Peter Oborne: 'I wrote a story saying nothing was going on. My news editor told me a riot had broken out'
My Greatest Mistake: With the political editor of 'The Spectator'
Tuesday 25 February 2003
To relive my worst mistake still brings a blush of shame and horror to my cheeks. In 1993, when I was a novice political reporter for the London Evening Standard. The editor, Stewart Steven, asked me to go to Copenhagen and cover the second Danish referendum on the Maastricht treaty.
The referendum turned out to be a prodigiously dull event, with the counting held in the Danish parliament, a great featureless building with lots of featureless Danish politicians. The result from the start was going to be a win for the "Yes" vote. I had to write some sort of colour on this, and I duly talked to politicians until I felt sleepy, whereupon I went back to my hotel and wrote a piece saying that it was quite the dullest political event ever.
The next morning, I received a call from Mike Leese at the Standard's news desk. I remember it vividly. He told me that, overnight, fire had broken out in a quarter of Copenhagen quite far from my hotel; there had been a massive riot. The battle between rioters and police had gone on all night, and several had been shot dead. I felt my stomach crashing to the floor.
The Standard took Press Association copy. It was the ultimate shame for me, although when Leese killed my story, he also took it off the system to save me further embarrassment. I learnt always to ring your desk before you file a story.
Ashya King missing: Police hunt five-year-old boy with brain tumour snatched from Southampton hospital by his parents
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
Papua New Guinea Mount Tavurvur volcano eruption sees international flights diverted
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
- < Previous
- Next >
£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...
£85000 - £100000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing - Slough, Berkshi...
£18 - 20k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An Administration Assistant / Office Assistan...