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They dug for victory

Tue 2009-Jun-23 @ +08 00:49:34 am

<!–(private note: Have you been following any of this, PK?)–>

The Telegraph didn’t just get its scoop handed to them on a hard disk platter. They had to work for it.

How the Telegraph dug for victory
Those oceans of Westminster black ink make a point far beyond dodgy expenses.They show us, decisively, why free reporting — alive, resourced, deploying critical mass — still matters.

Did the Daily Telegraph just plonk money down and buy itself the story of the decade, as though in some seedy scoop supermarket? Listen to David Leigh, doyen of Guardian investigators and professor of the digging arts at City University.

They had to hunt for their gold, he says: to check disc addresses against Land Registry files; to pursue registry records of mortgages existing and paid off; to excavate the prices of house buyings and sales to calculate profit and stamp duty and capital gains tax avoided; to scour electoral rolls for a complete picture.

Without that formidable, meticulous investigation, no flipping revelations would have blotted honourable members’ copybooks. So the Telegraph didn’t merely hurry along due disclosure; it was the absolute, indispensable source.

» Peter Preston, former editor of the Guardian, in his blog last week.

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