THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Best Scoops
campaignlive.co.uk, Tuesday, 16 December 2003 12:00AM
1. Daily Mirror: Royal footman story
A genuine scoop worked on for months by the Mirror team. Amazingly, the graduate trainee reporter Ryan Parry landed a job as a royal footman after answering an internet ad. In the week of George W Bush's visit, the Mirror exposed the lack of security surrounding the royal family while providing some great pictures and insight into royal life. Tupperware on the Queen's breakfast table caused particular excitement among royal watchers.
2. Daily Mirror: Paul Burrell's story
Burrell's 2003 story captured the public's imagination, sold papers and bolstered Piers Morgan's reputation. His claims that the Earl of Spencer was a lily-livered hypocrite and that Prince Philip urged Diana and Chas to patch up their marriage paled into insignificance compared with his assertion that Diana loved Coronation Street and the Queen took the Racing Post.
3. Daily Telegraph: George Galloway and Saddam
Copious research from the Telegraph reporter David Blair led to a sensational wartime splash implicating the Labour backbencher George Galloway in various links with the Saddam regime. Timing was everything with this story, though Galloway continues to refute its substance and has initiated legal proceedings against the title. The Telegraph intends to defend its story.
4. The Sun: Roasting in the Grosvenor House
Several footballers were alleged to have raped a 17-year-old girl at a hotel on Park Lane. The Sun got hold of the story that the police were interviewing the Premiership stars. All hell broke loose with the tabloids hanging their heads and tutting throughout "football's week of shame". The next week a hanger-on involved described the incident as nothing more than a bit of a consensual group sex, known as "roasting" in football circles.
5. News of the World: Pictures of Ian Huntley in prison
The News of the World journalist David McGee is said to have sneaked into Woodhill prison after using false references to get a job as a prison warder. The paper ran a seven-page exclusive featuring pictures of the Soham murder suspect, Huntley, in his cell. The story touched such a nerve that McGee faces a court case for his alleged deception.
6. The Guardian: Dwain Chambers drug scandal
The Guardian broke the story in October that the British Olympic sprinter Chambers had tested positive for a new variant of anabolic steroid following training sessions in the United States. Chambers denied knowingly taking the drug but faces a ban of two years from competing.
7. The Observer: Memo reveals US dirty tricks campaign
The Observer got hold of a memo detailing an aggressive surveillance operation conducted by the US National Security Agency, which involved interception of the phone calls and e-mails of UN delegates in New York. The operation was mounted as the US fought to win votes in favour of war in Iraq.
8. The Mail on Sunday: David Beckham's transfer to Real Madrid
The Mail on Sunday journalist Joe Melling wrote a story back in April saying that "Goldenballs" was to leave his beloved Manchester United to join the Spanish superteam Real Madrid. Weeks later it emerged that Melling's story was spot on and newspapers raced to dispatch their Beckham correspondents to Madrid.
9. News of the World/The Mail on Sunday: George Best drinking again
Best was caught drinking by the Screws at his local country pub and the paper swiftly dispatched a snapper to capture the image of Best, just months after a liver transplant. Best got a bit angry and lamped the photographer, resulting in a splash in the next day's paper. The Mail on Sunday also got wind of the story and went with an exclusive interview with Best's wife, Alex, saying she felt sorry for the family of the liver donor who had saved the former football star's life.
10. Daily Express: John Leslie's story
Another paid-for exclusive, Richard Desmond reportedly paid the Scottish TV presenter £500,000 for exclusive access to his account of the ordeal of facing charges of indecent assault. The charges against him were subsequently dropped.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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