The UK’s Independent is getting increasingly soft-focus. It’s more like a Sunday supplement than a newspaper. Yesterday’s page 1 and 2 (you don’t get much to a page in the new tabloid format, once you’ve sold all the advertising space) contained the shock horror news that 4x4s are bad and their drivers are stupid. On other pages we had the news that David Cameron is only pretending to like football; a picture of Keanu Reeves going to the theatre; the refreshingly frank admission by Tracey Emin that her column isn’t up to its usual standard; a reminder that smuggled bushmeat from Africa can be dangerous to health; and a feature on millionaire authors of childrens books.
Struggling to find some hard news to fill page 3, the Independent editor decides to run a story which has been circulating for more than a week: the sighting of Kim Jong-Il’s second son Kim Jong-chol at an Eric Clapton concert in Germany. The story appeared in the Korea Times and the Chosun Ilbo on the 16th, and is itself a rehash of something from Japanese TV. Both Korean sites have stills from a Fuji TV news story, and the very same images appear in the Independent, slightly cropped – but not cropped quite enough: you can still see to the stripy shirt of the viewer whose TV is being photographed for the Korea Times site. Is it more interesting than why Gore Vidal hates George Bush (the two-page feature on pages 26 and 27)? Just. Which is why I suppose it made it to page 3.
But I’m being a bit mean. As far as I know (based on a google search) the Independent is the only UK paper to have run this story, so full marks to them.