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.
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Ellen DeGeneres leads Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Paul Bettany in revealing game of Never Have I Ever
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
£25000 - £28000 per annum + circa 28K + 20% bonus opportunity: Sauce Recruitme...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Are you an ambitious, money mot...
Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A freelance Investment Writer / Stock Picker ...
£20 - 24K + Benefits: Guru Careers: An enthusiastic PPC Account / Paid Search ...