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Rooney Scholes and an egg – a lesson in media sharing

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What’s been the biggest story of the week? Ukraine? The Pulitzer Prize? If you’re in Manchester, it’s been the sorry story of little Rooney Scholes from Rochdale, the three-year-old who couldn’t have his first name on a Thornton’s Easter egg due to ‘copyright reasons’.

And how the story has played out is a fascinating snapshot of the ever-changing media landscape.

It was the Manchester Evening News who got the story and – in keeping with their policy – broke it digital first on twitter and Facebook in the early hours of Monday morning.

A version of the story ran in the print edition too and by Monday lunchtime, it was the top story on the MEN website, where they had also added a short video (sponsored with an ad it’s impossible to click away from or skip) featuring Rooney and his mum.

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By this morning, this cracking (geddit?) tale had been picked up by the national tabloids – the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Metro and Daily Star all running the same story.

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However, The Sun chose to spin the same content in a different way by highlighting the Manchester United connection that runs through this Rochdale family, with Rooney’s brother being called Anderson and the family cats named Cantona and Berbatov. They deemed the egg incident only worthy of the last paragraph of their Page Three lead story.

All of this negative coverage for its over-cautious employee has prompted Thornton’s to issue an apology in the hope of saving some face.

No doubt, with social shares Rooney’s angelic little face will be spread even further in the run-up to Easter weekend and will be fresh content for even more news sites. Watch this space.

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