Monday, November 07, 2005

The iPod Is A Public Nuisance, Newspaper Editors Are Odd Coves, And The Sunday Telegraph Would Be Better Compared To A Hearing Aid

I am not, I confess, a regular reader of the Sunday Telegraph, but I found myself buying the paper yesterday. There were two reasons for this. It has been re-designed to resemble the Peebles Times-Picayune, and it was offering a free DVD starring Ms Tilda Swinton, whose early career included a sensual turn as a spectre in the Peebles Showboaters' 1973 production of Blithe Spirit. Ms Swinton is a daughter of the Berwickshire town of Swinton and, though I have not always been able to understand her work as an actress, I have often toasted her with a ginger beer and lime in the town's excellent Wheatsheaf Hotel. Needless to say, I am unable to play the DVD as the crumb tray in my toaster is overflowing, but I feel sure that her performance in Orlando is every bit as compelling as her Cissie Crouch in Mr John Byrne's much underrated country'n'western drama, Your Cheatin' Heart.
But I digress. The Sunday Telegraph has been redesigned. The editor, a lady with a bow-tie on the front of her cardigan, explained the changes in an indulgent letter to her readers which concluded, "I want the Sunday Telegraph to be like your iPod - full of your favourite things."
Well, I have worked with several editors, and I have met only one who was capable of talking as if English was his first language, but this talk of iPods seems very peculiar. I understand, through painful experience on the Peebles-Edinburgh omnibus, that iPods are used by the young to advertise their dislocation from everyday life while introducing noise pollution into the environment. Sitting in the vicinity of one of these contraptions is like contracting tinnitus, and it has always been my view that a person wearing white earphones is advertising his selfishness, and not - as he might have thought - his fashionability.
Why, then, did the editor of the Sunday Telegraph wish to compare her newspaper with one of these infernal devices? Well, my experience of newspapers has taught me that editors have a fetish for youth, precisely because young people do not buy newspapers, and they will do anything they can to court them, even if this means that they alienate their existing readers, which they do with quite astounding consistency.
I remain to be convinced that the comparison with an iPod will be attractive to readers who are more likely to be asking Santa for an ear trumpet.


Learson said...

The Barclay twins, who own the title have a rather spotty record in the matter of adding value to their newspapers. However, they are genuine old-style newspaper proprietors rather than Plc board members(many years ago the Newspaper Publishers Association was the Newspaper Proprietors Association)and seem to be in the business for the long haul, or as long a haul as is feasible for 70year olds. Being a newspaper editor in these days of declining circulation is largely about the orderly management of decline and, as you imply, there is more than a whiff of desperation about iPod references.The mainstream print media will not arrest the decline in sales as long as they do not trust ordinary people to handle the non-PC truth about important topics such as unwanted Third World immigration and the colour of crime.

Anonymous said...

The Daily Express has tried racist fear-mongering without seeing any improvement in its circulation.

Learson said...

So-called 'racist fear-mongering' is unlikely to emanate from a Jewish-owned newspaper like the Express. However, the editorial policy may sometimes reflect the race-realism inherent in the commonsense of a fair number of Britain's citizenry. Naturally this offends communistic political types for whom the ludicrous Third World-venerating,auto-racist Guardian journalist is the 'ne plus ultra' of that sadly devalued profession.