For reasons possibly connected with this, I am trying to track down some old news stories about how newspapers used to use the names of fake journalists.
My memory tells me there were a series of reports by Raymond Snoddy for Channel 4’s Hard News TV series in the late 1980s in which he rung up newspapers and asked to speak to various journalists by name, getting rather surprised and evasive responses. The reason? That although the names were taken from bylines in the newspaper, they were fake names – used when wire copy was being reproduced.
My memory tells me that, but my researches so far have failed to find more on this, and it may be a bit of the memory is wrong. (Perhaps it was another TV series?)
Anyway, can anyone remember more about this story or that practice of using fake names more generally?
UPDATE: Thank you again readers – lots of really helpful responses via Twitter, email, comments and more.