Dear Dr Deadline 04-04-03

Dear Dr Deadline,

We are a weekly national Botswana newspaper on deadline and would like to do a piece on how newspapers around the world are covering the Bush/Blair war by looking at front pages. Do you know of any website that shows these in one place as to go to individual websites is long and does not always include the current front page. Your help would help.

Don Moore

Editor, The Voice, Botswana

Hi Don

The Doctor is always pleased to hear from subscribers overseas. The best direction I can point you is to the fantastic Poynter Institute website, www.poynter.org, which contains a link to the Newseum’s gallery of front pages from around the world (29 countries at the last count). On the home page there’s a section called “Covering the war” which has a link to the front pages. The direct address is http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages

Dear Dr Deadline,

Brilliant! What a difference an e-mail makes. I’ll be signing on for a lifetime subscription to Press Gazette. Thanks very much.

Regards, Don Moore

A lifetime subscription – Dr D thinks more readers should follow Don’s eminently sensible advice.

Dear Dr Deadline,

Why does it matter how old people are? The newspaper I’m working on drums it in to all its reporters to make sure they ask people’s age on any story they work on. I find this rather embarrassing, especially when some people don’t really want to tell me. Yet if I don’t get the age, I know I’ll be told to call back and find out. What difference does it make if someone is 23, 37 or 48?

Dr D realises he is dipping his toe in the icy waters of controversy here, but he doesn’t see the point of publishing ages as a matter of course. There are very few stories, even for local newspapers who tend to preach this message more vocally than most, where the subject’s span of time on the earth is significant, or even interesting. Sure, if they’re five and have just won a Nobel Prize for Welding (subs – do they have one in this category? Pls chk) then put it in. And if they’re over 70, that’ll probably be the first thing they tell you anyway (“I’m 81, you know”). But that’s not to say it’s bad practice to ask. It certainly shouldn’t be embarrassing. You just never know where it might lead. (“Actually it’s my birthday next week – and my daughter’s flying me and the other triplets to perform with an Andrews Sisters tribute group in Las Vegas”)

Dr Deadline returns in two weeks

lNext week: Cross Head

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