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Over stock

May 16, 2009

I liked the idea of a newsy visual index of the absurd list of goods and services claimed as expenses by rapacious British MPs in the mounting scandal. But this stock-image catalog is the wrongest way to do it.

An intern at the Daily Telegraph thinks this unpatterned carpet swatch is a Persian rug.

An intern at the Daily Telegraph thinks this unpatterned synthetic carpet swatch might pass for Kenyan.

Newspapers can only thrive online if they exploit the medium intelligently. The list of expensed items here is itself outlandish, but all easily visualized by verbal description alone: toilet paper roll holders, tea lights, swag baskets, even helipad hedge-trimming. This piece hardly deserved the multimedia slideshow treatment, which merely revealed embarrassing royalty-free image purchases. Two swans for the moat-cleaning service? Dun-colored synthetic carpet for Kenyan rugs? Perhaps all the photo researchers at the Telegraph have been laid off?

Though on the other hand, there really is no good choice but stock for certain articles, such as the the recent news of airborne cocaine and acid in Barcelona and Madrid. But then, why the need to illustrate it at all?

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