i newspaper, May 16, 2017

Why is it called ‘panda of the sea’? Why use this picture? It could be almost anything in the cetacean line. And what an unreadable way to start a story: ‘Critically endangered vaquitas . . .’

The Times did it right:

The Times, May 16, 2017

The picture shows the porpoise’s distinctive face pattern, and the intro is miles better, not giving the obscure name until it has established what kind of animal it is. The Times, rightly, has also put in the intro that it is the rarest marine mammal, which the i does not mention until the third paragraph.


i newspaper, May 18, 2017

‘Create’ means to cause something new to exist. Therefore the word ‘new’ is redundant. This is a common error, but in this case it is made worse by repeating ‘new’ in the intro. In fact ‘new’ or ‘newest’ appears eight times – far too many. 



Daily Telegraph Sport, May 23, 2017, Page 1

Daily Telegraph Sport, May 23, 2017, Page 2

So was the Christmas party the beginning of Moyes’s problems or the last straw? I imagine the cover line was written by someone who had skimmed the story and got hold of the wrong end of the stick, not the sub actually handling it. A sub must always check cross-references, headlines or captions written by someone else.


The Times, May 25, 2017

Another convoluted and meaningless intro. I can’t even try to give a better version because the headline is not covered in the story. There is nothing in it about saving energy. This is a truly grisly effort.


Pictured: The neighbour of toddler who was mauled by 11-stone ‘American Bully’ dogs who has pled guilty to owning dangerously out of control animals

Mail Online, May 10,2017

Apart from using ‘who’ twice, this heading includes the Americanism ‘pled’. In Britain we say ‘pleaded’. This would be better:

Pictured: Neighbour of toddler mauled by 11-stone ‘American Bully’ dogs. He has pleaded guilty to owning dangerously out-of-control animals


The Times, May 6, 2017

‘Sunk’ is the passive voice of the verb ‘to sink’. Examples would be ‘We’re sunk’ or ‘the ship was sunk by a torpedo’. This sentence requires the active voice, ‘as we sank into the mire’.


i newspaper, May 1, 2017

First, this story fails to mention where the incident happened. (It was Wolverhampton.) Second, ‘local’ is one of the most common superfluous words (others include ‘special’ and ‘up’). Of course the police officers were local. No reader would imagine they had dropped in from Manchester. And assuming that one of the officers is pictured with the survivor of the fire, which one is it? The reader should not have to assume or guess.

As I mentioned in the previous post, ellipses, or three dots, should be separated from the preceding word and each other by spaces, thus  . . .


i newspaper, May 1, 2017

Devonians?! That is not a word to start a story with, unless you want to signal to everyone who does not live in Devon that they need not read on. In any case, it is wrong. Anyone feeding gulls may be fined, not just Devonians.

This would be my suggested intro:

Feeding the seagulls which flock round popular holiday beaches in Devon could now result in an £80 fine.

This story includes ellipses, or three dots. These should be separated from the preceding word and each other by spaces, thus  . . .


i newspaper, May 4, 2017

I think I have seen this ‘stamp of approval’ heading more times than any other, even ‘snakes alive’, ‘unholy row’ and ‘doggone’. It falls into the category of settling for the first banal thing that comes into your head. And ‘get’ is a horrible word. ‘Win’ would be better.

Here is an idea:

The songbirds heading for your letterbox

If you pick out examples from a list in the intro, you don’t repeat them. You say ‘The other birds featured are . . .’

I would prefer ‘Philip Parker of the Royal Mail’ to ‘A Royal Mail spokesman, Philip Parker’.

If the pictures are so exquisite, wouldn’t it be nice to give the artist a credit? A quick glance at the internet reveals that he is Italian Federico Gemma.