Former tabloid journalist Richard Peppiatt has worked for a number of red top papers. After spending two years at The Daily Star, he left last year due to what he calls “deeply irresponsible coverage of Islam”. He quit The Daily Star in a rather public way and, upon leaving his post, The Guardian published Peppiatt’s letter to The Daily Star’s proprietor, Richard Desmond. In the letter Peppiatt spoke of the paper’s “endemic lack of self-perception” and the “backbone” he discovered before leaving. I met Richard in his Highbury home and asked him what it was like to work for the popular tabloid newspaper and what he thinks about The Alternative Leveson.
Yasmin: As a reporter at The Daily Star you donned everything from a burka to a John Lennon outfit in order to get a story. Is that part and parcel of being a tabloid reporter?
Richard: My main complaint was the blatant Islamophobia at the paper. It wasn’t something new but it got completely out of control. I wanted to raise awareness and certainly didn’t want toplay a part in it anymore. A lot of the staff were unhappy at the coverage of Islam yet they continued to put these stories together, even if it didn’t reflect the facts and figures behind them. It had more to do with finding the facts that fitted within the narrative.
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