The Standards of Daily Mail Journalism

Peter Andre’s fury as Katie Price gives toddler Princess a glamour model style makeover‘ – quotations from Peter Andre: none; mentions of him being ‘furious’ about this from a spokesman: none; advertisements for ‘What Katie Did Next on ITV’: three.

All smiles on American Idol as Ellen DeGeneres and Simon Cowell give no hint of behind-the-scenes row‘ – article introduction: ‘Ellen DeGeneres was said to be furious after Simon Cowell kept her waiting for over an hour on her first day as the new American Idol judge.’

Actual quote from Ellen DeGeneres about ‘row’:

And she commented on their row.

‘Everyone’s making such a big deal about the tension,’ she told Idol presenter Ryan Seacrest on his radio show this week.

‘You know, there’s been a lot of fun on that panel. Kara [DioGuardi]’s been great, and Randy [Jackson]’s been great. And I think it was either Wednesday or Tuesday, Simon was great.’

But it seems the pair are managing to work through their differences, at least for now.

‘I think he’s a funny guy and I think he’s a smart guy,’ she said. ‘I like Simon.

‘He’s going to be a challenge. He’s Simon, and I’m me. We are completely different people.

‘We’ll see how it goes.’

Wow. She sounds furious. American Idol will no doubt be screened on ITV2 shortly. Almost as if the Daily Mail’s churnalism of invented controversies is providing a free advertising service for ITV…

Adrian Chiles could quit The One Show over plans to give Chris Evans his Friday night slot‘ – quotations from Adrian Chiles: none; nameless inside sources at the BBC: at least five, but more are implied by the article; people linked to this possible change: 2 (Chris Evans and Vernon Kay); proper evidence on which a story should be based: none.

This story reminds me of the one the Daily Mail ran back in November, where they claimed Chris Moyles was facing the axe and the BBC had lined up Vernon Kay to replace him. Both stories required two writers and one of the them (Paul Revoir) also co-wrote the Moyles piece. He must be pretty proud of his journalistic output, which seems to consist of making up conversations with BBC ‘insiders’ who just happen to have enough time spare each day to spread rumours to tabloid hacks too lazy to do any real reporting. We cannot completely write off the Chris Moyles sacking though, because Paul was careful to be extremely vague about when Chris Moyles was to be sacked: ‘[his] reign over the airwaves could end next year’.

Two journalists worked on that article and the best timeframe they could provide for the disposal of Moyles was a window of an entire year. More top quality journalism from the UK’s best selling newspaper.

A guide to Daily Mail reporting

Would you like to be able to write for the Daily Mail? Do you dream of being one of the people behind the infamous ‘Daily Mail Reporter’? Well, dream no more, because writing for the Daily Mail is just as easy as you think it would be! Take this article for example: ‘Chris Moyles facing axe from Radio 1 breakfast show… and could be replaced by his pal Vernon Kay’. Wow, what a story you might think, the self-styled saviour of Radio 1 Chris Moyles (pronounced ‘talentless twat’) could be ‘axed’ by the BBC and replaced by one of his friends. You may think that such a story might be boyond you – would you have such good sources, and would you have the manpower to write it – the article did require two Mail journalists – Sara Nathan and Paul Revoir.

Well, fret not, because you could invent such an article in your very own living room – all you need is a PC or laptop, the ability to type reasonably coherent sentences and knowledge of a few tricks of the trade.

First of all, you’re going to need an introduction that makes you sound in the know; something like:

Chris Moyles’ reign over the airwaves could end next year in the face of plummeting listeners, the Daily Mail has learnt.

This makes it sound as if you’ve actually heard your story from a source – that you haven’t just made it up. Next up you need to tease your readers with what it is that you have ‘learnt’:

The loud-mouth DJ, who lures seven million listeners to the Radio 1 breakfast show every week, is said to be poised to leave his show in July, when his one-year £494,000 deal comes up for renewal.

Television presenter Vernon Kay, who hosts All Star Family Fortunes for ITV as well as fronting his own Radio 1 show on Saturday, is now seen as the favourite to replace Moyles, 35, who has courted controversy throughout his five-year stint on the breakfast show.

Remember the importance of never stating that something is true, always use phrases like ‘is said’, ‘is now seen’ etc because these imply that it is a third-party suggesting these things and you are merely repeating them – it adds an air of credibility to whatever it is that you’re making up. Once you’ve established the gist of your scoop you need to pad it out with ‘sources’ – people you invent to back up your story, you never need to reveal them, so don’t worry about making them up- every tabloid journalist does this:

Mr Kay’s agents are already believed to have been approached and a BBC source said: ‘Vernon is extremely popular and the radio bosses love him, no formal offer has been put in yet – there’s still seven months left on Moyles’ deal after all – but he is definitely in the frame.’

Another senior BBC radio source said: ‘Moyles is still the saviour of Radio One, but he will go sooner rather than later.

‘But it works both ways, he only signed a one-year extension deal as he didn’t want to be tied down, he wanted the freedom to move on.’

See, it isn’t difficult, just remember to use phrases that imply you are merely repeating stuff you’ve heard on the grapevine, not making stuff up; like ‘believed’ is a great one to use in any situation – here it is used to invent the idea that Vernon Kay’s agents have been approached by the BBC. To make the BBC approach seem genuine you just need to invent a BBC source – make sure whatever you have made up is put into inverted commas though, because you want the reader to know that the ‘source’ said it, not you.

Already you’ve got a pretty convincing story, you’ve got two ‘sources’ and dragged his agents into the frame, how could anyone not believe the veracity of your scoop now?

Remember though, that this is the Daily Mail so you’ll have to add some filler about ‘controversy’ because Chris Moyles is fat and offensive and just the sort of person the Daily Mail dislikes. Once this is done you can celebrate your very own scoop and enter the ranks of tabloid journalist! Hurrah for you!

However, do not under any circumstances make the same mistake as the two clowns who have written this article though, otherwise you will be laughed at. Do not EVER end your article – like they have – with something like this:

Last night, a Radio 1 spokeswoman insisted no plans had yet been made for Moyles’ departure, nor his replacement, saying: ‘There is absolutely no truth in this.’

That’ll just confirm to your readers that you have just totally invented the whole story. You’d look like a right dickhead (or in this case, a right pair of dickheads).