The Letters Page where seagulls dare


I think I might be developing a bit of an obsession for the letters pages of local newspapers.

Or maybe I was just surprised to see a letter in the Tindle-owned Cornish Times this week which had been written so as to apparently be from a seagull.

Like dog poo and bin collections, the problems caused by seagulls are popular fodder for letters pages (which in turn serve as a timely reminder of what really matters to readers).

But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a reader feel the need to write in on behalf of seagulls, while pretending to be a seagull, and even explaining how a seagull sent the email:


I always thought seagulls were just aggressive – based on the evidence here, it appears they can also be passive-aggressive too.

As for the letters page in general, last week’s also included this gem about the likelihood of a whale finding a narrow tunnel, travelling up it, getting stuck and instead burrowing through earth to get air – and turning into a rock. Or something.


I want a pint of what they’re drinking in Liskeard.


2 thoughts on “The Letters Page where seagulls dare

  1. If ‘Life is local’ then why in the past couple of days in the Leicester Mercury have we had:

    A story copied and pasted from the Manchester News about a Manchester prison

    Stories about land that’s owned by the queen in Burton

    Story about Staffordshire tourist attractions

    Your newspapers do not practice what you preach. Life is NOT local, its national as long as you can rinse as many clicks as possible.

    See the current state of Alton Towers, having to pump out videos everytime they stop a ride as your lazy reporters use Twitter and wet themselves at every tweet without checking facts.

    (Alton Towers story written by a Derby paper about a tourist attraction near Stoke)

  2. Hi Thomas, thanks for commenting. I’ve looked at the stories you mention and would say the following:

    The Leicester Mercury produces in excess of 100 local news and sports stories a day. Some are used in print and online, some just in print and some just online.

    We encourage our titles to focus on stories which will appeal to local people. This means sometimes using stories which aren’t set locally, but which appeal to people locally. So Alton Towers is a major tourist attraction maybe an hour’s drive from Leicester, so will be of interest to local people (and indeed the audience data behind this story suggests it was).

    Ditto the Strangeways story – it was very well read locally, and indeed the average local reader spent over 2 minutes on that article.

    But to say we only do national stories to rinse clicks is plain wrong, as a quick glance at the website clearly shows.

    Every month, the Mercury produces thousands of stories which are set locally which simply wouldn’t get told if the Mercury wasn’t there. Our job is to make sure the Mercury remains there, and reaches as many local people as possible. The interests of readers don’t begin and end with what goes on locally, and so long as we don’t neglect our role locally, seeking to interest people locally with other things which appeal to them is hardly a bad thing?

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