The Grey Cardigan: 12 January 2007

IF ENGLAND’S cricketers are feeling a little sore after their Ashes humiliation, spare a thought for the media organisations that invested so much in their desire to provide comprehensive coverage.

We won’t even go near the BBC, which appeared to have vast armies of publicly-funded journos lapping up the sunshine and Shiraz. Let’s turn to The Daily Telegraph, which clearly saw the series as the first real test of its all-singing, all-dancing multimedia hub.

Just look at the goodies on offer for the Perth Test: ball-by-ball coverage from 2.30am (based on the much-imitated, smart-arsed Guardian glib-fest); a daily email at 9am; match report and expert comment at 10am; audio from Simon Hughes and Terry Jenner at 11.30am; Derek Pringle’s Audio Slideshow (whatever that might be) at noon; Simon Hughes on video at 3.30pm; and – the tour de force – at 4.30pm when Michael Henderson comes round to your house and shouts the close-of-play scorecard through your letterbox.

The only problem with this is that by the time the next morning’s paper arrives, appetites are somewhat jaded, whatever the quality of the journalism. Some of us didn’t even make it to the following day. Such was the misery of our performance that my Ashes experience consisted coming downstairs at 5.30am, turning on Sky Sports and then turning it straight off again.

Still, it was a far more justifiable electronic initiative than some of the rubbish the Telegraph has been coming up with in an attempt to boost usage of its internet offering. A story headed: ‘Vote online for your top Christmas carol”, supposedly disguised as a news story was, frankly, just pathetic.

(We’d best not mention the Mail on Sunday’s shock horror story about the deadly American craze of ‘car-surfing”, conveniently illustrated by a how-to-do-it internet video of… err… car-surfing.) If the geeks of Victoria really want to see a perfect example of electro-print synergy, they could do worse than go to www.thesun.co.uk and click on the link to the Dear Deidre Video. Try it yourselves – it’s shamelessly, jaw-droppingly awful. And brilliant at the same time.

IN THE finest piece of career advancement since an Evening Beast classified girl allowed herself to be mauled by a senior exec in the back of a taxi after the Christmas do, a young lady called Kalina Nikoleva waltzed through Heathrow and straight onto the front page of The Daily Telegraph on New Year’s Day.

Kalina, you see, was in the vanguard of the millions of Bulgarians allegedly heading our way after changes in EU membership. She made an attractive illustration of the story, so much so that the Telegraph had her back as a page lead a week later, by which time she was picking daffodils in a field near Camborne in Cornwall for a fiver an hour.

So The Daily Telegraph now has a new pin-up girl, presumably to replace Kylie, who managed to keep a dangling Saddam off the front page a day earlier. This girl will clearly go far, particularly if she spots a passing libidinous Liberal Democrat MP. Expect a Page 3 appearance soon. In the Telegraph, that is.

SO WERE they ‘prostitutes”, were they ‘sex workers”, or were they (as the BBC so hideously described them while tying itself in knots) ‘women working as prostitutes”?

Surely the job of the reporter is to inform and explain. Pathetic pandering to perceived politically-correct principles does neither us, nor the reader, any favours whatsoever.

A MOMENT of glorious stupidity from GMTV: ‘Fears are growing regarding media intrusion concerning Prince William’s girlfriend, Kate Middleton. Our reporter is outside Kate’s workplace in southwest London…’Now that, you really couldn’t make up.

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