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Hack: Sex, Drugs, and Scandal from Inside the Tabloid Jungle
Hack: Sex, Drugs, and Scandal from Inside the Tabloid Jungle
by Graham Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping tale of sex, drugs and kiss 'n tell tabloid journalism, 24 Jun 2013
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From the very first sentences, it's easy to tell why Graham Johnson became a valued predator in the tabloid jungle. His writing is taut and urgent. The sentences short; the stories compelling.

But instead of banging out front pages and 'page leads' about celebs, footballers, criminals and other staple redtop fodder, he has turned out a torrid, page-turning account of his hair-raising, nerve-jangling years as a reporter on the News of the World and later the Sunday Mirror.

It's not edifying stuff, nor for the feint-hearted: he fesses up to making up shock-horror stories, fondling kiss and tell buy ups, drinking heavily, lying, cheating, exaggerating and smearing and generally acting without any scruple in pursuit of the perfect story. Not necessarily an accurate story, but the best story.

What lifts this book from being 'merely' a vacuous albeit eye-popping romp through the redtops is the author's unexpected personal journey, which made him look more deeply at mass media - and life. My only criticism would be that a shaggy fog story about the Beast of Bodmin tops and tails the book in a seemingly contrived way, and I like verbs in almost all of my sentences. Overall, though, Hack is a compelling and highly deserved five stars. I read it, enthralled, in three rapt sessions. Buy it.


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