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Kent journalists’ worst moments

October, 2023

We asked Kent journalists to describe the worst or most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to them in their jobs. We got such a variety of answers – from the genuinely traumatic to those that made us gasp or laugh out loud.

In no particular order, below are a selection of Kent journalists’ worst or most embarrassing moments to provide a little insight into life in local media. We’ve kept them anonymous, but can assure you they are all 100% genuine.

“I once got it into my head someone had been knighted and referred to him as 'Sir' throughout the copy – he hadn't... (although, as a twist, he eventually was...albeit many years later!)”

“I was almost arrested as a young work-experience journalist. I was reporting from the base of a missing person's investigation, and didn't tell the police that I was a journalist as I thought they wouldn't talk to me. For some reason, it didn't occur to me that they would find a young guy walking around on his phone would be far more suspicious... until I went to leave and was accosted by a very suspicious police officer! Thankfully, her partner was able to see the funny side and naturally they let me go once I proved I was there as a reporter. Regardless, I didn't stick around for long after that!”

“I mispronounced the singer Katie Tuntstall when reading a news bulletin.”

“I went to Blake's nightclub in Gravesend the morning after a car was driven into it. It was so windy my eyes started streaming. The bouncer who'd been up all night dealing with the aftermath hugged me because he thought I was overwhelmed with emotion...”

“Dropping a rare born cat that I thought I’d killed.” 

“Seeing platforms emerge that destroyed traditional revenue streams while the industry stood by.” 

“Being caught slagging off a council press officer whilst she was on the phone with my colleague and therefore heard the whole conversation.”

“Being banned from the royal rota by Princess Margaret. Or perhaps that's the best thing!”

“Getting surnames mixed in copy – before it was broadcast. I mixed the name of the accused with the name of the victim. It was sorted just before it went to air.” 

“Accidentally ending up on ITV Meridian after attending a press event.”

“Forgetting the name of my interviewee.”

“I accidentally ripped up a treasured photo of someone who had died. It was the husband's favourite photo. In fact, I think the only one he had, she hated her photo being taken.” 

“Making an interviewee cry and walk off.”

“Slurping an oyster live on a food segment.”

“Formatting a memory card and losing all the footage of something I hadn’t edited yet.” 

“Being aggressively approached by a disgruntled partner of a woman I pictured leaving court after she pleaded guilty to defrauding pensioners.”

“Being told I was a scumbag because I work for the BBC, that I was spreading fake news and they tried to disrupt my live.”

“Doorknocked a woman whose husband had been killed in an accident. She hadn't been told by her family that husband was dead. She wasn't in. Decided to put a note through the door saying ‘I'm sorry to hear the are my contact details etc’. She read the note to find out her husband was dead – family went ape****. I was inexperienced at the time.”

“I laddered my tights at a dogging hotspot in search of sex toys and used condoms (PS – I did find them!)”

“It’s a toss-up between having to stand outside a celebrity’s house in the snow for several hours, and on another occasion being threatened with a plank of wood.” 

“Being invited to a PR event without realising there would be a media interview slot and having zero prepared questions.”

“Being asked by a Radio Kent listener to tune their digital radio as I worked for the BBC.”

“One of the first inquests I covered was extremely graphic and unpleasant. I struggled to sleep for a while after that one.”

“Receiving death threats. Accidentally publishing the wrong information about a business when I was a young, inexperienced reporter.”

“A headline typo.”

Not everyone had an embarrassing moment to share, but as this journalist said, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. 

“I very much feel as though my most embarrassing is yet to come! I make a fool of myself every day in different ways! It's the only way to learn and keep on growing.”

Kent journalists were surveyed in December 2022.

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