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Scottish daily nails Titanic myth as it goes tabloid

A Scottish daily newspaper used its last-ever broadsheet edition to nail a long-standing myth about how it reported the Titanic disaster.

According to urban legend, the Aberdeen-based Press and Journal covered the 1912 shipping catastrophe with the headline:  “North-East man lost at sea.”

The DC Thomson-owned P&J decided to set the record straight in its final broadsheet edition on Friday before this week’s tabloid relaunch.

It reprinted its inside news page from Tuesday, April 18, 1912  – the front page in those days was fully taken out with advertisements – which revealed the actual headline was: ‘Mid-Atlantic Disaster’, with two sub-headings – ‘Titanic sunk by iceberg’ and ‘1683 lives lost; 675 saved’.

Said editor Damian Bates:  “We can reveal, at last, that the P&J  never reported ‘North-east man lost at sea’ in relation to the Titanic disaster.

“It’s an apocryphal yarn that sounds funny but, alas, isn’t true.”

Damian added: “As a regional newspaper, reporters did what they continue to do today; they sought to find a local link to what was the biggest international story of its day.

“And by day two –on April 17 – the P&J discovered a passenger from Boddam had been aboard the doomed vessel as well as an engineer from Torry among the Titanic’s crew-members.”

The P&J, which sells around 71,000 copies daily, is switching to the new compact size for six days a week from tomorrow in response to demand from readers for a more manageable size of newspaper.

It had already adopted the new format for its Monday and Saturday editions.


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  • January 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Hmmmm… interesting one this. If I’m not mistaken just about every weekly paper claims to have been the one that published the ‘man lost at sea’ story. It was certainly doing the rounds when I worked at Accrington Observer many moons ago. Urban myth ahoy!

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