Sunday, October 15, 2006

Web Exclusives...

and - why not - a couple which didn't make the paper and would otherwise merely moulder on my machine...

“The astonishing waste of paper and money caused by the rising tide of junk mail has been revealed,” gasped the Daily Mail on 28 September. “British households receive a total of 3.4billion unsolicited items through the post every year, of which 750million go straight into the bin. Researchers found that 22 per cent of direct mail, much of it from banks and credit-card companies, is never opened. … Many Daily Mail readers have complained about the level of junk mail flooding on to doormats. They are also angry that they have been unable to get through to the helpline which is supposed to allow householders to block it.”
The paper did, however, neglect to mention one interesting finding contained in the survey by Nielsen Media Research – that in 2005 Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Daily Mail (as well as those litterbug’s favourite freebies, Metro and London Lite), spent £791,000 cluttering up the nation’s doormats with junk mail subscription offers.

“The BBC has grown into a bloated bureaucracy with more than 25,000 employees – some of whom, as we discovered this week, have nothing better to do than debate whether or not Fiona Bruce should be allowed to wear a piece of jewellery in the shape of a cross when she presents the news,” grumbled Tom Utley in the Daily Mail last week. “Would they agonise as much about a Muslim presenter who chose to wear a headscarf? I rather doubt it.”
This is one of the few occasions when a columnist’s rhetorical question can be easily answered, given that the entire furore over Ms Bruce’s jewellery only arose from an article in the Guardian in which former BBC controller of editorial policy Stephen Whittle was given a series of hypothetical dilemmas to struggle with, including… whether a Muslim newsreader would be allowed to wear a hijab on screen or not. Whittle’s answer? “It is not something I would want to allow without it being properly discussed beforehand.”

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