Brutally honest inspiration from Fleet Street Fox

1 11 2012

Fleet Street Fox is not afraid of brutal honesty, whether it’s written on her blog or Mirror Column.

When she talks to journalism students, Foxy encourages them to consider a career at the tabloids because it is there they learn the skills that will take them on into any job.

Her visit to Brighton Journalist Works left Melita Keily excited at the prospect of her future career as she shares on her blog post Fleet Street Fox:

“A talk  I had been looking forward to for quite some time was the anonymous Fleet Street Fox. Hard hitting and brutally honest, it was a talk that inspired me no end, while at the same time scared the bejesus out of me.

“To be told that you will be called a liar several times a day, have countless doors slammed in your face, be the victim of the odd punch or strangulation, witness suicide, see corpses and become very accustomed to phrases involving the word ‘fuck’ and ‘aunts’ (as autocorect loves to put it) is a lot of information to absorb in 60 minutes.
“Oh, and did you know that when you’re hit by a train at 70mph you’re pretty much vaporised and all that’s left are little fat droplets the size of skittles? Yeah, you might witness that too.
“It was at this point I realised she was not joking when she said some people’s human-inhuman ratio tips over into mental illness. I think it’s clear why.
“But I also heard how writing can take you all over the world. How a 3pm phone call could see you on the next train to Edinburgh, or grabbing your passport and heading for the airport, or being on the front line of ground breaking stories, watching and telling history in the making.
“How you can bring down a government, have the press office for the House of Commons or the spokesperson for the Queen on the phone in a flash.
“How you will know information that you may never be able to publish due to ethical and legal reasons but you will know and more often than not you will have the power to tell. And let’s not forget experimenting with Jaegermeister which seems to be a fundamental journalistic skill.
“People will read your stories, your words, take in the facts that you sourced. And that’s why I’m more excited than ever about the career path laid out before me.
“Now I think I’ll go get some fresh air like Foxy told me.”

 

Advertisements




Flurry of excitement as Fleet Street Fox returns to Brighton Journalist Works

25 09 2012

Fleet Street Fox

Who is Fleet Street Fox?

Journalist, newspaper columnist and blogger Fleet Street Fox is always willing to give her forthright opinion on breaking news and how journalism works.

She shared her colourful stories with students at Brighton Journalist Works in April, and returns to offer her wisdom to the latest intake of NCTJ students on Monday, October 1.

Foxy’s career began at her local newspaper at 18 – from the age of 14 she pestered for work experience and a job  – before moving on to national titles ranging from tabloids to broadsheets.

Students will learn what it’s really like to face complaints, abuse and hear noises no one should ever hear from a soap opera star.

Foxy has a few handy tips on working with a raging hangover and how not to crash a nuclear submarine.

Her blog and Mirror column is a must read for any newshound as she picks apart leading news and controversy.

In a recent column for The Mirror, Foxy lays into the paps who took photographs of the Duchess of Cornwall in a piece titled: Why Kate Middleton Closer topless pictures are a continent apart from Harry’s naked Vegas escapade

“One knew they were being pictured, the other didn’t.

“Harry’s pictures were sold by someone who woke up with a hangover, flicked through their phone and thought ‘wow’. Kate’s were planned, sought, and stolen by a professional.

“But is it worse if your privacy is invaded by a stranger, or someone you’ve got drunk with?”

Writing about Hillsborough disaster on the Fleet Street Fox blog, she used powerful language and the horrific image from the front page of the Mirror published on the Monday after the tragedy.

Commenters commended her for the piece Hooligan (n.): A rough, lawless person.

“The anger I feel cannot be put into words, I was at the other semi final that day.  You put it into words for me. Kudos.”

“This is one of the most powerful pieces of journalism I have ever read.”

When it comes down to it, her fans think Foxy rocks.

Now Brighton Journalist Works students are very excited to hear about a life in journalism from directly from Foxy herself.

Melita Kiely is a an avid reader:

“I’ve been reading Fleet Street Fox’s blog for a while now and I like how incredibly opinionated, descriptive and witty she can be in her writing.

“Reporting for a newspaper leaves little to no room for opinions and it is refreshing and insightful to read about the topical news stories that Fleet Street Fox covers, the stance she takes on them and her reasons for doing so.

“You are definitely left with food for thought after reading her posts.”

Gareth Davies‘ imagination is running wild:

“The anonymity aspect is intriguing and bears a resemblance to ‘the secret footballer’ – if he/she/it is anywhere near as interesting as the secret footballer I’m sure we’re in for a treat.

“I’m anticipating a talk by a woman wearing an elaborate fox mask. I’m also preparing myself for disappointment in that regard.”

Puja Tirwari likes Foxy’s way with words:

“I think Fleet Street Fox has a way of bringing to light current issues in an amusing and unconventional way.

“I love how she weaves her words, starting out indirectly at first and then gradually transitioning into the subject.

“What I anticipate the most are the hilarious pictures at the end of every post.

“Her scope on different issues is refreshing and gives the reader something to ponder about.”

Jamie Walker likes a strong woman:

“I enjoy reading her blogs because I love how opinionated she is, she is very passionate about her work and has a lot of opinions about world events which is important for a journalist.

“Obviously it is difficult to give your opinion as a journalist but that is why her blog is so enjoyable.

“Her opinion is so strong and really makes the reader think about the issues being discussed.”

Student Emily Noszkay described Foxy’s previous visit in the blog post 43 and never been spanked – don’t read this:

“She jumped feet first into the blood-thirsty jaws of Fleet Street and worked her way around several high-profile tabloids. She got married, travelled the world, wrote a book, became a twitter phenomenon, hacked her husband’s phone, heard Denise Welch reach an orgasm and got divorced. Although, not in that order.

“While this was all very entertaining, and provided me with my favourite quote of the year so far: “I hacked my husband’s phone but he was shagging a fat bitch, so that’s ok.”

“The real message we got, although littered with unprintable words, was that the highs of being a journo completely out-weighed the lows.

“Fleet Street Fox told us we would be treated like second class citizens, called liars, have no employee rights,  exposed to sexism and people would never understand why we wanted to do our job.

“If we hadn’t of been too scared to try to leave, a good portion of us probably would have. However her next point made us feel more like we could reach our dreams, albeit with a strong drink.

“We were regaled with stories of deaths, births, scandals, expenses, sex, sex, bad breath, sex, and why we would hate our job most days.

“However, the glimmering hope was that we would not only be witnessing the events that everyone wanted to know about but would be writing that every one would be reading.”

Fleet Street Fox has her own range of t-shirts and mugs. The latest addition is a ‘proud to be a pleb‘ mug.

Proud to be a pleb

                       Stay classy





43 and never been spanked – don’t read this

5 04 2012

Got your attention?

Fleet Street Fox, the now-legendary tabloid reporter came to talk to Brighton Journalist Works students this week and said her most-read blog posts were headlined:  DON’T READ THIS and 43 AND NEVER BEEN SPANKED (about Michael Gove).

Her blog – fleetstreetfox.com – gets 100,000 hits a month, so she’s clearly doing something right.

Students lapped up her tales of tabloid fun. She said: “I’ve been lied to, lied about, travelled the world and wined and dined on someone else’s dime.”

Student Emily Noszkay writes:

“Posh voice but potty mouth. This was one of the first words uttered as Fleet Street Fox’s bushy tail exited the room at Brighton Journalist Works.

Never before had a guest speaker been so highly anticipated and although Esquire’s Jeremy White will continue to be talked about on a regular basis I expect Foxy’s leather skirt and leopard print heels will do the same for her.

Once we were all happy that Fleet Street Fox was not Samantha Brick and was in fact far more “lovely looking” (Brick’s words, not mine.) We were taken on a colourful rollercoaster ride of Foxy’s rise to fame.

Fleet Street Fox had always wanted to be a journo and pestered her local newspaper from the age of 14 until the age of 18 when she got a job. Two years later she was Chief Reporter.

She jumped feet first into the blood-thirsty jaws of Fleet Street and worked her way around several high profile tabloids. She got married, travelled the world, wrote a book, became a twitter phenomenon, hacked her husband’s phone, heard Denise Welch reach an orgasm and got divorced. Although, not in that order.

While this was all very entertaining, and provided me with my favourite quote of the year so far: “I hacked my husband’s phone but he was shagging a fat bitch, so that’s ok.” The real message we got, although littered with unprintable words, was that the highs of being a journo completely out-weighed the lows.

Fleet Street Fox told us we would be treated like second class citizens, called liars, have no employee rights,  exposed to sexism and people would never understand why we wanted to do our job.

If we hadn’t of been too scared to try to leave, a good portion of us probably would have. However her next point made us feel more like we could reach our dreams, albeit with a strong drink.

We were regaled with stories of deaths, births, scandals, expenses, sex, sex, bad breath, sex, and why we would hate our job most days.

However the glimmering hope was that we would not only be witnessing the events that everyone wanted to know about but would be writing that every one would be reading.

The spectacular opportunities that would come our way just by doing what we were passionate about was an opportunity too good to give up. Who knows, maybe we too would find out just how bad Eric Pickles breath really was.

In the words of the great Fleet Street Fox: “Where else would you be paid to down a pint of Jagermeister with jet lag for an experiment and survive.”





Why I’m ashamed to admit I’m a journalist – says BJW lecturer

11 07 2011

John Jenkins, legend of Fleet Street reveals his own murky past and reveals which papers may close next.

When the announcement came that this weekend was to see the last edition of the News of the World I was not surprised but very sad.
The scandalous revelations concerning phone hacking into private telephone conversations was too serious to be ignored.

For the first time in something like 50 years connected with the media I feel ashamed to admit that I am a journalist and I have been a reporter and an executive on both tabloid and broadsheet newspapers.

Why Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International did not resign or was not sacked in the early days of these revelations I cannot understand.

Brooks defence – or Rebekah Wade as she was when editor of the News of the World, was that she didn’t know that it was happening. I find that totally unconvincing.

The News of the World was a weekly paper, it came out once every seven days. There is plenty of time for an editor to find out who is providing stories and where they come from. If she truly didn’t know then she must have been the most incompetent national newspaper editor of all time.

I once worked for a Sunday newspaper – the Sunday Express under the editor John Junor when it sold more than 4 million each day. Junor read every line that went into that paper whether it was written by a lowly reporter, a provincial correspondent, an international news agency or a specially commissioned politician.

He read it in raw copy, on page proofs and on the page. Nothing escaped his eyes. Woe betide anybody who got something wrong or stepped beyond the bounds of decent behaviour. Instant dismissal was a fact of life. He was not a popular man among his staff.

But popularity is not a requisite for a good editor. When he gave an instruction it was certainly not a subject for debate. But his judgement of events and people was legendary.

My first editor, on the Dorset County Chronicle in its heyday was Heber Bruce, a Quaker and a man of great integrity…I was once offered money to keep a court case out of the paper. When I told him he took my copy and elevated it from a two paragraph filler to an inside page lead.

The tragedy of the N o W affair is not that they exposed people like randy footballers and actors – or cheating and lying politicians – but that they stepped into the blameless lives of ordinary people, some beset by grief.

At a stroke this has undone much of the good which newspapers do to preserve our democracy and given politicians a big stick to beat the Press and to step even closer to laws of privacy which will hide their own wrongdoings.

To have seen John Prescott and Max Clifford and Hugh Grant on screen, posing as white knights denouncing newspapers and posing as arbiters of good taste stuck in the craw.

And Fords, Virgin and other advertisers have set a dangerous example in withdrawing their advertising. Does this mean we are now to have newspapers subject to censorship by advertisers?

So if Ford motor company produce a car which a motoring correspondent describes as a bag of nails will they use that s a reason not to advertise?

There is also a great attempt to paint Rupert Murdoch as some kind of ogre who leads poor naïve politicians astray and Labour politicians are quick to say he has Cameron in his pocket.

Press Lords have always courted politicians just as politicians have courted them. He was good old Roop to left wingers when the Sun supported Tony Blair and the Labour Party, having been weaned away from Margaret Thatcher.

But when his newspapers switched allegiance he became a devil with horns.

And it’s often forgotten that while Murdoch’s News International publishes the N o W and the Sun, he also publishes the Times and the Sunday Times.

The fact that the two sober papers sell around 1.5million copies with each publication while the other two were the biggest sellers daily and on Sunday says more about Britain than it does about Murdoch.

It also did not come as a surprise to me to learn that policemen had been paid by the News of the World.

In my days as a reporter in London’s East End I knew that some officers were given a drink by national newspapers – in the jargon of the time that translated into – anything from £25 to £1,000 or a holiday with some excellent shooting.

And in the days before mobile phones it was not unknown for one agency in London to monitor police radios in order to be first on a crime scene.

As far as I was concerned the offer came the other way. A Detective Inspector in the East End offered me money for information which might help his team to feel a few collars. We settled amicably for an arrangement which meant that he gave me useful background while I tipped him off about anything I discovered about crime. It was all done over the odd civilised pint or two. Neither of us ever broke a confidence.

Now you have the ridiculous situation of police spokesmen who give out a statement which is usually too late and useless.

Conversely we now have police officers hogging the cameras at the end of a court case giving their views on the crime. This may be good for their egos and promotion but I would prefer such reporting to be concentrated on the judge’s remarks.

Now which will be the next newspaper to close? Unfortunately it could be the Observer, which has never been a happy bedfellow of the Guardian. It was always a better newspaper than its daily partner: it rang with authority whether n politics, defence, the arts or sport and it had the guts to support the abolition of hanging before most politicians jumped on the bandwagon.

Recently it has been starved of resources as the Guardian, which once survived on the back of the Manchester Evening News, has found its losses mounting.

It will not be many years – or maybe months – before we have one tabloid newspaper , probably the Sun-Mirror, and one mid range paper: the Mail/Express and one decent quality journal: the Telegraph/Times.

Unfortunately television and radio will not take the place of the missing titles.





Fleet Street legend shares his views on news

11 03 2010

John Jenkins, former night editor at the Daily Telegraph, visited the office of Brighton Journalist Works yesterday. Catherine Jones, a student on the course, wrote this account.

It turns out that this fast track journalism course really is intense and I’ve had this week, what I like to call, the 8th week slump. There’s been tears, tantrums, panicking and a general doubt over my journalism ability.

Then, just as I received yet another email turning me down for work experience, John Jenkins arrived to give us a ‘headline masterclass’. But this masterclass was so much more than that, John talked us through his, frankly, legendary career with wit and energy and I could still see the wide eyed, eager, young reporter he once was.

He asked us one by one why we were here and what we had been doing giving us each a unique selling point which most of us would have never realised. From golf writers and property correspondents to autobiographical acting audition features, new doors suddenly opened and John was giving us the confidence to walk through them.

(Read more on Catherine Jones’ blog)