The race for exclusives and scoops is of more interest to hacks and bloggers than it is to the readers and viewers. News distributors take great pride in being first with the scoop. Guido is no different in this respect from Channel 4 News, and boasting emails like this from newsrooms are not uncommon:
from: Laurent, Fiona <@itn.co.uk>
date: Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 7:12 PM~
subject: C4 NEWS EXCLSV: DEFENCE AIDE RESIGNS – ERIC JOYCE’S LETTER TO BROWN
Embargoed until 19.30 hrs on 3rd September 2009
*LEAD STORY* LEAD STORY* LEAD STORY
CREDIT CHANNEL 4 NEWS WITH ALL MATERIAL USED CHANNEL 4 NEWS EXCLUSIVE:
PARLIAMENTARY AIDE TO THE DEFENCE SECRETARY RESIGNS
Sure enough the lead story on C4 News at 7pm had been Eric Joyce resigning. Was it really an exclusive? Co-conspirators will note that at 6.27pm Guido reported a rumour that a PPS was resigning, just after that Guido publicly tweeted @EricJoyce to badger him to answer the phone – he hadn’t been answering his mobile for hours – (the Twitterati picked up the hint). At 6.46pm Guido named Eric Joyce after a co-conspirator emailed some corroborative information on the back of the 6.27 pm teaser.
Cathy Newman confirmed the story and lead with the contents of the resignation letter at 7.01 on C4 News, she apparently had got the story the night before. Guido heard the story late yesterday afternoon, as Cathy tweeted after her broadcast “So hard to keep a secret in Westminster. Somehow the mod got wind of our Eric Joyce scoop mid afternoon. Hmm.”
Cathy undoubtedly had the resignation letter first, nevertheless the first news source to put Joyce’s resignation into the public domain was this blog, as PoliticsHome’s “as it happens” newswire confirms. You snooze, you lose…
UPDATE : Remember Dizzy’s story which became a “C4 News Exclusive” the next day?