You could make it up….
Many years ago, I worked at what many would call a tabloid newspaper, though we thought ourselves rather better than the ‘ Gutter Press ‘. One of the plum jobs was that of royal reporter and was held for a while by a woman, who for consistency’s sake I shall call Nigella. She loved the life of a royal hanger-onner. After all, in those days papers seemed to have money to burn for trips and the Royals were always big news. It was a job with glamour, travel, expenses and guaranteed picture bylines. Of course, you had to put the work in.
After a particularly arduous trip to the Alpine ski slopes following a royal who was then constantly on the headlines, Nigella swanned around the office – her tan augmented by the glow that a journalist gets when taken out to lunch by a grateful Editor. She had excelled herself this time, getting all sorts of details that had really brought her stories alive. At the time, the Royals were under constant scrutiny over their lavish lifestyle and spending. Nigella had discovered various costs – £600 for a ski suit, £300 for ski boots, top of the range skis and luxury, branded goggles worth £400. She even had the details from some of the restaurant visits. She had scooped all her fellow royal reporters and her stories had deservedly carried the tag – ‘Exclusive!’. Her stories had been credited with the small, but significant lift in circulation and the letters page had been inundated.
Her afternoon should have been a simple continuation of the fairy tale. However, the fly in her ointment came in the form of a celebrity magazine of the ‘ Hello’ type. It seemed that they too had sent a reporter. As she browsed the Royal ski trip, she realised that their information mirrored hers in every detail. They had lifted her copy almost word for word and she was outraged by their blatant plagiarism.
“It’s so out of order – so unprofessional. I can’t believe their cheek. I should send them a bloody invoice…..”
“But,” I said, “Surely they could just have got the information from the same place you did. They have a longer lead time, so they could have checked in the shops and restaurants, like you?”
She stared at me, astonished at my simple mindedness.
” I can’t see how they could have done that. I made it all up.”