Peter Worthington has had an amazing life. And his obituary, which he wrote himself, certainly has an arresting opening line.
'While I'm no Elle Macpherson, I'm tall, slim, blonde and, so often I'm told, a good looking woman. I know how lucky I am. But there are downsides to being pretty - the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks.'
The above will be very familiar not just to us journalism students. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 48 hours you will recognise that as an excerpt from the now infamous Daily Mail article written by Samantha Brick.
Granted, after reading the article, there was a slight anti-climax when you saw the woman who was behind it, but that is really besides the point. I am not interested in how gorgeous or how average Samantha Brick looks. I am more interested in unpicking this whole episode. Other than highlighting the vitriol people can spout behind the shield of internet anonymity, this story has made me impressed by the genius journalists can show when trying to drum up sales in a fledgling print market and the power newspapers still have in causing debate. Samantha Brick-gate has demonstrated why Paul Dacre is one of the smartest editors out there with such a successful product.
People have taken to Mail Online to leave acerbic comments, caused a Twitter storm with Samantha Brick being a trending topic and probably sharing their high and mighty opinions at office water coolers up and down the country. What I do not think people have realised while being so nasty with their words, and insulting the Mail, is that they have driven up the web traffic for Mail Online and probably increased circulation and readership (if only for a day) of the newspaper. It makes me chuckle.
While people are insulting this woman and churning out the same old tripe of 'this is why the Mail is terrible', Samantha Brick is probably wiping her alleged tears with the money she has made by filing this bit of copy and Dacre is probably thinking 'this is why I rule'.
I discussed this whole story on Facebook with one of the guys on my course, and we shared the same view. In fact, I really have to share the exchange:
Winifred Ngozi Okocha: Sam Brick: an example of why Paul Dacre is one of the most successful and smartest editors out there. All youse cussing, you drove up Mail Online traffic/Daily Mail newspaper profit. Clap for yourselves.
Nick Gutteridge Ha. We were literally just saying the same thing here.
about an hour ago ·
Jacob Lewis yea, i realised that too!
57 minutes ago ·
Jacob Lewis fecking genius
57 minutes ago ·
Winifred Ngozi Okocha Hahaha, only true journalists would know this; and these same people whinge about how confused they are that the Daily Mail sells so much.
57 minutes ago · .
Jacob Lewis they're evil genius' when they wrote an article on the controversy they'd caused with an article i nearly clapped
56 minutes ago ·
Winifred Ngozi Okocha I'm sure they're sitting down at conference each morning and cackling and slapping eachother's backs saying congrats.
54 minutes ago ·
Jacob Lewis Yea, it's only going to get worse from here on out, mailonline have cracked how are stupid herd minds work and they're gonna pull something like this every week now. They've finally figured a way to monetize public outrage even further, 'if there's no public outrage about anyone, let's make some, then write about it'. :o genius!
51 minutes ago ·
There have been many comments made about Samantha Brick, good and bad. However my favourite remains the one that I heard from a caller at a work experience placement today:
'I've seen better heads on a pint of Guinness.'