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EDITOR'S BLOG: Bets are off in slow(ish) news week

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IN JOURNO speak, it's fair to say this was a slow news week - one of those rare occasions where, even in Croydon, there's much scratching of heads, stroking of chins and, on Wednesday afternoon, swearing from mouth about our plight.
No reflection on our excellent reporting team. Sometimes, whether you're on a national paper or covering a sleepy outpost in the highlands of Scotland, it just happens.
One great piece of advice I was given in these situations is - don't just go for the "least worst story". Rather, the onus is on us to get creative or find an angle/point of interest hidden within an inside lead that has the potential to turn it into a bona fide splash.
In the end, Gareth Davies' piece on the Paddy Power bookmakers approved for London Road did just that.
On the face of it, this is a straight page lead about a bookies getting a licence. Given context and looking more deeply however, this is Croydon's 66th betting shop, it lies about half a mile up the road from another Paddy Power and, despite being opposed by every single community group in the area, was waved through by an apparently 'powerless' council in under 20 minutes.
And the crowning glory? It's replacing that other great cancer eating into the heart of our town - a chicken shop.
It's not exposing wrongdoing, there's no great scandal and it's not going to shock our readership. But, if all these people feel strongly enough to object, chances are they'll want to read about it in their local paper.
At times, when at risk of disappearing up our own journalistic backsides, we can easily otherlook this very basic principle.
By the way, when I said slow news week, today's Advertiser includes such delights as:

  • Man jailed for stealing 100 chickens
  • Bank thief posed as air con engineer to steal £100k
  • Elderly couple thrown out of nature centre for fear they might "slip on chainsaw grease"
  • Decades of history at the Warehouse Theatre end in a brawl between the former owners and administrators
  • Palace boss Ian Holloway reveals his love for Star Trek actor

A slow news week in Croydon, as I've said many times before, is still a glorious news week. Enjoy these gems - and more - in today's Advertiser, for the bargain price of 70p.
Take a pound and you'll still have enough change for a small Milkybar.

EDITOR'S BLOG: Bets are off in slow(ish) news week


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