Swedish lesbian-only town? Gullible much?

I love this. It seems that Sweden has been forced to announce that a women-only town populated with lesbians does not exist on Swedish soil after a number of news outlets in China covered the fictitious town.

Xinhua and Harbin News news agencies claimed that Chako Paul City was built in the forests of northern Sweden back in 1820. Nice to see the women managed to find a way to reproduce without any men to, er, help (thanks for the disturbing alternative suggestions KT).

The Telegraph reports that the strange story may have been the result of a translation mix up but whatever happened to create this gaff it’s definitely my favourite fictional town of the year!

Life imitating art – murderous crime show host gets creative

So you’re a writer, a TV show creator or a TV creative of some sort, where do you get the majority of your inspiration for great story lines? Real life of course.

But what if you are the host of Brazilian crime show that reports on real life crime? And you can’t just turn to a scriptwriter to liven up the action? Well, maybe you start to ensure that real life follows your script. Or that seems to have been the (ill)logical conclusion for former police officer Wallace Souza, the host of crime show Canal Livre who started offing people to give himself something exciting to report.

Yuck!

Not newsworthy

Today I made the mistake of scanning a long list of news headlines online. Normally I try and skim-read titles in the most efficient way possible. Meaning that I only mentally highlight the words relating directly to the subject I’m looking for, but this morning I was tired and seemed to be working at a reduced speed and some rouge headlines snuck in.

I know I should really be beating myself up for paying less attention to the world around me on an average day rather than upset with the little dose of today’s news I received. But upset I am. Not only were there the expected deluge of miserable bulletins, sensationalist coverage of issues that underpin our society and the overwhelming feeling that things were going to shit, but there was also a liberal sprinkling of faux-news-with-a-feel-good-factor.

This is the ‘news’ I hate most of all. This is the news that haunts me because it blatantly isn’t news and yet it masquerades as such. This fluff is constantly reminding us if that celeb related drivelling or coverage of the breaking news that ‘people like cups of tea’ are the best topics of conversation or debate we can come up with as a nation, things have indeed all gone to shit. And worst of all I feel that I somehow contribute to it.

Newspaper recruits lowering literacy levels

Well, it makes me feel slightly better about my own failings when it comes to spelling and grammar, but I have to say I was pretty shocked by the news that the literacy levels of newspaper recruits is causing concern for media groups.

Another interesting discovery made as part of the investigation by Skillset is that the publishing industry is struggling to secure good recruits due to competition from games companies and other modern creative industries. The thing is, after hearing so many tales of doom and gloom concerning people’s prospects in the journalistic sphere it seems perfectly understandable that people are looking for other careers.

I’m sure few graduates would be tempted to take their education and plough it into an uncertain market – and that’s bad news if it’s good quality news we’re looking for in the future.

Twitter’s jail time potential and China’s forbidden sex park

I’m starting off with Twitter as this news story totally gave me pause for thought – a Guatemalan man could face jail time after an ill advised Tweet was deemed to be a threat to the country’s financial stability. I think of Twitter mainly as something throwaway and disposable, a fun way to pass a little time and an easy venue for voicing your frustrations. I never thought of it as a web activity that could so easily provide you with real life trouble and I’m probably slightly more aware of online branding and representation than your average user.

On the other hand, the seriousness with which the Guatemalan leaders took the indiscretion certainly tells us a lot about the power the micro blogging service has the potential to wield. They believed one man’s Tweets could have the power to plunge the country into financial panic – who’d have thought it?

Friday saw me reading about China’s first sex theme park and giggling while wondering how it would go down with the extremely conservative side that remains strong in modern China. Not well at all, it turns out. Today we find out that the park is being dismantled before it even properly opened.

It didn’t look as though it was ever destined to be the classiest affair, and I can understand why people would object but it’s a shame. Li Yinhe, an expert on sexual attitudes at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Guardian China’s attitudes towards sex are still at a low – especially compared to historical dynasties. She said: “I read a report saying in the west about 90% of women have experienced orgasm, but in China the number is only 28%.”

That’s not to say that China’s attitudes aren’t changing though and people are far freer than they have been in recent times, I guess a sex park just might not be quite the way to go about it.

The things you find in the news, honestly the best way to find inspiration for stories. The only problem is when you end up defending your far-fetched sounding tale by whining ‘but it really happened’ to incredulous readers.

Sun Online the biggest UK news site? On dear

ComScore has revealed that the Sun Online is the most popular UK newspaper site. I despair. I don’t even know what to say about this it depresses me so much. Thank goodness the Guardian was in a close second.

The report also said that UK news sites draw large audiences from outwith the UK, as well as lots of domestic readers, which I thought was pretty interesting. I guess I do often read the New York Times and a number of American tech news sites, but I never really thought about how global newspapers have become since the dawn of online news.

Spread the wealth of information (but not in the form of red top drivel like the Sun please)!