Contacts deliver exclusive picture

Local contacts paid off for the Birmingham Mail by bagging the paper
exclusive pictures of the baby twins found dumped at a Birmingham
hospital, despite reported five-figure sums offered by the nationals.

The
Mail was tipped off by contacts at the hospital and beat the Fleet
Street pack to the shots of the babies, named Holly and Joseph by
nurses.

The Sun splashed the next day with a picture of the box the babies were found in.

Early indications showed that sales were boosted by around 4 per cent following the front-page story.

Only
the week before, editor Steve Dyson was at the Heartlands Hospital’s
staff recognition awards, sponsoring the patient carer category and
publishing a full list of the winners in the paper.

He said: “As
soon as I heard rumours of a bidding war for the pictures I smiled,
because the nationals weren’t using the same currency as the Birmingham
Mail.

“They could have offered £10,000 or more, but what they
couldn’t show was regular stories celebrating the success of
hard-working staff at the hospital, fairness and balance with even the
most controversial issues, and personal contacts throughout the
hospital.”

The exclusive was secured with the help of health
reporter Alison Dayani, who has strong links with the hospital, and
education correspondent Tony Collins, who explained the need for the
paper to help trace the twins’ mother.

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