It isn’t that journalism is particularly difficult – one look at Piers Morgan will prove that any fool can do it – but it nonetheless requires a level of braggadocio and bluster that would make even Donald Trump blush.
It is possible to bluff one’s way through discussions on wine, or Brexit, or even the offside rule, with a little knowledge and a bit of brass neck. But anyone who attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of a journalist will be attempting The Greatest Bluff Known To Humankind, because journalists can smell a lie from 500 miles away down a patchy telephone line, while drunk and at closing time. To pull it off, you will need the native cunning of Machiavelli, the coolness of Dean Martin and the same total lack of scruples as Del Boy Trotter. You will also need this book.
DO SAY ‘A journalist is a reporter out of a job’ – Mark Twain
DON’T SAY ‘Trust me. Have you ever known a journalist not honour an “off the record” agreement, invade someone’s privacy, not protect a source, make up a quote . . . ?’
Author: Susie Boniface is a well-known writer and journalist who used to write an anonymous blog under the pseudonym Fleet Street Fox. She still does, but it’s no longer quite so anonymous since she decided to out herself as a national newspaper reporter and media commentator. She has survived working in most places in Fleet Street as both staff and freelance - news agencies, broadsheets, tabloids, daily and Sunday papers. So far she has never been successfully sued, although many have tried. Recently she wrote a book ‘The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox’, about the sex and scandals the newspapers don’t report, and how to fix a broken heart. It was described by leading broadcaster Jeremy Vine as 'The first book I've read that starts at 90mph and speeds up'. In her spare time she lectures in journalism at several universities, and tries unsuccessfully to curb her weakness for Jaffa cakes. She’s a big fan of Bluffer’s Guides ‘because they usually turn out to be right.’