Mail on Sunday, August 26, 2018


The quotation on the wall plaque in this Heath cartoon says: We have nothing to fear but fear itself – President Truman

In fact, that phrase wasn’t used by Harry Truman, US president from 1945 to 1953. It was spoken by his predecessor, President Franklin D Roosevelt, in his inauguration speech for his first term in 1933.

 This is the sort of thing that readers love to write in about and that sharp-eyed subs should always be on the look-out for.



‘Moped’ crime

We often hear about ‘moped crime’. However as a correspondent to this blog points out, a moped is about the last thing criminals would use. By definition it has pedals (‘mo-ped’) and usually has a capacity of 50cc. This means it travels at about the speed of a bicycle, or even less with two people on board. This Wikipedia entry has a picture and all the details:


The vehicle typically used in ‘moped crime’ is a scooter, which has a bigger and more powerful engine, and looks quite different.

It does not help that the police insist on using the term ‘moped crime’ but there is nothing to stop you calling it ‘scooter crime’ or ‘ride-by crime’.





Following his jailed last year, police how now released secret recordings 

Mail Online, August 20, 2018

ALEX BRUMMER: Greece is still being betrayed by the EU as thousands of cuts have forced the idyllic holiday detestation into a tragic state

Mail Online, August 21, 2018

No comment.


i newspaper, August 17, 2018

Another requirement of a headline is that it is in intelligible English, which this is not.

This is the reference in the copy:

So the heading could have been ‘triumphs over principle’. If this was a bit tight, it could have been ‘trumps principle’ or ‘wins over principle’. The one thing you can’t do is arbitrarily dump a word because it doesn’t fit.



Male cyclist in his 60s dies after being hit by lorry on busy London street – as millions of Britain’s are urged to pedal to office on Cycle to Work Day

Mail Online, August 15, 2018

I really try to avoid Mail Online but sometimes . . .

There is a person in the Mail Online office in Kensington who really believes that ‘Briton’ is spelled ‘Britain’ and moreover that if you have a plural noun you put an apostrophe in it.


i newspaper, August 11, 2018

By tradition ships are female, though the shipping industry newspaper Lloyd’s List decided in 2002 to call all vessels ‘it’. So a publication may decide which way to go. The one thing you can’t do is to use both terminologies in one story. This makes me wonder how much brain power it takes to remember for a  whole seven words that you have used the feminine. Another tradition ignored here is to put a full stop at the end of a story.


i newspaper front page, August 10, 2018

A principle of writing headlines is that they should bear some relevance  to the story. If you simply put anything you think might pull in the readers, the Times Law Report could be headed ‘Elvis found on Mars’. This idea seems to have eluded the clever people at the i newspaper. Not only does the banner ‘May goes in for the kill’ have nothing apparent to to do with any of the sub-decks, it is nothing to do with the story to which it refers on Page 6. Here is the only reference to Mrs May on the whole page:

‘Echoing a call’ is hardly going into meltdown. As an aside, who are the  two women pictured on Page 1? We will never know.

‘Amateur night’ is being kind.



And Mr Johnson is facing another political storm after a parliamentary watchdog wrote to wrap him for breaking rules by taking up the £275,000-a-year job as a Daily Telegraph columnist.

Mail Online, August 10, 2018

No comment.


i newspaper, August 6, 2018

(15 words) We know these are not frogs or hippos, so it is not necessary to point out that the picture is of ‘people’. It is lazy. There is almost always a better way. How about:

Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne turns into a colourful sea of floating sunbathers as temperatures hit xC (15 words)

i newspaper, August 6, 2018

I would have thought it was a slip in editing to put ‘NHS England said:’ at the beginning of a quote, then ‘a spokesman said’ at the end. But the same error twice in two paragraphs suggests that someone at the ‘i’ thinks this is a correct formula. It is not. You put ‘said’ at the beginning of a quote, sometimes partway through, eg ‘In fact,’ he said, ‘this is stupid’, or at the end. Not twice.