Recent posts in my The Sun Category

September 5, 2012

Hold ye front page - someone is wrong about the internet

You might have seen an image doing the rounds on the web which appears to be The Sun reporting on the invention of the World Wide Web, and comparing it to the Sinclair C5. Much hilarity ensues. Of course the image is a fake.

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July 20, 2011

“Never miss a moment” with The Sun & Sky Sports

I absolutely adored this nifty bit of layout in The Sun yesterday. In the top-right hand corner of page 23 was “Teed off by Beeb” - an article about how golf viewers had been complaining to the BBC. Turn over to page 24 & page 25 and - lo and behold - a two page spread advert for Sky Sports headlined “Never miss a moment”...

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July 13, 2011

“Brown wrong” - metadata wrong

An interesting example of getting analogue and digital news metadata out of sync yesterday. At the moment that last night’s paper reviews were revealing The Sun’s “Brown wrong” front page splash, the online version of the story was bylined Vince Soodin. That wasn’t the case in print.

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July 8, 2011

"The Sunday Thing" - why do Sunday editions need a special name in a 24/7 news culture?

Nobody will be surprised that News International won’t want to leave a vacancy in the Sunday tabloid market for long, but the thing I am intrigued by is the choice of name.

I love lots of things about the news industry, the brands, the history, the heritage, and the way that papers take the names of communications devices or everyday things and turn them into identities.

But why, in the 21st century, you still need a different name for a paper printed on a Sunday escapes me.

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October 18, 2010

London 2012 Olympic ticket prices accessibility failure

A long list of numbers is the very definition of tabular data, easily represented in an accessible HTML <TABLE> structure. And yet the ticket prices for the Olympic games were only made public as a PDF file...

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June 2, 2010

Whitehaven shootings illustrate the Facebook 'Like' problem for news

Online coverage of the Whitehaven shootings illustrate why the Facebook 'like' button is unsuitable for generic use on all news stories.

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May 5, 2010

The digital general election - online design slideshow and video

During the course of the election campaign I've been making a gallery of screenshots of online news coverage, with a particular focus on the design of interactive tools and maps. I've put them together into a Flickr set, and made a short video compilation of them.

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March 29, 2010

The Sun's explosive advertising #fail

The Sun overlays an explosion from an advertiser on top of news of the suicide bombings on the Moscow subway.

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February 27, 2010

The Sun relying on 'copyright thieves' Google and Yahoo! for their Wrightys XI campaign

Despite Murdoch's stance that search engines steal his newspaper's content, The Sun are using search keywords as the main marketing thrust for their 2010 FIFA World Cup competition.

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February 1, 2010

Page Three plugs 3D

The Sun was plugging Sky's experimental live football 3D service - even on Page Three!

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January 26, 2010

African Cup of Nations online coverage review: Part 1 - UK

During the course of this year's African Cup of Nations tournament in Angola, I've been reviewing news coverage in the UK and in Africa itself. In the first part of this series, I look at how, before a ball was kicked, the terrorist attack on the Togo team made print front pages in the UK.

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November 18, 2009

'Smug foul-mouthed juvenile overpaid twerp' Russell Brand graces The Sun's front page today

You remember Russell Brand? In editorials over the last 12 months or so, The Sun has said he was a 'foul-mouthed' 'smug' 'juvenile overpaid twerp', guilty of 'disgusting stupidity', a 'sick tirade' and peddling 'unforgivable smut'. And then it put him on the cover today picking his favourite Sun front pages. So not that unforgivable then. I honestly don't know which of the pair looks more opportunist....
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November 5, 2009

"UFO hits wind turbine": World-class journalism from News International

I've got no qualms with the News International corporate site claiming that each of their newspapers is a leader in their field - the audience figures speak for themselves, especially in print.I just wonder, if I'd been putting the banner graphic together, whether I'd have picked The Sun's thoroughly debunked "UFO hits wind turbine" front page as the image to set against the claim of 'world-class journalism'......
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October 23, 2009

Twitter - dangerous hunting ground for paedophiles. And The Sun's football correspondents

Given that today's front page article described Twitter as 'a free and easy hunting ground for paedophiles seeking to lure kids for sex', was it the best timing for The Sun's North East football correspondent Steve Brenner to be opening lots of new accounts on a service where his paper says 'pornographic pictures of young girls are also freely available'?...
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October 8, 2009

So was it the Express or The Sun that 'saved' the England game?

I suggested earlier in the week that as part of the marketing operation, the UK's national newspapers might be giving digital sports rights agency Perform an easy ride over their decision to make England's World Cup game with Ukraine available only via pay-per-view Internet streaming. I didn't realise that some of them would be promoting their non-exclusive involvement in an affiliate selling scheme as if it was God's own gift to the England football fan. I'm sure Geoff Marsh...
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September 30, 2009

Google ads battleground between The Sun and Labour

Labour vs The Sun on Google
Google Ads drag the Hillsborough disaster into the recent spat between the party and the newspaper

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August 11, 2009

"Bang Bang" - What B.A. Robertson can teach the news industry about the price of scarcity

With varying announcements about potential future paid-for-content models from the FT and News International titles, there has been a resurgence in the debate about getting people to pay for visiting newspaper websites. Malcolm Coles yesterday wrote a great blog post looking at ways that News International could succeed in monetising their content. I think it addresses a lot of issues and niche content that does exist, that the naysayers of the 'information wants to be free' crowd tend to sweep...
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June 28, 2009

The Sun's pharma front page

For a split-second, when I saw this front page on Saturday morning, I thought that somehow The Sun's print process had been hacked by a pharma spammer! I notice they didn't use that headline for the article online. I wonder if it was out of concern for their automated spam filter rankings at Google et al?...
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June 5, 2009

"It's SunTalk Wot Won It"

During the recent election campaign, the BBC's community areas will have been operating under 'special election rules'. Moderation will have been much tighter than usual when people were talking about politics. Actually, this system has got more relaxed over the years. I remember that one of the most disrupting elements of h2g2 being assimilated by the BBC was during the 2001 election campaign. Then, the community were told that if they wanted to discuss politics, they'd have to leave the...
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May 29, 2009

Newspapers on the go - Metro and The Sun

Yesterday I was casting a (very) quick eye over the mobile offerings of The Telegraph and The Times. Today I'm looking at the sites that The Sun and Metro offer to users on-the-go. The Sun Of the sites I looked at, The Sun's was by far the most nakedly commercial. Sometimes literally so. Their homepage had a strong focus not just on the news, but on calls to actions to download ringtones, wallpapers and games, which are provided by a...
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March 27, 2009

Press silence on Alfie Patten DNA test result broken by Google News

Yesterday, The Mirror was reporting a further development in the story of the 13 year old boy named as a father. The initial coverage of this story was a significant factor in boosting The Sun from #5 to #1 in the UK newspaper online charts. Today, The Mirror has pulled the story from their site. It is an interesting test case of whether legal deletions should also cover SEO-orientated keyword stuffed URLs. They might have pulled the story, but I...
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February 14, 2009

Wireframing the front page: Part 5 - The Sun

Over the last couple of days I've been comparing the different proportions of types of content on newspaper front pages and their online equivalent. So far I've looked at a 'quality paper' - The Times - and a 'mid-market' title - The Daily Mail. This has been part of a series called 'Wireframing the front page'. Today I wanted to compare the front page and online "viewport" of a 'red top' tabloid - The Sun.  The Sun Again we see...
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February 9, 2009

Wireframing the front page: Part 1 - The "homepage"

I've been giving a lot of thought to the way that people navigate through newspaper websites, and it has made me consider the different functions that the homepage and the front page serve. Navigation, for example, is mostly redundant on the printed front page. Occasionally a paper might have something like "Turn to Page 7" to link to the continuation of a story, or a promo for the sports section, but generally the front page functions to sell one major...
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February 3, 2009

Navigating newspapers: Part 4 - The 'red tops' and the 'middle market'

Last week I started publishing a series of posts about the primary and secondary navigation on 9 of the UK's national newspaper websites. Today I want to look more closely in depth at the red tops and the 'middle market' papers.  Daily Express Alongside The Sun, the Daily Express is the only paper I looked at to still utilise a left-hand navigation. There are a lot of links, and I didn't include in the study a second similar panel of...
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January 28, 2009

Ban this sick Nazi paedo filth!

Please note - this post contains plot spoilers for the movie "The Reader" "MOVIE-MOGULS HORRIFIED cinema goers today with the launch of a film that shows a SICK NAZI PAEDOPHILE having sex with a 15 year old. In one scene the MONSTER lures their victim into the bath - and both are depicted TOTALLY NAKED. The TWISTED HUN is revealed to have BURNED TO DEATH 300 Jews during the War, and to have SEXUALLY ABUSED victims in a Concentration Camp....
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November 10, 2008

The evil of searching for 'Gary Glitter'

Personally I remain unconvinced of the power of 70's music to reach out through time and corrupt the youth of today via the medium of guidance notes for exams, but that hasn't stopped the Gary Glitter GCSE 'scandal' being one of the main media storms of the day. For me perhaps the most unintentionally funny bit of it is the quote from the anonymous headmaster in The Sun about his fears when teenagers go online: "He's a convicted paedophile jailed...
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October 21, 2008

Social media: Contextual help on UK newspaper websites

So far in my observations of the use of social bookmarking links on mainstream media sites I have concentrated on the end results - the number of URLs that became popular on a service. Today I wanted to start looking at one aspect of the user interface that media sites provide, namely whether they have any 'contextual help' for users around social bookmarking. Of course, it could be convincingly argued that actually the job of 'contextual help' here is...
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May 14, 2008

Newspaper widget review: Facebook Applications

I recently gave a presentation at the Miami IA Summit about Information Architecture and user-centred design ideas for widgets, and I very often blog about newspaper websites on currybetdotnet, so it seemed like an obvious idea to put the two together, and blog about newspaper widgets. In the previous two posts I've looked at the Yahoo! Widgets and Google Gadget platforms. Today I want to turn my attention to the Internet darling of 2007, Facebook. About Facebook Applications The decision...
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May 13, 2008

Newspaper widget review: Google Gadgets

I recently gave a presentation at the Miami IA Summit about Information Architecture and user-centred design ideas for widgets, and I very often blog about newspaper websites on currybetdotnet, so it seemed like an obvious idea to put the two together, and blog about newspaper widgets. In the previous post, I looked at the Yahoo! Widgets platform, and was surprised to find that only one British newspaper seemed to feature in any widgets - The Independent. Today I'm turning my...
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May 6, 2008

'Sorry - this page cannot be found': How newspapers handle 404 errors - Part 2

A comment when I started my recent 'Newspaper Site Search Smackdown' series of posts prompted me to go and have a look at which British newspapers use sitemap.xml files. As it turned out, it was only the Daily Mail and The Scotsman which I noticed, although The Telegraph and The Mirror and Metro have them as well. It meant that I got to have a close look at the 404 error pages generated by the others. I thought it might...
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May 2, 2008

Lies, damned lies, and motoring statistics in The Sun

There are lies, damned lies, and articles about motoring and crime statistics, and The Sun had an absolute classic yesterday in that genre. Topically titled 'Grand Theft Auto', the paper ran a two-page spread about the way that the motorist had become 'public enemy number one' in the last ten years, being treated as a criminal and taxed to the hilt. At the foot of the article in print was a great little box-out 'explainer': The Real Dangers IF drivers...
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April 8, 2008

Newspaper "Site Search Smackdown": Round 1 - The Daily Mail vs The Sun

The other week I wrote about the potential threat to newspaper revenue from Google's new 'Search in search' feature. Links to the article appeared on a few blogs, and Kevin Anderson made the point that Google was doing search better than most newspapers: "Where I might disagree is Martin's argument that it negatively impacts user experience. He says that Google's position is that they can provide search better than the news sites. Well, the sad truth is that whether...
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March 31, 2008

Google hijacks traffic from newspaper site search

There has been a controversy over the last couple of weeks about Google's introduction of 'Search in search' boxes. For some large web properties who appear at #1 for their brand name, Google has been adding a search box underneath their listing, allowing users to refine their search to get results for just the one domain. Amazon and Flickr are a couple of examples of where this has been introduced, although Amazon seem to have got the feature squashed. I...
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February 13, 2008

Saucy Sun snaps in their Facebook apps

Over the last couple of years I've had more cause to be critical of clumsy attempts by newspapers to incorporate advanced web features into their offering than I've had opportunity to praise them. However, I feel I have to grudgingly offer some respect to The Sun for the way they are using MySpace widgets and Facebook apps. They've launched a MY Sun Girl Next Door application on both platforms. "Is your Facebook or MySpace profile lacking some hotty action? Fancy...
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December 21, 2007

Biblical Christian names still out-number Mohammed for Britain's boys

The tabloids have been spluttering their outrage at the news that Mohammed is now the second most popular boys name in the UK. Well, provided you massage the figures of course, I mean, why let facts get in the way of your editorial line that 'the fuzzy-wuzzies are taking over our country'. To get that result, you have to add up all the variations on Muhammed, whilst steadfastly refusing to aggregate any other names - I noticed both Jake and...
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December 16, 2007

The "feelthy" French get hold of The Sun's front page

The editorial tone of The Sun has very often represented the epitome of British contempt for our French neighbours. Perhaps the most famous example is 1990's "Up Yours, Delors!" front page. The Sun today calls on its patriotic family of readers to tell the feelthy French to FROG OFF! They INSULT us, BURN our lambs, FLOOD our country with dodgy food and PLOT to abolish the dear old pound. Now it's your turn to kick THEM in the Gauls...
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More RSS errors - The Sun and The Express

In theory Chipwrapper should be so easy to product manage. I spent a little while registering the domain name, making some HTML pages and finding a logo image. I set up a Google Custom Search Engine. I mashed up some Yahoo! Pipes and pumped them through some of my own Perl and then Feedburner, and it should all just run just tickety-boo. Unless, of course, newspaper publishers kept doing really dumb things with their RSS feeds. The Sun's feeds remain...
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December 6, 2007

Sky News give up on the hunt for Madeleine McCann

Well, after over 8 months, it seems that Sky News have given up on the hunt Madeleine McCann. Since May 2007, the single word Madeleine has been the third item on their main navigation - above Politics, World News, above Business and the Weather. That has all changed with today's redesigned homepage. Editor Steve Bennedik has even been moved to blog about it: There's one other change you may already have noticed. We've removed the heading "Madeleine" from the navigation...
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December 5, 2007

The Sun's broken RSS still affecting Chipwrapper one month on

Well, it has been a month now since Dave Cross pointed out on his blog that The Sun's re-design utterly broke their RSS feeds, and still we await them being fixed. As a consequence it also broke several aspects of Chipwrapper. Until today I'd resisted the temptation to poke around and try and fix things, on the grounds that surely The Sun themselves would put things right. That doesn't seem to be the case. The first problem was that The...
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November 23, 2007

Not qualifying for Euro2008 - as it happened in Greece

I already had one Euro2008 slap in the face when UEFA didn't grant me any tickets to return to Salzburg to watch a couple of games staged in a place where, this time last year, I was living. And then there was the Croatia game. The comedy of errors here in Crete was nowhere near as bad as Scott Carson's competitive debut, but I thought I should share. According to the Athens News, Greek channel ΝΕΤ were showing the...
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November 13, 2007

How accessible are Britain's online newspapers? Part 6 - The Sun

I'm writing a series of posts about how British newspaper websites perform in a series of accessibility tests. These include simple things, like whether the text on a site is re-sizeable within major browsers, and more complex issues like how the site is rendered by screen reading technology. So far I've examined The Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Guardian and The Independent's sites. This post looks at the accessibility of The Sun's site. Unfortunately for me, after I'd done...
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September 15, 2007

My assessment of My Sun and My Telegraph in the Press Gazette

I had another article published in the Press Gazette this week. Last time I was looking at newspaper RSS feeds. This time I was casting my "Expert Eye" (their kind words, not mine) over the personalised news, comment and blogging platforms offered by The Sun and The Telegraph. On the whole I thought that both services were bold moves for the papers concerned. In print, newspapers are used to being able to tightly control and sub-edit the contributions from their...
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August 14, 2007

The Sun's Dream Team debut nightmare

One of the most exciting weekends of the year has just passed - the start of the football season. And it all went pretty well for my teams. Well, if the best you can hope for is to finish the weekend on -12 like Leeds did, that is as good as it gets anyway. This year I've been dragged into doing The Sun's Dream Team Fantasy Football and joining one of the mini-leagues with a few friends back in the...
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May 3, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: How Web 2.0 is The Sun?

Over the last two weeks I have been looking at some of the major British newspaper websites, and examining the extent to which they have incorporated so-called "Web 2.0" technologies. Today I want to look at the last of the newspapers I am surveying - The Sun. RSS feeds The Sun's most recent redesign placed a prominent RSS icon with the slogan "News to you" in the masthead navigation on every page of the site. This link takes the user...
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April 11, 2007

The Sun's MY Sun registration systems and odd date range behaviour

When I was looking at The Sun's online registration functionality to research my Easter Bunnies competition post, I noticed something odd about the date range they offered, which is a mistake commonly made across the web. In the wireframes I've made for Sony NetServices, I've always specified the date-range to be displayed, and the order in which it should be displayed. Not everybody seems to think this through though. The Sun's registration process asks for a birthdate, and gets...
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March 28, 2007

The Sun using blogs to solicit amateur Page 3 Girl style photos

When The Sun first launched their MY Sun social networking / blogging / message-board platform last year, I wondered how long it would be until they started soliciting topless pictures of their reader's wives. I didn't have to wait too long. I don't know if it is strictly the first time they have done it (given their Page 3 Idol competition a couple of months back), but during the run-up to Easter, in their "Easter Bunny" competition (first prize...
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February 22, 2007

The Sun's sexiest barmaid vote goes a bit tits up

If you are running a high-profile national vote, then it is always vital to get the little details right. Sadly The Sun doesn't seem to be doing too well with one of their online polls today. The Sun is running a quest to find Britain's Sexiest barmaid: BEER we go, lads - it's time for the final of our fantastic Pub Idol contest. We've whittled down the entries to a final eight hopefuls who believe they deserve the title of...
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February 14, 2007

Guess Brit babes bra size, and you can help catch rapists in The Sun

I've mentioned before the sometimes unfortunate editorial juxtapositions online caused by The Sun's twin obsessions of looking at ladies boobies and catching 'sick pervs', but sometimes it is just beyond parody. Today's Valentine's Day Sun homepage puts next to each other a promotion about guessing the bra size of topless Brit girls, and one for "Sun Justice" in helping to catch rapists. It isn't entirely clear whether guessing the bra sizes also helps catch the rapist, but there you go....
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October 24, 2006

Getting content onto Britain's sex beasts' mobile phones

I wonder if it was just me who found it a rather strange juxtaposition on The Sun's online site today, promoting "Page 3 Stunners on your mobile" on their story "30,000 fiends lurk in pervs' UK", next to a helpful map of where, as the article puts it, "Britain's sex beasts lurk"....
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October 23, 2006

Some six year olds are not very good at geography

The "finding" that 1 in 5 UK school children can't point to the UK on a map is currently whizzing around the internet and being reported as far afield as Australia - "Q: Where is the United Kingdom? A: You're standing in it " - and India. Funnily enough, most people don't seem to be reporting it as "commercial company selling geography magazine aimed at children releases headline grabbing statistic which suggests parents need to buy their children geographic...
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September 6, 2006

Redesigned Sun Online search

Earlier this year I did a survey of site search across British newspaper online properties. Of all the papers I looked at, I found The Sun's online site search to be one of the most annoying. This wasn't just because the quality of the results were poor and the user interface spawned multiple pop-ups, it was also because I tested the site during the World Cup when they were running a special jingoistic masthead, which displaced their usual search boxes....
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July 18, 2006

Searching The Sun online - part two

I have returned to looking at search on The Sun's online site, as the situation has changed slightly since I took my first look at the site a couple of weeks ago. At that point England were still participating in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and it appears that The Sun were using a different masthead design for the duration of the competition, which impacted on the placement of the search boxes that I recorded. The masthead on the homepage...
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June 28, 2006

Searching The Sun online

I've recently been doing a survey of how well search works, or doesn't, across a number of British newspaper web sites. The quality of the results, and the usability of the interfaces, varies widely across the market sector. I thought I'd look at each newspaper I studied in turn, and give a little review of the features, usability and accuracy of their search facilities. I started yesterday with a look at The Times online, and now I'm looking at another...
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September 26, 2004

Doctor Who and Rose in crisis

Surely I can't have been the only Doctor Who fan whose heart sank when they saw yesterday's headline in The Sun - "Chris and Billie In Crisis" - automatically assuming that it referred to some terrible production issue with the new series involving Mr Eccleston and Ms Piper?...
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September 17, 2004

EastEnders vote in The Sun

The last time something I worked on was in the papers it was the Evening Standard, which managed to print the alphabetical press release teaser of the top twenty in the Five Live Sporting Century vote as the definitive countdown of the final results. Today it was the turn of our EastEnders vote - which made it into The Sun's TV section under the banner headline "Polls Apart". According to the paper: "EASTENDERS stars are furious over a new TV...
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June 29, 2004

Which job was it we were doing anyway?

I'm a little bit confused here. If I remember correctly the job we were doing was disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. Tony Blair certainly seemed to think so. "On Tuesday night I gave the order for British forces to take part in military action in Iraq. Tonight British servicemen and women are engaged from air, land and sea. Their mission: to remove Saddam Hussein from power and disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.         Tony Blair's...
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May 15, 2004

Another one bites the dust

First Greg, and now Piers. Another Editor-in-Chief in the UK loses their jobs for allowing allegations of mis-doings in the "War-in-Iraq-affair" to be broadcast or published without sufficient fact checking to prove the stories are correct. Without wanting to rake up old ground, it's just a shame the same standard of fact checking doesn't seem to apply if you publish front page stories supporting the official line on the war. For example, The Evening Standard on 24 September 2002...
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March 27, 2004

England due to play this week? Must be time for another Sven story then

It is a lucky co-incidence how this media story always re-surfaces just as England are about to play a match, but there was simply astonishing stuff from The Sun today over Sven and England. It seems trivial to point it out...but I can't resist moaning. From Steven Howard - "Euro bid left in tatters" "They gave him a job which, with it, brought a certain responsibility towards the millions of fans who forget their tribal wars at the drop...
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October 17, 2003

ER vs EU

I had to laugh at the front page of The Sun today - "EIIR vs EU" It was a story about a monolithic institution, that was unwilling to reform, which was costing taxpayers an immense sum of money for very little return, most people didn't understand what its function was, and it was stuffed with foreigners like Germans and Greeks.... ...and this institution was going to save us from the European Union ;-)...
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