British journalism’s greatest ever scoops


Following the Daily Telegraph’s historic revelations over MPs’ expenses in 2009 Press Gazette asked its readers to name the best British journalism scoops of all time.

Here we publish it online for the first time. 

If we were to bring the list bang up to date, The Guardian's investigation into phone-hacking at the News of the World (begun in 2011) would have to also be on the list. Any other suggestions are welcome.

From The Times and Tutenkhamen in 1922 to the Daily Express tracking down Ronnie Biggs in Rio in 1974 and the Daily Mirror’s 1978 revelations about Joyce Mckinney and the Manacled Mormon – this list provides an entertaining and inspiring romp through UK journalism history.

The biggest scoop ever?  For the worldwide ramifications, John Rettie’s revelation of Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin for Reuters in 1956 is hard to beat, with the Sunday Times’s revelations about Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal from 1986  perhaps a close second.

In terms of UK significance, in 2009 we decided that the top scoop went to the Telegraph and MPs’ expenses.  Getting the story may have involved a cash transaction, but running with it even though the information was apparently stolen took guts.  And the rigorous way the Telegraph explored all the ramifications of the tale was exemplary.

Update: It's been suggested that the News of the World's exposure of match-fixing involving the Pakistan cricket team from 2010 should be included in the stories which deserve a mention post-2009. It was certainly a story which had massive ramifications for the world of cricket and which dominated the news agenda at the time.

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