One of my bugbears about modern journalism is how editors feel the need to personalise stories about murdered women or children (but very rarely men) by using their first name in headlines. Even my own paper follows this convention, which to me always seems disrespectful to the dead and their families.
The tragic death of Joanna Yeates over Christmas has been covered with an array of headlines featuring "Joanna" or "Jo". I'm asuming she liked to be known as Jo, although suspect it would not have made any difference, Jo being a nice short word to puff in 72 point on the front page and flog some extra papers off a sensationalised claim.
Nothing, though, has been written about this desperately sad story that is more offensive than this drivel churned out by Liz Jones in the Daily Mail over the weekend.
Under the yucky headline "Is lovely Jo just becoming another thumbnail on the police website?", the banal Jones woman follows Yeates's final steps, primarily whingeing about irrelevancies and demonstrating her own hideous slavishness to consumerism.
Who cares that the food served in the last pub Yeates ate in is a bit crap or that they can't spell Laurent Perrier? Would it really have made her death more bearable if her last night out had been a bit more swanky, as Jones suggests? How on earth does this woman know what Yeates was feeling as she bought her pizza or neared her home?
Is it really a travesty that cars aren't slowing as they pass the place where the body was found, or that someone left flowers but didn't write on the card?
Worse of all is her dreadful conclusion, suggesting that the killer avoided the Clifton Suspension Bridge because he didn't want to pay the 50p toll and then giving us a very boring anecdote about how the traffic hooted at Jones because she didn't have enough change for the bridge herself.
Every time I feel depressed that I am going nowhere in my career, I need to be grateful that I don't work for the Daily Mail and that I don't write such self-absorbed toss as Liz Jones.
And then I look at the sales figures for the Mail compared with The Times and feel depressed again.
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