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Hack: Sex, Drugs, and Scandal from Inside the Tabloid Jungle Mass Market Paperback – 10 May 2012

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849838771
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849838771
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 0.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 819,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Graham Johnson is a best-selling author and investigative journalist who has contributed to a variety of publications including News of the World, Sunday Mirror, The Observer, Vice, The Guardian and Liverpool Echo. Johnson is also an award-winning documentary maker. He often publishes crime stories under several different bylines. He is also a media personality, frequently appearing on Sky and BBC as a crime pundit and reporter. He has also made documentaries for Sky, Panorama and Germany's ARD. For Vice, Johnson has produced three documentaries: Fraud and The Debt Collector which are based on his own investigations. The Debt Collector was based on his books The Cartel and Young Blood. He also produced Bare Knuckle for Vice. He worked at the Sunday Mirror from 1997 to 2005 and for six years was the newspaper's Investigations Editor. He has been a finalist for "Reporter of the Year" three times and been described in parliament as an "investigative reporter supreme". Johnson has covered stories including drug dealing in Britain, people smuggling in Europe, child slavery in India and Pakistan, and war in the Balkans. To research his debut novel, Johnson spent several years on and off embedded with some of Britain's most notorious gangs. He currently lives in London. His books have been published by Mainstream Publishing and Simon and Schuster and his literary agent is Jon Elek at AP Watt.

Bibliography[edit]
Non-fiction (true crime)

Powder Wars (2004)
Druglord (2005)
Football and Gangsters (2006)
The Devil (2007)
Darkness Descending (2009)
Hack (2012)
The Cartel (2012)
Young Blood (2013)
Novels

Soljas (2010)
Gang War (2011)

Product Description

Review

'A timely exposé ... A compelling read' --Shortlist

About the Author

Graham Johnson is an investigative journalist and author of the highly acclaimed true crime titles Druglord and Powder Wars (both published by Mainstream).

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matt Nixson on 26 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't be put off by the headline of my review, this is a truly sensational book but - unlike author and self-proclaimed former 'tabloid terrorist' Graham Johnson - I'm not in the business of hype! Johnson writes engagingly and openly about his trade, sometimes with jaw-dropping honesty. Hack specifically details his time at the News of the World and, later, at the Sunday Mirror, and some of his admissions are genuinely astonishing - revealing the subterfuge, chicanery and, on occasions, sheer fabrication carried out by newspapers in the bad old days of Fleet Street. Some of his tabloid tales made me laugh out loud on the Tube, drawing strange glances from fellow travellers. Others made me mentally hold my head in my hands. Needless to say, this book is no hagiography, or rose-tinted, nostalgia-inducing memoir. Indeed, I suspect some hacks might well chide Johnson for lifting the lid on the dark arts behind the headlines. In the current climate of crackdown, amid 6am police raids on journalists and general ill-will towards the tabloids, he's certainly a brave man to do so. I've no doubt some of his former colleagues are languishing on police bail for far less, though I should make clear, as Johnson does, that he did not get mixed up in the bête noir that is phone hacking and the events of this book mostly pre-date the period now under scrutiny. What is clear is that Johnson was an exceptional reporter, albeit one who buckled under the pressure, falling into some pretty questionable behaviour. I don't believe he is an every-journalist in any sense. I have always thought newspapers were a bit like sausages; no matter how tasty, you really don't want to see what goes into making them. Having said that, this is a brilliant, thought-provoking read and I'd heartily recommend it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rob Griffin on 22 Jan. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first started out in journalism some 20 years ago, I had this notion that the role of a reporter was giving a voice to those that couldn't defend themselves (these were pre blog and Facebook days, remember) and I have always vociferously defended my trade against attacks by those who love to criticise newspapers and magazines.

The first half of Hack, the biographical tome by ex News of the World and Sunday Mirror reporter Graham Johnson, however, made me challenge everything I believed about journalism and left me feeling thoroughly depressed. Call me naive but I was stunned by the casual way that Johnson - who has since repented his sins after finding philosophy - recounted how he completely made up numerous stories. And by made up I mean really made up, to the extent of getting his mates to pose as drug dealers in photos that were published in the paper. Then there was his desire to turn over people who, at best, were low level chancers and Del Boys rather than proper, grown-up criminals.

Now there's no doubt that Johnson was a very capable reporter when he could be bothered and the latter stages of the book chart his rebirth at the Sunday Mirror and his eventual path away from the hotbed of tabloid journalism. It all makes for a fascinating insight into the way national newspapers work, the prejudices that are inherent on news desks, the insular black-and-white nature of tabloids generally, and the giant egos that stalk so many newsrooms.

Rob Griffin
[...]
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Format: Kindle Edition
If you ever consider a career in journalism this is most definitely not the book for you. But if you ever doubted that the News of the World deserved to be closed down read this and have a rethink.

Graham Johnson paints a sordid picture of the machinations of the tabloid press. Blackmail and skulduggery abounded as his ambitious climb was fuelled by lies, fiction and fakery. Refreshingly, Johnson does not try to paint himself as some kind of white knight fighting the hordes of journalistic miscreants. Rather he represented the archetypal gutter press and he intended to become king of the sewer.

His Bodmin Beast con takes up a disproportionate amount of the book but as it was this that caused his fall from grace it’s understandable. A certain level of bitterness comes through his writing, as does a tendency to blame others; a bit like an alcoholic blaming a supermarket for selling booze.

Towards the end you hope there will be a renaissance for an obviously talented journalist, after all he did make it to the top of his profession. Don’t hold your breath. His ‘realisation’ and embracing of philosophy is hardly road to Damascus material and, like a reformed smoker, it’s easy to imagine Johnson being drawn back in for ‘one last drag’ on the nicotine of the tabloid ego trip.

As the tabloid press emerges from its darkest days Johnson offers an insight into how the Fourth Estate wallowed in a pit of corruption and filth of its own making.

My only complaint? By his own admission Johnson lied without conscience, cheated without consideration and manipulated for benefit. All of which leads to the uncomfortable question – can you believe everything in Hack? Against a well-documented backdrop of chequebook journalism, hacking trials and famous fakes decide for yourself. ;-)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Why Daily Mail's Ephraim Hardcastle dismisses Johnson's work as if he were an angsty teenager kicking back at NoW is beyond me. Johnson is doing his job; reporting who, what, where, when, why and how it was all done. And one aspect of that job, a demand from the top, was to fabricate stories, to play the game. Reprehensible but those that didn't produce the goods were down the road. He's come clean and explained all, rather like a turned spy. I for one prefer to be aware of how the world works than blunder along in the dark.
Johnson started out the hard way on the Bosnian frontline and has rubbed shoulders with hardcore villains and activists ever since. I first met Johnson at a tasty demo in London. Out on the street under the police helicopters which is where reporters ought to be, not regurgitating press releases or drooling over celebs and wags.
Where was the faceless journo behind the Hardcastle column during the last riots? Moping about a Surrey golf course? This book sheds light on the darker methods of producing newspapers (as opposed to news gathering) in such detail and with such self-destructive candour that I find it astonishing; it's an open confession from a man who served Murdoch. Politicians, judges and news chiefs are the cast list of Leveson. This is a worms-eye view from one of the elite ground troops of the gutter press. You'll never read a paper the same way again. Some very funny moments too.
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