Front pages review at midnight: Wednesday 27 October 2010

 Two hours late with my review tonight, apologies guys. It is a relatively slow news day but gives us the chance to see that rarest of things – a good news front page splash. The Times decides that the economic figures are good enough that it doesn’t need to apply its usual cynical approach and takes a positive line. The Telegraph, however, has a better version of the same story and you can’t help thinking that there is a reason why most newspapers don’t have good news on the front pages…

The problem with The Guardian – “British forces exposed over Afghan attacks” – at the moment is that for the last week or so their top stories have been on such similar themes that they have been difficult to distinguish. First we had the Wikileaks Iraq documents that ran all weekend and on Monday, and then yesterday we had the revelations about the British intelligence methods used in Iraq. Now the paper has an exclusive about the conduct of three British military units in Afghanistan who have allegedly attacked civilians. While this is undoubtedly an important story you feel like saying to the editor “The British military are bad, we get it, now what else do you have?” I wonder why they didn’t shelve it for a day or two and run with something else. Having said that, for all I bemoan the lack of quality investigative journalism this story comes from Freedom of Information Requests and is a well-researched article.

The Times – “Reasons to be hopeful” – runs with the big economic news of the day, the better than expected GDP figures (0.8% growth, as opposed to the 0.4% forecast). It is a rare good news headline and focuses on the fact that “global investors became more positive about Britain’s prospects” and that the world’s biggest advertising agency expects strong sales growth. The article then wanders on the inevitable question of who deserves credit for the upturn, with the implication being that analysts think the government’s deficit reduction plans are working.  It quotes George Osborne, Alan Johnson and a Credit Suisse economist, but the first two of these are not from real interviews but from press conferences. A decent, if slightly dull, front page story.

The Telegraph – “Interest rates set to soar as economy recovers” – also focuses on the higher than expected growth figures but takes an interesting, if slightly more depressing, angle on the story. It has a decent quote from a member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee in which he suggests that the growth figures suggest interest rates can be put up from their historic low. This is an interesting angle on what, in The Times, appeared to be a bit of a dead story.

The FT – “BA attacks US airport security demands” – has an interesting story about the chairman of British Airways bemoaning the “completely redundant” security in US airports, which if you have ever been to the States you will recognise. I am impressed that the FT still have the resources to send a correspondent along to the “UK Airport Operators Association” annual conference in hunt of a story, and it has paid dividends.

The Independent’s new I paper has the hard-hitting title “Who shot the Emperor?” which, with the Indy’s reputation for good foreign news coverage, you expect to be a brilliant story about an emperor in an unreported part of the world. Unfortunately it is about a deer which was shot last week. This new Ipaper is very bizarre and I expect to see a lot more of these kinds of non-politicised, light stories that are often found in the Metro and the Evening Standard. But It will take a while before I can accept the dumbing down of the Indy. I feel an article brewing…

If you only read one: The Telegraph

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