The year they didn't have to make it up
Pretty soon the words “Facebook IPO” were appearing in the same sentence as the words “botched” and “bungled”. Investors lost out, and the class-action suit lawyers have been too busy to update their Facebook statuses ever since.
4 People talk about the Olympic flame as if it’s human
On the Olympic flame’s arrival in Cornwall, BBC News anchor Jane Hill cheerfully pointed out it felt “like sedition” to say that most of the crowd were there to see official “greeter” David Beckham and not this magical symbol of all things Olympic.
It was a remark that hinted at the suspension of journalistic critical faculties that was to come. By the time it reached London, the flame’s mythical status had compounded to the point that Boris Johnson oversaw a special ceremony “welcoming” the flame and “wishing it well”, as if it was a foreign dignitary, and no one rolled about laughing.
No amount of pointing out that the modern torch relay tradition dates back the “Nazi” games of 1936 could dent the popularity of the “golden cheese-grater”, as the torch design was labelled, and it was something of a blessed relief when the actual sport began.
5 Rebekah Brooks, David Cameron and the story of LOL
David Cameron used to sign off his frequent texts to Rebekah Brooks with “LOL”, until she informed him it meant “laugh out loud”, not “lots of love”.
So the former News International chief executive, with a smile and a little pause, told the Leveson inquiry as she was questioned under oath about the closeness of her relationship to her neighbour (and fellow “Chipping Norton set” member).
Funnily enough, the next days’ newspapers were packed with headlines recounting this hilarious textspeak misunderstanding on the part of foolish Cameron. Ha ha ha. LOL. Brooks, as former editor of both the News of the World and the Sun, probably could have predicted as much.
6 The last tweets of Jessica Ghawi
The public nature of most Twitter feeds combined with the use of the social network by news gatherers means the final tweets and conversations of the recently deceased are being retweeted even as the circumstances of their death are still being digested.
Jessica Ghawi, a 24-year-old up-and-coming sports journalist, who wrote and tweeted under the name @JessicaRedfield, was one of the 12 victims of the Aurora cinema shootings in July. Brimming with excitement as she was about to watch a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, her last tweets personalised the tragedy of her death in an immediate way like no third-party tribute ever could. It’s a phenomenon that is at once illuminating and eerie. It is also here to stay. Last week, Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung’s Twitter account revealed a woman who dedicated her life to her pupils.
7 James Osborne points out the emergency exits
“I’ve been asked to point out all the exits. But to be quite honest, I can only see one,” announced James Osborne, chairman of Independent News and Media, shortly before he was pushed out the corporate door. “I can see a lot of windows over there, so I suspect we’ll probably be all right,” he surmised to the shareholders and guests assembled in the somewhat low-ceilinged agm venue.
With INM shareholders Denis O’Brien and Dermot Desmond voting against his re-election, health and safety were the least of Osborne’s problems, but his first and only agm as INM chairman was a droll performance. One shareholder took it upon himself to quote Benjamin Franklin: “Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools that don’t have brains enough to be honest”. Osborne replied that he quite liked the saying. It was the second consecutive year of agm drama at INM.
8 Bill O’Herlihy relives badminton’s sectarian past
There was a time when the phrase “badminton controversy” was an oxymoron, but with eight badminton players thrown out of London 2012 for trying to lose matches, all bets were off.
Filling airtime in the match between Ireland’s Chloe Magee and her Egyptian opponent, RTÉ’s veteran sports presenter Bill O’Herlihy stumbled into a micro-storm in a shuttlecock. Badminton, he recalled, used to be “played by Protestants, mainly”. When he was growing up it was considered “a Protestant game”.