Sophie Huskisson

Daily Mail

In my first week working on general news, I brought in an exclusive on the scandal-hit MP David Warburton. Claims of sexual harassment and drug use surfaced against him the previous day, along with the infamous photos of him posing next to lines of what appeared to be cocaine.

No other newspaper managed to move the story along the next day but I managed to acquire an interview with his wife’s brother, on his doorstep, which confirmed that she was standing by him. The quotes made the story entirely fresh and it ended up being featured on the front page. It was testament to my social and communication skills; how I was able to empathise and engage with a source to get them talking about a sensitive topic. It is unusual for a trainee reporter to be allocated to a campaign on the newspaper but I was determined to make myself indispensable to the Mail’s ‘Fix the HRT Crisis’ campaign. I relentlessly worked on producing new and exciting stories for it. One example was an exclusive on women flocking to private clinics to try to get HRT to ease their menopausal symptoms, which was accompanied by a case study. The campaign played a crucial role in seeing the Government grant pharmacists the power to prescribe alternatives to out-of-stock treatment, something that was demanded in our manifesto. Being a great journalist is not only being able to break stories or find exclusives, it is reacting to daily on-diary news too. Having been a health reporter for only a few weeks, I took the helm of the section over the summer on many occasions when others were on annual leave. This example is a front page on the dismal situation of NHS waiting times. Writing a splash required pulling together context from as many stories as possible, such as, in this instance, the Tory leadership race, the national insurance hike and inflation. It required political reaction, as well as from NHS stakeholders and the public. It required the accuracy, urgency and excitement from a young journalist willing to take on a challenge that once seemed out of her reach but is now the reality of what she can achieve.