazing at stars at night while sleeping in the great outdoors was the whole point of the piece. So the picture was sent of to the colour studio to have stars added. Back it came, but those in charge decided there weren’t enough stars, so off the picture went again for the addition of more stars. Then it came back for a second time, and now those in charge decided that there were enough – it has to he be said, fake – stars to give the impression of a star-filled sky, but that they weren’t, umm, bright enough. So off the picture went for the third time for the bods in colour to brighten the stars.

If you are able to get a copy of the paper today, buy it and turn to Page 60 and see if you don’t agree with me that not only is this kind of modus operandi just a tad short of mad, but the ‘stars’ in the picture won’t win any prices, either. For those who can’t get hold of the paper, here is the picture, though it was obviously posted online before the bods in colour applied their peerless skill.
Pip, pip!

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