The News of the World claimed to be the only Sunday paper to break the news that pop singer Britney Spears married in a Las Vegas wedding chapel, writes Dominic Ponsford.
The newspaper’s Los Angeles correspondent, Carole Aye Maung, pictured, was in Florida working on another story when she heard from a contact that the 22-year-old star had tied the knot.
She called her newsdesk at 11pm on Saturday, knowing the presses would already be running, and faced a race against time to stand the story up in order for it to make the later editions.
After several calls to Nevada and the Little White Wedding Chapel, she managed to obtain a copy of the wedding licence, a public document, and satisfied herself that it did carry Spears’s signature.
Once the licence had been faxed to London, production staff began moving pages. Spears became the lead on the Rav and Polly spread and also featured on the front page as a sidebar.
The Spears exclusive featured in the fourth edition distributed in London.
Aye Maung said: “It is a triumph to produce a spread on a showbiz scoop which breaks when the presses are already running.”
Spears’s wedding to childhood friend Jason Alexander turned out to be one of the shortest showbiz unions in history. It was annulled within 48 hours after the pair said the marriage was a joke caused by too much drink.