The Times, April 18, 2018

Caledonia was the Roman name for Scotland but there is no place called that now except in a romantic or poetic sense.  The picture was taken in the Caledonian Forest. The name of the competition is Mammal Photographer of the Year, not Mammals. I don’t think it is up to the Times to say whether the winning picture is ‘clever’. That is for the readers to decide.


The Times, April 17, 2018

The function of a paragraph is that it contains one idea. At the same time it is newspaper practice to have a full line at the top of a leg. It does look odd to have a short line, as you often have at the end of a paragraph. Here the person responsible for the appearance of the page has taken the easy way out and simply run two paragraphs together. So you have a paragraph about both rats and the castaway, and it grates. In my view the words should take precedence, and you need to find a different way to do it. This might involve cutting a few words somewhere to change where the end of the paragraph falls. A suitable cut here would have been ‘secure’ from the first full par shown, since a haven by definition is a safe or secure place. You could also take out ‘after a survey of the islands’. Or you could change the size of the picture, in this case the map. It is a pretty pathetic map anyway since you would need a magnifying glass to see where the Shiant Isles are.

Incidentally, ‘castaway’ is a  noun, not an adjective, so ‘castaway woman’ is strange. You could say ‘the female castaway’ or just ‘the castaway’.



i newspaper, April 14, 2018

From the Oxford Dictionary:

village (noun) A group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area (my emphasis).
The only time you need to modify ‘village’ is if you are talking about a non-rural metaphor such as ‘Olympic village’  or ‘urban village’.


The Times, April 12, 2018

There is obviously a line to be drawn on Americanisms. I was taught that no one would ever say ‘season ticket holder’ (English) rather than ‘commuter’ (American), because the American is better and more accurate. No one would object to an aircraft being described as a ‘plane’ (American) as opposed to an ‘aeroplane’, as the RAF used to – and may still – insist.

But ‘sailboat’ is ugly and not used in Britain, even Torquay. If you want to use the kicker ‘Still stylish’ you need to say what vintage the vessel is. One other thing: What sunshine? The sky is plainly overcast.


Daily Express, April 9, 2018

The caption jinx strikes again. Somehow a picture of a chap with rhubarb has been substituted for one of cowpats. You have got to check every picture and caption before the page goes.


The Times, April 10, 2018

This is a grievous lapse of taste and basic manners. It is unacceptable to make fun of a headdress from another culture and call it ‘ridiculous’. It is disrespectful to the Aboriginal people, as well as Prince Charles, and smacks of racial superiority. I would expect the Times to receive a lot of complaints about this.

The i newspaper did it perfectly:


i newspaper, March 5, 2018

Two for the price of one. After the acres of newsprint on Jimmy Savile, it is hard to believe anyone in the country doesn’t know how to spell the name, let alone someone who is presumably paid to work on a paper.

‘Pooch’ and ‘moggie’ are silly words that were old-fashioned 50 years ago, like ‘toff’ and ‘cad’.


i newspaper, March 3, 2018

This is unforgivable. The correct spelling is ‘dachshund’. ‘Daschund’ is not even close. It’s not even the right number of letters!

In the intro, ‘to opens’ is sheer carelessness. In the last par, is it really necessary to point out that Picasso was a painter, Brando an actor and Einstein a scientist? These must be among the best known names of all time, and anyone capable of reading a newspaper would not need the job descriptions. I can only assume that the person handling the story had not heard of them. Another case of taking money under false pretences.