Deedes' original scoop

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Deedes' original scoop

Postby Guest » August 19th, 2007, 1:02 pm

In the UK, there have been many tributes to veteran journalist, WF Deedes who passed away this week aged 94.

Boot, the main character in Evelyn Waugh's satirical novel, Scoop (1938), was supposedly based on Deedes.

In 1997, Deedes travelled alongside Lady Diana in her campaign against land mines.
(Apparently, Deedes was the only journalist formally invited to Diana's funeral.)

As a novice reporter, in the Depression, how did Deedes gain his first scoop?
From Jasper Maskelyne.

Memories of 1931 and a world we have lost
By WF Deedes
Bliss it was in the summer of 1931 to have a job - any job; for the number of unemployed had climbed to 271 million.
But to be a newspaper reporter was very heaven!
The world was in turmoil. Within days of my joining the Morning Post, Britain faced bankruptcy, Ramsay MacDonalds Labour government fell, and an all-party coalition under pressure from King George V was cobbled together to deliver us.

Go and watch the crowds in Downing Street, they told me. Dont write anything, old boy, just useful experience.

So it was. I had never reported anything in my life. Why was I there? The Morning Post, feeling its age, had decided to recruit a few young reporters.

I was among them. It was three days before I got anything into the paper.

Late one evening, the deputy news editor handed me a small newspaper item reporting that the Indian Rope Trick had been performed at Cheltenham before the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

He instructed me to ring Jasper Maskelyne, the well-known conjuror and discuss it.

I trembled at the thought of inviting such a celebrity to talk to me but he was happy to explain at length why the trick was a myth.

My story appeared. I was in.

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