A textual lesson in story-padding

This one really was too daft to be true. According to a mobile phone website, an anti-street-clutter charity has launched a pilot programme to protect people when they walk into lampposts.

This one really was too daft to be true. According to a mobile phone website, an anti-street-clutter charity has launched a pilot programme to protect people when they walk into lampposts. Yes, precisely.

"A London-based pilot program has been launched by the charity organisation, Living Streets, to 'pad' lamp posts to protect unwary texters," the article reads. "If successful, the scheme will be extended to other major English cities. A welcome civic assistance program or further proof that the Nanny State has finally flipped its lid?"

This pile of utter nonsense can be traced back, via the ever-estimable Daily Mail, to the directory service company 118.com. As for poor Living Streets, all they did was provide somewhat bemused comment to the Mail reporter about 118's "research" and one-off publicity stunt. Now they're supposed to be running the campaign on a nationwide basis.

Funny what a quick phonecall can tell you. Has journalism finally flipped its lid?