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Monday, July 27, 2009

Newspapers, not such smarties

When looking for a name for this blog I considered calling it "Rockinon: Musings." In some ways it was a better name as it explains why I so often blog about newspapers. I like them. I read them. And I muse over them. When I worked at the paper I just grumbled somewhat quietly — now I blog. I get to grumble openly, loudly, and often.

According to Paul Berton, editor-in-chief of The London Free Press, "Newspapers may be increasingly late to breaking news parties, but they have the advantage of getting more (if not all) the facts right." Sorry to tell you again Paul, you're late to many stories and often wrong. You can't even get a story about changes in Smarties right. (I blogged about this problem of inaccuracy before here and again here. Paul your columns are error filled. You, like your staff, are spread too thin.)

More than four months ago Nestlé made a change in Smarties, they dropped the use of artificial colouring. Their website states the improved candy was "available starting in March 2009." It appears The London Free Press broke the news today, the end of July, in their "monday minute" column. The Free Press, in keeping with the fun nature of the column, makes Mondays fun by not capitalizing the "M."

I hope the reader is having fun because I know The London Free Press staff isn't. They are stretched so ridiculously thin, as are all the staff at all the Sun Media/Quebecor Media papers, that they simply repackage a bit of stale fluff and report almost word for word the company's press-kit claims.

According to The London Free Press article, "the change is due to consumer demand for fewer artificial ingredients and the trend toward a healthier lifestyle." Nestle wrote, ". . . consumer trend to healthier lifestyles" and "demand for fewer artificial ingredients." This plagiarism is bad writing and bad journalism.

Sadly, there is actually a bit of a story here, but even months late to the party The London Free Press had no time to discover the story. Tell me again, why we need big media — like Quebecor and their big layoffs resulting in thin staffs unable to perform.

So what was the story missed by The London Free Press? The answer: Some colours have gone missing! There are no longer blue nor green Smarties. Nestlé states on their website, "It’s proving very difficult to find a non-artificial blue and subsequently green colour (green is derived from blue and yellow) which meets all of our requirements."

I hate being the one to tell you Free Press, I just know you will be disappointed, but the "other Smarties colours" you eluded to are no more. They may be back, but for now they are history.

The other missed story is that claim about Smarties being part of a trend toward a healthier lifestyle. If Smarties were part of a healthier lifestyle why does Nestl
é itself state, "Save sweet and fatty treats for special occasions." When it comes to kids and lunch box ideas, even Nestlé nixes Smarties.

Yes, give your kids a box of Smarties, don't be like my mom and give your kids apples, or oranges or carrot sticks. No, give your kids a small box of Smarties and give them 22%, or more, of their daily saturated fat. (By the way, I don't get my knickers all in a knot over serving a child a few — very few — Smarties. But, a few go a long way as they are not my idea of a healthier lifestyle.)

Cheers,
Rockinon

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