Journalistic humiliation is not just the preserve of workies

We’ve had work experience students who have been asked to shop in Tesco on a bicycle and topless.

Now former Daily Mirror deputy managing editor John Honeywell gets in touch to say that it’s not just workies who get to experience the muddy end of the journalistic stick.

Over to you John:

Back in the 1970s, I was a reporter on the Sheffield Star – complete with NCTJ qualifications obtained during my three previous years on my home-town weekly – when news editor David Mastin discovered the local Austin Reed was about to start stocking tights for men.

I was sent to road-test them on Sheffield High Street, with a photographer in tow to snap the shocked reactions of the Steel City shoppers.

The fact that the tights were intended to be worn UNDER a pair of trousers, in the same way as a pair of long johns, had escaped the news editor, and was conveniently ignored by the monkey.

So yours truly shivered in the spring chill wearing a pair of PURPLE tights, and a fetching cable-knit jumper, also courtesy Austin Reed.

And that was it, apart from a pair of shoes. No trousers. No coat.

Just a man in tights.

It could have been a colourful episode from my career dispatched to a dusty corner of memory but for one thing. I made the mistake of mentioning it to a colleague shortly before leaving the Mirror last October, and managing editor Eugene Duffy called on the investigative skills of a team of reporters . . . well, Andrew Penman . . . to track down a copy of the picture.

I suppose it’s as much a tribute to the picture desk of the Sheffield Star as it is to Penman’s tenacity that a picture was obtained, and used on the brace of Page Ones presented at my leaving do.

Most embarrassing, but a lesson to all those work experience kids, and to the dozens of Mirror trainees who turned up to see me off.

John is now a freelance travel journalist going under the title Captain Greybeard). See his Daily Mirror blog here.

Send in your tales of journalistic humiliation to dominicp@pressgazette.co.uk.

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