Press Gazette launches search for biggest scoops ever

Writing in the new issue of Press Gazette (out this week) parliamentary correspondent David Rose describes the Telegraph MPs expenses story as the biggest scoop he can remember – and after 41 years reporting on politics that’s saying something.

With 13 MPs, including the Speaker of the House of Commons, all having fallen on their swords (so far) the political fallout has been massive. And the opinion polls suggest it is a story which has resulted in a major shift in the way the public views the mainstream political parties.

But is it the biggest Fleet Street scoop ever?

For the July edition of Press Gazette we are putting together a list of the biggest British journalism scoops of the modern era. The Telegraph is sure to feature on it, but what other great scoops deserve recognition?

I’ve already put a tweet out to Press Gazette’s 3,416 Twitter followers and had a couple of interesting nominations: The Times’ 1922 exclusive on the discovery of Tutankamen’s tomb and BBC journalist John Simpson’s report on the 1982 massacre of Palestinians in the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon by Christian militiamen.

Scoops of the year from the British Press Awards which might make it on to the final list could include the Daily Mirror’s “Intruder at the Palace” revelations, from 2004, in which Ryan Parry went undercover as a royal footmen and revealed the Queen’s penchant for tupperware and Radio Two.

Tom Newton-Dunn’s revelation of a video showing US pilots killing a British soldier in a “friendly fire” incident from 2008 is another strong contender from recent years.

A more controversial nominee for our all-time best scoops list would be former BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan’s 2003 report on the “dodgy dossier” on weapons of mass desttruction in Iraq. The Hutton report showed that some of Gilligan’s methods may have been flawed – but many argue that the essential point of his story, that the dossier was “sexed up”, was correct.

Going a little further back, the Daily Star’s revelation in 1987 that Jeffrey Archer slept with prostitute Monica Coghlan is another classic scoop. Archer successfully sued for libel at the time, but later went to jail for perjury over the affair.

To nominate your favourite scoops email me – dominicp@pressgazette.co.uk.

If you want to nominate more than one can you please put them in order of preference and if possible, give a few words explaining what is so good about your favourite.

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