Monday, 18 October 2010

A Handy Hint For When The Blogging Muse Fails You

Sometimes it’s hard to find an interesting subject to post, particularly if you’ve been at it for a year or more, as I have. Going over old ground will only serve once or twice  -  readers change and if they haven’t been with you for long, they probably won’t know warmed-up fare from freshly concocted dishes.

There is one way to make sure the news is always sensational: invent it!

Decades ago there was a free-lance journalist working for any London newspaper which would buy his stories; Beloved knew him when he was a young man; the two of them collaborated on a long forgotten piece of film, for which Beloved wrote the score.

One day Eric asked “Did you ever see the piece about Margaret Truman singing at Covent Garden in the press? I wrote it.”

Beloved, who was already employed at the Royal Opera, couldn’t believe his ears. Margaret Truman was a singer? Surely not.

“Well” Eric said, “I needed a story, so I rang the White House, giving the name of The Times Of London, got through to the Press Office and asked them, if they could they please confirm the rumour that Margaret Truman was to appear on  stage at Covent Garden as a singer.”

“As there had never been such a rumour, naturally, they denied it,” Eric added, "which made the piece ‘White House denies rumour that the President’s daughter is to appear at Covent Garden’ the absolute truth”.

If you didn’t already, now you know how it’s done.


  1. No wonder we don't trust the media...

  2. I know several people who are past masters at twisting things like this - maybe they should all become journalists....

  3. the best stuff in newspapers is fiction! steven

  4. Marcia Mayo denies the rumors that she's had work done.

    Like anyone would believe it anyway.

  5. well if you want to tell a lie tell a big one!

  6. So that is how they do it?
    Actually, Margaret did attempt a singing career. She had an undistinguished operatic career before finding her legs as a mystery writer.

  7. Filing that one away.......never know when it will come in handy!

  8. I'm surprised he would actually make the phone call. "No comment from the White House" would have been equally true. Thanks for the morning smile. :)

  9. Always tempting to invent something sensational. Interesting semantics at work here.

  10. haha....groan...i wonder how much of the swarm the news slings is bunk....or at least twisted to keep us confused...

  11. When I was writing a column for a West Country Sunday, my editor mentioned, casually, that he intended to run something under the heading, 'Breakfast Presenters Deny Affair'. Being a bit 'green', I asked how he found out about the affair. His reply? "What affair?"

    Later, the same editor offered me a start with a new national Sunday tabloid. My circumstances at the time, made it impossible for me to take him up on his offer. As it happens, a true blessing.

  12. OMG...this is the strategy they are using with the political ads now. Except it is more of the questioning variety...i.e. is the rumor true? Are you sure it is not?

  13. Ah yes, I well remember the fuss about Margret singing while dad played the piano. Quite surprisig how so many people blew that one right out of proportion. My school chum's dad was a reporter(slash)journalist. I was an aspiring photographer. I did learn a little how they would steer the person being interviewed into places they did not want to go. It was pretty discouraging. ATB!

  14. Let the reader be aware! Read astutely.

  15. Great fun, and wonderful anecdote.
    Eye witnesses are the worst reporters
    since they only remember what they
    perceived within their life experience
    and perceptual apparatus. So the news
    can be something nurtured by William
    Randolph Hearst, looking for the
    sensational, and end up in the tabloids
    in super market check out stands;
    Angelina Jolie adopts alien baby!
    Course the alien child is from Korea.

  16. auch wenn man etwas erfindet, kann es der Wahrheit doch sehr nahe sein, und doch um so interessanter. Es ist das Ausser-Gewöhnliche, das einen wirklich berührt oder nicht?!
    Grüsse von
    (verfolge alles hier, auch wenn ich nicht oft kommentiere :-)!)

  17. Another thing for me to learn Friko! Great stuff!

  18. Relatives offer 'no comment' when asked about Wisewebwoman's two heads.

    Easy see? anyone can do it.

    Thanks for the lesson, Friko!


  19. Very, very funny--and of course I am dying to know what the film was for which your Beloved composed a score.

    We are also honored indeed that you've chosen to follow RA. Thank you!

  20. Thanks Friko, I have often wondered how it can be possible to keep a blog going ;-)

  21. Since my blog is about my trips and recollections I won’t be finished for quite a while – I am going on many trips and as for my recollections I stopped at my mother’s youth, so I still have to go through her wedding, the war, my youth and all the rest of the story – many long boring posts to come!
    As for telling non news politicians around here are good at that, they will tell about their adversaries “I certainly don’t believe in the rumor that my opponent, Mr. x, has been beating his wife” or things like that.

  22. That's exactly what I did for my journalism class years ago, only did not quote anyone... just did more of an editorial piece that was made up.

    Thanks for the pointers. You advice is always welcome!

    Thank you also for stopping by my magpie... and for the compliment.

  23. As for blogs, who believes them, anyway?

  24. Clever post! I always enjoy reading your blog!

  25. It's not exactly the same, but it reminds me of a story Spike Milligan once told about a group of employees who sent an anonymous letter to their boss as an April Fool joke just stating "Everything is known". The boss resign immediately and disappeared. Of course that may or may not be true, you'll have to believe both Spike Milligan and me on that.

  26. I believe that is how most of the news is concocted these days. Fiction, pure fiction.

  27. Cool! Now I know what to do when I'm stuck. I really enjoyed this.


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