Six days a week, millions of people read The Sun newspaper in the UK. Probably millions more read parts of the newspaper via their website. It's the biggest selling daily newspaper in the UK.
They have a showbiz section entitled 'Bizarre'. It has been running for years, and had several 'owners' - by that I mean people who pass everything in the section off as their own work and get their name above the title.
At the moment it is 'Victoria Newton's Bizarre' (and yes, she is.) She can also claim the title "Showbiz Reporter of the Year" after winning said title in 2006 at the British Press Awards.
She does frequently get interviews with major stars. As I said, it's the biggest selling newspaper, so the celebs know it does them some good. She does get to go to a lot of events, awards, concerts, usually with backstage access (we know because there are at least three pictures a week of her standing with a perspiring actor or musician against a curtain). If reports are to be believed she isn't, however, particularly popular. She is tolerated because of who she works for and the publicity she can bring.
So what's the problem? Well, simply that there are so many mistakes in her column. From basic facts to downright lies. And if you are (allegedly) earning £150,000 per year, having more people reading your column than any other newspaper showbiz column in the country, and winning awards then I feel you really should be getting things right.
Taking credit for other people's work is also an issue at times. Usually whenever a photo taken by a random paparazzi photographer appears, he or she becomes "my snapper" - suggesting this is Ms Newton's personal photographer taking pictures JUST for her column, when the fact is that any publication could have had these pictures at the right price.
Another common feature is the use of the words "I can exclusively reveal" which more often than not truly mean "I have received a press release" or "I have read this on the internet". In addition you may also see "I have had the first listen to...*insert name of artist and their forthcoming album/single*" which is rarely true - more often than not this can be translated as "I sat in a room with 50 other journalists and listened to".
Private Eye once devoted their "Hack Watch" column to Ms Newton, pointing out stories she had run which later turned out to be complete nonsense. (The classic that sticks out in my mind is her 'exclusively revealing' that Madonna's next album would be a rock-driven affair with lots of heavy guitar - this turned out to be 'Confessions On A Dance Floor')
This blog is to point out that sort of thing too, but also to highlight her general mistakes, whenever they occur. It's not every single day, but it's frequent. No, I'm not jealous of her and no, I am not a journalist, nor do I wish to be.
What's the point of it? you may ask, to which I reply "Have you seen the shite people write blogs about?"