The Grey Cardigan 03.03.06

IT MUST be great being a sub on The Sun. You get to use wonderful words like "romp" and "rumpus" and, whenever there’s a nonce to be outed, it’s a chance to revel in black arts of tabloidese.

It is a Rule of Life that released paedophiles always live "within yards of a school". Always. At what point those "yards" add up to a mile is never explained, but "yards" is a handy term of reference.

You could be pedantic and argue that anyone living in a built-up area must be "yards from a school", but it would do you no good. Because then comes the playground factor.

It is also a Rule of Life that released paedophiles always live "within sight of a playground". Note the subtle difference there. Not "yards from" but "within sight of".

(And what are these paedos doing once they’re within sight of a playground? "Leering", that’s what.)

Of course, "within sight" is difficult to quantify. Binoculars may or may not be involved, so we really need a picture to substantiate this constant threat.

Cue much use of the long lens, foreshortening the distance between the innocent toddler on the swing and the rampaging sex offender quietly chucking tea leaves on his garden compost heap.

And if that doesn’t work, it’s time to send for the helicopter at £1,000 an hour. Now this is the clincher. Aerial picture, dotted white lines, arrows saying "Evil nonce" here and "Innocent two-year-old on swing" there — the job’s a good ‘un.

Mind you, the poor sod who had to take the chopper to get a picture of Lottery rapist Iorworth Hoare’s abode and the mansion of millionaire footballer Alan Shearer in the same frame must have set some kind of altitude record. I reckon he was at least 30,000 feet up.

Pass the sick bag, Alice. And the oxygen as well.

And speaking of Hoare, we should note with approval that when spotted by The Sun’s man in the bushes, he wasn’t simply popping down to the shops for a bag of sugar, oh no. He was "prowling the darkened streets". Good work, fellas.

I SUPPOSE the professorial pontificators who claim to teach our profession to pointless middle-class media studies students would condemn such labelling as "lazy journalism". Perhaps they have a case.

But lazy journalism manifests itself in many ways. A personal bug-bear is the standard Q&A interview question: "What does it say under ‘Occupation’

in your passport?" It’s says nothing, you idiots. Occupations haven’t been listed in passports for years.

And then there’s the soft touch news story on a quiet day. Take the piece about Winnie Johnson, 72, (pictured) the mother of one of the Moors murder victims, being "disgusted" at a forthcoming Coronation Street storyline being filmed on Saddleworth Moor.

So do you think she found out about it and spontaneously phoned up the papers? Did she buggery. The poor woman would have answered the phone to some hotshot little toe-rag who would then have spoon-fed her the quotes he wanted.

"Don’t you think it’s disgusting? And shameful? Will it give you nightmares?"

I know we’ve all done it, but that is truly lazy journalism.

I WAS hugely entertained by Roger Borrell’s devastating deconstruction of the regional newspaper relaunch syndrome in these pages last week.

Here at the Evening Beast the Boy Wonder, staring down the barrel of a double-digit ABC decline, has just flip-flopped over his earlier decision to ban anyone over the age of 50 from appearing in the paper.

We are now to launch a new diamond weddings page, a Bygones spread and a campaign to increase the winter fuel allowance.

The token-collect tartan rug offer can’t be far away.

You can contact me, should you be minded, at thegreycardigan@gmail.com

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