Probably the only time you’ll see this T word in a regional newspaper…

Last Friday afternoon, my Facebook feed started popping up with images like this:

twat1

and this….

twats2

The story, broken by the Lancashire Telegraph (with apologies to the Lancashire Telegraph for writing two blog posts about them in a week!)  shortly after these images were posted is fascinating. Thwaites is a Lancashire brewery which has dominated the Blackburn skyline for many years.

It has a famous red sign at the top of the tower, and at Christmas the switching on of its Christmas star is something of a must-attend picture job for the local paper. Thwaites trades massively on its Lancashire connections, so it’ll be interesting to see where it relocates – the relocation, and loss of 60 job losses believed to be the reason why the H, I  and E disappeared from the Thwaites sign last week. 

Amusingly, it appears it was only a call from the Lancashire Telegraph which led to the lights being turned off altogether. Things have clearly improved in terms of speedy response to a Press call since I worked at the Telegraph. Back then, it was like pulling teeth, normally with a sermon delivered on how the story you were working on wasn’t news and reminding you that the PR man has once worked at the Telegraph, all of which normally shifted the story several pages further forward in the book.

Anyway, trips down memory lane to one side, it was fascinating to see how the story unfolded. The Telegraph didn’t use the picture online:

lancstelegraph

 

But plenty of others did on the Friday, including Political Scrapbook, a well-known, left-leaning political site, which also didn’t have a problem with using the T word in the headline. How very Guardian:

political scrapbookAnd on Saturday, it quickly became a ‘trending’ theme on Facebook, appearing in the new right-hand box Facebook has introduced as it tries to compete with Twitter as a news source:

thwaitesbrewery

 

With a number of mainstream news sites more than happy to use the picture online, including the Mirror, which was apologetic for the appearance of the word on its Facebook page:

thwaitesmirrortwat

 

and the Daily Mail, which wasn’t:

dailymailtwat

 

No surprises, Buzzfeed was there too:

buzzfeedtwat

And then a copy of the printed page lead from the Telegraph appeared on Facebook, with an updated version of the story online:

blackburn telegraph

 

I always thought the T word would always remain off limits for the regional press, with the c-word probably only slightly worse. But I guess the rules change when it appears above a town in 20-foot high letters.

PS… While we’re on the subject, here’s a peculiar van I saw on the A1 in Gateshead a few weeks ago. Neil Benson, Trinity Mirror’s editorial director, is to thanks for some nifty driving to get close enough to it to get a decent picture while at the same time not killing both of us….

 

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2 comments

  1. Enjoyed this piece a great deal. And your memory of the Thwaites press officer reminded me of a number of firms in the 1980s who’d reluctantly employed a dark arts practitioner! The guy at Avon Tyres in Melksham’s opening gambit almost before you’d outlined why you needed a comment was: “Oh, I don’t think we’ll want to be commenting on that. It’s not a story.” In that case, a lot of non-stories then appeared in the Wiltshire papers!

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