Tom Scott

Camptown News Greasemonkey Script — doo-dah, doo-dah

Warning! This is old. It was last updated in 2008 and may be obsolete, outdated, unsafe or just embarrassing. Treat with caution.

Screenshot of BBC News headline: "Sinclair dreams of 'flying cars'"

Have you ever been reading your favourite online news site, stumbled across a headline with seven syllables, and followed it in your head with doo-dah, doo-dah, in the style of Camptown Races? No? Really? Well, I have.

And now you can too, with the Camptown News!

Camptown News is also available via Twitter: follow @CamptownNews!

What it does

Camptown News reads every headline each time you visit BBC News or CNN. If the headline seems to have seven syllables, then it gets doo-dah, doo-dah added after it. Simple!

  • Maryland jail death questioned – doo-dah, doo-dah
  • Child food 'poor' at attractions – doo-dah, doo-dah
  • Busy Moms: Staying Afloat – doo-dah, doo-dah


This is a Greasemonkey script: click here to install it. Once it's installed, visit BBC News or CNN.

Warning: This makes no distinction between fun, light-hearted news stories and horrific tragedies. If there's a terrible event and CNN happens to write a seven-syllable breaking news headline, this will (and, on occasion, has) put "doo-dah, doo-dah" after it. Also, it may make reading headlines about Barack Obama a slightly uncomfortable experience.

What's that?

If you don't know about Greasemonkey, then Wikipedia has a far better explanation than I could ever write. Basically: it's a Firefox extension that helps make sites easier – like adding download links to YouTube, look up products in other retailers, or remove all external Facebook applications. You can download it here. Or you could just enjoy these lovely screenshots:


Cherie's crime fears for children - doo-dah, doo-dah

Cherie's crime fears for children - doo-dah, doo-dah

Cherie's crime fears for children - doo-dah, doo-dah

Email comments!

I'd love to know what you think. Email me!


Camptown News is released under the GPL and includes code from Dive Into Greasemonkey by Mark Pilgrim.

A few limitations: English is a very irregular language, and Camptown News uses only a simple syllable-detection algorithm. Foreign words and proper names may sometimes confuse it. If you can write a better JavaScript algorithm, let me know and I'll add it in!

I'll add other news sites when I get the time. Again - if you can write XPath that detects headline links for another site, send it to me and I'll give you credit!