That post I did last week on local news, and how south-east London’s local newspapers aren’t up to the job? The Orpington-based News Shopper delivered proof over the weekend. What should they run on their website over the weekend? News, or a woman with big knockers? Tough choice…
Now, to be fair on Lauren Colfer – who won a contest to be the face and chest of a website which specialises in bigger bras – she doesn’t seem to be desperate for fame.
“Modelling seems to be a really good fun way of earning money,” the 19-year-old from Catford told the freesheet. “At the moment I am doing a psychology course at Goldsmiths University [sic] and am working as a receptionist throughout the summer, but modelling is definitely something I enjoy doing.”
Good on her – endorsing stuff she likes, getting a few bob out of it, and hopefully enjoying a burst of fame to cushion her future a bit. However, as for the News Shopper, which decided to refer to her as… a “19-year-old stunner from Catford… with exotic looks”, a “double-d-licious brunette” and a “buxom beauty”, heaven knows how assured its future is if it’s going to slobber over her like a sad old man who hasn’t had it in ages. Maybe they were deliberately having a laugh, but it strikes a weird note in a paper that’s usually pretty po-faced. Leering doesn’t go well if you’re a dry rag with headlines like “Bromley council tax collection rate one of the highest in London”.
Think I’m being needlessly miserable about it? That’s your call. But we need a local press we can take seriously. Sure, a woman who’s gained fame because she looks good in good underwear isn’t going to be the most demanding of stories, but packing it out with the kind of cliches even Page 3 dispensed with years ago doesn’t really seem the hallmark of a paper you can trust. “Exotic looks?” Has the News Shopper ever looked around the women of south-east London before? Maybe not when there’s lines from The Sun a few days before to lift and reuse in a clunkier manner. Papers like the Sun can get away with this kind of thing because outrageous puns and wordplay are all over a paper packed with lively language. You can’t really say that about the News Shopper.
If the News Shopper can’t get the tone of a story like this right for its London audience, what hope has it got when it comes to a really serious issue?