Chinese fathers like their sons to follow them into their trade. I'm not sure it's wise to encourage my kids to follow in my footsteps. But perhaps I need not worry, considering the low repute in which journalism is held, even by children. The other day, I was at their school and spotted this poster (left) outside a grade-two classroom. It explained why newspapers are important and asked people to urgently donate them. 'The reason why we need newspaper is the SPCA [Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] uses it by the tonne for animals to sleep on, pee and poop on, and for many other reasons.' Spot on, kiddo! We experienced journalists once put our half-literate minds together to produce a daily so wet market operators could wrap fish in it. Now, hygiene standards have improved. Instead, old papers go straight to the cat litter box. In fact, I can always tell the quality of a paper by how long they last after my cats answer the call of nature. They are better judges of newspaper quality than most journalism professors in this town. Some of the city's leading papers have been cutting corners because commodity prices have pushed up print costs. They used to last for days; now we change them once a day. Or perhaps our pets just pee and poop more than usual.