Newsnight continues to strive for new and interesting ways to close the show - to varying degrees of success. On Monday night it hit upon the idea of having the newly-crowned World Memory Champion memorise the programme's credits and deliver them at the end of the show.
It's probably safe to say it didn't go quite as planned. Appearing on live television seemed to take its toll on the Champ, even causing him to forget the name of the (increasingly impatient) presenter sat opposite him, while the words "World Memory Champion" appeared on screen with impeccable timing...
The Express and the Daily Star today lead with the revelation that winter, which normally lasts three months and is often cold, may this year last three months and be cold...
The Express story even adds "the northern half of the UK will become a lot colder for a time with the risk of snow". Who knew.
The public have certainly reacted with shock to this news.
Twitter user Rob Jones asked: "How will the other seasons feel about this? Soon they'll all want to last three months."
His concerns were echoed by Ian Yeomans who tweeted: "Three months, that's a quarter of a year... what about the other 3 seasons, will there be room for them too?"
Only time will tell. Or a calendar and a basic grasp of the seasons.
Journalists covering the 'things that look (a bit) like genitals' beat have been kept busy this week. First The Mirror brought news of the Qatar World Cup stadium that looks (a bit) like a VAGINA - and not just any vagina but an upper case VAGINA:
And then The Telegraph got hold of the housing estate which looks (a bit) like a penis, though they lost points for not cracking a single gag about semis:
Australian newspaper The Courier Mail has been trying its best to whip up animosity towards England cricketer Stuart Broad ahead of the first Ashes test in Brisbane. Broad's response? Five wickets and counting.
However, the Courier Mail is holding true to its promise of not mentioning Broad following the instigation of its "Broad Ban". The paper has circumvented the issue of Broad's performance being the match's major talking point by Photoshopping him out of Friday's match reports:
Q1. The Mail Online has reported that a "topless Kim Kardashian" has made a "shockingly gratuitous" music video including a "nip slip". How many pictures of this "shockingly gratuitous" video do you think they have included in their article?
A. None of course! Because it's "shockingly gratuitous".
B. One, begrudgingly, in order to give readers some necessary context.
C. 25 screengrabs and two video clips
Q2. For a bonus point. Do you think they included the aforementioned "nip slip"?
A. No, of course not.
B. You betcha!
Correct answers: C and B
You would think the UK media had been starved of royal news this year given the way they feasted upon scraps on Tuesday. The Mirror set the tone early on, reporting that "Prince William and wife Kate will leave Prince George with babysitters today".
Sky News meanwhile lead with the news that babies grow, which will no doubt interest anybody who has ever wondered where adults come from:
And that just left the Evening Standard to inform us on its front page that Kate wore a dress:
Kate Middleton and the tabloid baby guessing game
Why is the Mail so outraged by new bikini pics of Kate?
Newspapers light ironic fire under Mantel
Telegraph gets to the bottom of the Middletons
It seems winter is on its way and due to arrive in the next month or so. This may well mean it gets a bit colder over the next few months and some places may also see some snow.
...but you knew that already. Though the Express is trying it's best to make this into something a little more newsworthy.
The Express's 'Frozen Planet' moment
Daily Express gets weather story RIGHT
Met Office puts the boot in to the Express
Haven't ice seen you somewhere before?
Weather forecasting: Express style
So... was it the 'coldest winter in 100 years'?
The big non-news story today sees Brussels trying to banish "the traditional British breakfast" by meddling with our jam. The EU is hell-bent on allowing fruit spreads which contain just 50 per cent sugar - as opposed to the 60 per cent used in traditional jam recipes - to be marketed as "jam".
It's worth being clear that jam as we know it will in no way be affected, yet the media are still trying hard to look like they give a toss. The Express, Telegraph, Mirror and Sky News are all running the story.
"EU rules cutting the amount of sugar in jam could bring an end to the traditional British breakfast…"
No hyperbole there then.
"Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt … told MPs that consumers would be left confused if producers were able to sell products labelled as jam when they were only 50 per cent sugar as their consistency would be similar to inferior European fruit spreads that often "tasted like mud", MPs heard."
Those inferior European spreads, coming over here, stealing our breakfast.
Rarely do the right wing press get to combine two of their biggest dislikes - immigration and the BBC - in one story.
But the Telegraph has managed it this morning. Under the headline: "BBC criticised over rare migrant birds featured in 'Tweet of the Day'" the Telegraph reports:
"Radio 4 listeners have woken to the melodious sound of birdsong since the station began its early morning Tweet of the Day slot earlier this year to educate the nation about the calls of British species. However, some wildlife lovers have been left annoyed that the producers have chosen to include rare migrant birds that only stop in the UK for a few weeks of the year."
"One frustrated listener, wrote: "I don't class these birds as British, so why are we listening to them?"
I don't know, these foreign birds, coming over here, eating our worms, happy to take our nuts and berries, yet they refuse to learn how to sing in English... etc.
In case you missed it, this is how Monday's edition of BBC current affairs show Newsnight finished...
The media have lapped up a story from theme park Chessington World of Adventures today after the visitor attraction claimed it was banning animal print clothing from its zoo because it distresses the animals.
The Guardian, BBC, Times, Express, Mirror and Telegraph to name but a few all pounced on the quirky story issued to promote the park's Zufari ride which let's people get up close to some of the zoo's most popular animals.
Just some of the media coverage this story gained: Claims the animal prints trouble the animals are undermined a little by the theme park's willingness to let a model pose in close proximity to its animals while wearing leopard print. But the story has certainly done the job.
As The Guardian reports:
"Zookeepers at the theme park noticed a change in the behaviour of animals after the launch of an attraction that allows visitors to be driven off-road through a 22-acre Serengeti-style reserve, where animals roam free."
The Daily Mail has run a piece today about the decline of modern society as we know it - or 'twerking' to give it its proper name.
In an article headed "What this twerk tells us about the pornification of our children", columnist Sarah Vine tells us of this dance craze:
"No cultural phenomenon better expresses the current objectification of women, the power of celebrity and, ultimately, the pornification of society, than twerking."
Really? Not even the Daily Mail website?
Obviously moral outrage about twerking was to be expected of the Mail (though it hasn't stopped them publishing dozens of pictures of Miley Cyrus performing a raunchy routine... just so they can be sure what they're angry about).
But the article rambles from jarring hypocrisy to ill-thought out arguments until it stumbles to its nadir. In the course of blaming twerking on the internet and then blaming twerking and the internet for sexualising young children (an issue close to the Daily Mail's heart) Vine writes:
"Someone once told me that executives at a certain popular search engine don't allow wifi in their homes. I don't know if that is true, but if it is, it tells you all you need to know about how much those who actually run the internet feel they can trust it with their children."
That has to be a contender for the stupidest thing written in a newspaper this year.
Firstly it's nonsense. But secondly and even more importantly when did "I don't know if that's true, but..." become an acceptable basis for an argument - even a half-baked one?
For more on the Mail's stance on sexualising children, see:
The Daily Mail turns the creepiness up a notch
Mail decides Harper Beckham is "all grown up" at two
Mail follows "leggy beauty" with "all grown up" teen
Viewers of BBC News this morning were left confused by the sight of newsreader Simon McCoy holding a packet of A4 printer paper while reporting an unrelated story.
The strange prop was only explained later on by a BBC spokeswoman who told the Guardian:
"This morning as Simon McCoy was preparing to introduce this story, instead of picking up his tablet... he mistakenly picked up a ream of paper that was sitting next to it. In the rush of live news, he didn't have an opportunity to swap the items, so simply went with it."
What a pro.
Inevitably, Twitter was quick to respond to this strange gaffe and surreal level of professionalism from McCoy. One of the best efforts was this from Ollie Edge who replaced the ream of paper with something even more unusual.
"BBC presenter does live broadcast clutching large rabbit instead of iPad"
Oddly, it sort of works.
Meanwhile, Steve Berry joked that McCoy had stormed off screen and smashed his iPad in frustration:
McCoy famously won a legion of fans in the summer with his very honest reporting from outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital where the royal baby was born:
Princess Diana is back. Having apparently fallen out of favour at the Daily Express she has now been returned to her right place - on the front page, every other day.
In 2012 the Express had Diana on the front page just three times. But now they have clearly woken up in a cold sweat wondering what on earth they were doing and promising themselves they'll never let her go again.
In an effort to make up for lost time The Express has had Diana on the front page roughly every other day for the past month. Here's Monday's front page on which The Express declared the SAS had murdered Diana:
Oddly other media outlets seem to be overlooking this story. Other headlines in the series have included a claim that David Cameron knew all about the SAS hit on Diana, though ultimately the Express has really just been repeating the same story for a month, occasionally moving around the words in the headline.
You can see them all at the recently launched Express Bingo website though here's a selection:
The Express is still clearly a little short of match practice when it comes to conjuring the kind of headlines about Diana it was once known for. At its peak The Express had Diana being killed off by a combination of spies armed with laser beams and a well-rehearsed MI6 'tunnel murder scheme' (all wrriten by The Express while it criticised others who tried to peddle conspiracy theories about her death):
Whether journalists at The Express really believe these headlines is rather a moot point. What clearly matters most is they believe it's what their readers want - or at least what they may have wanted seven years ago.
Back in 2006, at the peak of the Express's Diana coverage, the paper claimed 86 per cent of its readers were in the conspiracy theory camp:
Perhaps it does sell papers in the short term, but the bigger picture is that the Express is losing readers faster than its closest competitors. It has lost more than 300,000 since 2006. That's a 38% drop, compared to 22% at the Mail and 27% at the The Sun over the same period.
Newspapers are in decline generally, of course, but The Express has surely done itself no favours leaning so heavily on stories which may have worked once upon a time and now work with far fewer people. It has tethering itself to an ageing readership with the same handful of stories: dementia; arthritis; pensions; Diana and of course the weather.
Those surviving Express readers who cared enough about a Diana conspiracy theory in 2006 won't have got any younger in the intervening years (despite the Express's claim today that experts have "reversed the ageing process").
The Express's inability to move on and consign Diana to the past seems to be a symptom of a paper that is ill at ease with its future.
If you have somehow missed the story of the Northampton clown then where have you been? #NorthamptonClown was trending on Twitter over the weekend and the world's media have since pounced upon the tale of a mysterious clown who turned up in photos on social media and then in the local press. The Northampton Herald & Post website has been following the story closely:
And they were probably wise to. The clown's appearance has certainly got people talking and clicking.
The Northampton Herald & Post earlier today told The Media Blog its clown coverage brought more than 300,000 unique users to its website over the past 48 hours. Asked how that compares to news stories on a normal day the paper said "it's off the scale".
Some people have been quick to point out that it's clearly a joke or a publicity stunt by a person or persons unknown, which seems almost unnecessary given most of us are well aware that scary clowns don't really just turn up in a town to terrify local residents. In time it will unravel. But until then the interest it has generated has provided a very welcome boost to the local media.
Even Northants Police have been drawn into the global media circus surrounding the clown:
Monday's Newsnight featured Labour MP Rachel Reeves, or "boring snoring Rachel Reeves" as Newsnight editor Ian Katz referred to her in a tweet after the show. Apparently responding to some praise for the programme Katz tweeted:
There then followed the swift deletion and inevitable apology and explanation that he had intended his tweet to be a direct message. We would never have guessed.
Katz recently joined Newsnight from the Guardian where he was the snooooozepaper's deputy editor.
When disgraced former MP Chris Huhne looks back on 2013 he probably won't consider it the best year ever. He lost his job, his liberty and now his self-awareness it would seem.
Huhne has come out today, writing for The Guardian to blame "the Murdoch press" for corroding public trust in MPs. "People despise politicians – but whose fault is that?" asks Huhne, apparently in ignorance of the screamingly obvious answer.
Huhne does concede his own behaviour (cheating, speeding, lying, lying some more and then being imprisoned for perverting the course of justice) "hasn't helped" but he is convinced that much of what has dented his public image is the fault of the Murdoch press.
No stranger to letting others take the blame for his actions, Huhne claims the News of the World "sparked the end" of his marriage after it exposed him for cheating on his wife and he says the Sunday Times "groomed" his ex-wife "until she told them about the speeding points" she illegally took on his behalf.
Let's be absolutely clear, there are many reasons to criticise the Murdoch press and there are people with very valid complaints but Chris Huhne is plainly not one of them. There was a very clear public interest in exposing a serving MP as a criminal. Whether his adultery was also fair game may be open to debate but MPs know when they first stand for election that they are putting themselves into a harsh media spotlight. They know that if they start cheating, lying and perverting the course of justice, for example, there will be a media feeding frenzy.
Predictably, such a self-serving article has backfired spectacularly.
The former Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh probably thought taking on Murdoch on the pages of the Guardian gave him a good chance of getting a few people to grudgingly take his side. But Huhne's utter lack of self-awareness and his continued belief that he can let other people take a share in his blame has resulted in a considerable backlash.
There are currently over 860 comments below Huhne's article on the Guardian's site. Very few offer words of encouragement. One commenter tells Huhne:
"You had an affair and got caught. You used your now ex-wife to take your points and you got caught. You are slippery. Why don't you man-up? Stop blaming the press and have a long think about your character. Politicians like you have ruined any faith the public have in Westminster."
"I despise politicians who lie, get caught and then try to pass the blame off on someone else as if they did nothing wrong."
Huhne should take note. It's unclear if this article was meant to be the first step on the comeback trail for the disgraced politician, but if he can't even win a popularity contest against Rupert Murdoch on the pages of the Guardian then it may be a very long, very lonely journey.