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 witty 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 - usually on a weekday. Then, on weekday evenings at around 5 o'clock, letters from readers, both serious and light-hearted, are published. Topics can be varied - how to measure sizes in terms of London Routemaster buses, or for larger geographical areas, Wales. Other favourite areas of discussion include the Flexicon, the sex 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 or ten toes.

A weekly 'Punorama' competition inviting readers to submit pun-based newspaper headlines for a given story in the current week's news is held every Tuesday, while a separate photo caption competition is held each Thursday.

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 though as the equivalent of new comments.

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 as 50 year-old Financial Guru Richard Jenkinson from London (although some doubt has now been cast as to whether this 'reveal' was in fact just a hoax made to bolster the flagging image of the City of London's Financial sector at the time of the Credit Crunch and widespread public unpopularity).


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
  • 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)
  • Punorama competition
  • Caption Contest
  • 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.

Editorial Team

The Magazine Editor is currently Jonathan Duffy, who took over from Giles Wilson in April 2006.

External links

  • The Magazine home page
  • The LBIQ A website where regular contributors to the Magazine Monitor beta-test their puns & captions based on the current Punorama or Caption Competition. Could be described as a Punnery.
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