BBC News Magazine Monitor
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The Magazine Monitor is a column in the Magazine section of BBC News Online; the website of BBC News; where a wily and irreverent take on the day's news is collated. The first article added to the Monitor each day is usually the Paper Monitor - often pointing out the glorious imperceptible witticisms that make the daily press in the United Kingdom each day. During the day a series of caption competitions and oddities are added. On weekday evenings at around 5p.m. GMT, letters from readers, both serious and light-hearted, are published. Topics can be varied: comments on news stories; how to measure sizes in terms of London Routemaster buses, or for larger geographical areas, Wales; spotting people mentioned in news stories whose name is particularly appropriate for their job, etc. Other favourite areas of discussion include the Flexicon, the sex and gender of Paper Monitor or coming up with sardonic comments about previous letters.
On Friday evenings, ready for Saturday morning, an article called "10 things we didn't know last week" collates odd and interesting facts from the week's news. Readers are encouraged to send their own images depicting ten objects to accompany the facts; past examples have included 10 swans flying in formation and ten toes.
A weekly photo caption competition is held each Thursday with the results published on Friday. All entries are visible with 6 winning captions being published. No prize is offered, other than an indeterminate amount of kudos (there are 12 kudos to the Routemaster).
In September 2006, as part of further changes to the appearance of the BBC News website, the Magazine received a new look but the largest change came with the Magazine Monitor itself, rather than a page that was updated over the week in a similar way to news articles on the site, the format of the section changed to that of a blog with the sections added as normal. Comments are allowed, but not published, other than a selection in the daily letters.
In January 2009, the identity of 'Stig', a long-time contributor to the Monitor's Letters pages, Caption competitions and the late and much lamented Punorama was revealed. It has been suggested this was actually a trial run of the 'outing' of another Stig from BBC TV's Top Gear in 2010 however, any connection between the MM's Stig and Top Gear's similarly named Stig is entirely coincidental. The true identity of the Magazine Monitor's Stig remains a mystery to this day as the 'reveal' back in 2009 has since been proved to have been a practical joke.
Each week the Magazine Monitor follows the same basic theme:
- Results from the Daily Mini Quiz (and for a brief period in 2006, the Pointless Poll) that is held each weekday on the Magazine home page (now discontinued)
- Daily Paper Monitor entries
- This section concentrates on the eccentricities and habits of the British press, including the perceived obsession over the death of Diana, Princess of Wales by the Daily Express (usually occurring on a Monday)
- Daily letters sent in by the public (although not always on a Thursday)
- Caption Contest (opened on Thursday, closed on Friday)
- 10 Things we did not know
There are other topics that crop up periodically:
- [Generic topic]-Watch, such as Porridge Watch or Brent Watch;
- Monitoring the progress of a Postcard
- Wallcharts - as published and given away by national Daily Newspapers. Topics have included Trees & Birds of Great Britain, Planets, Weather, Fruit and a Skeleton in three parts.
The magazine editor is currently Jonathan Duffy, who took over from Giles Wilson in April 2006.