A free lesson in writing a Sunday newspaper column

So, here it is, your cut out and keep guide to writing a Sunday newspaper column. Our example today:

Another deluded rich girl is Ghislaine Maxwell. If you caught a single sentence of her brother’s steamingly hagiographic defence of her in The Spectator on Thursday, you’d struggle to see why she was on trial for sex crimes at all.

It wasn’t Robert — her tricksy, mendacious father — who shaped her, said Ian; it was Betty, their witty, intelligent, lovely, cosy, honest, gorgeous and underrated mother who gave her daughter the gifts of “energy, tenacity, determination” and, weirdly, “promptness”. It was Betty who insisted on calling her Ghislaine — not, as is generally claimed, the odious Robert. Betty chose a chic French name in revenge for Robert calling their son Kevin. And it’s not pronounced — sharp intake of breath — Jizlaine, he said, but Giilen. Yeah, me neither.

So, to adapt.

“I could tell what was wrong with Ghislaine when I met her in Oxford – in company with the future Tory MP blah blah.”

We’ve got to start off with something true – which that is – and which has something personal in it. I was there! I have a connection!

Then we need a few paragraphs of cod psychiatry.

“Being the youngest – and most favoured – child the shock of her father’s death……” “Imagine growing up knowing that the world is your mollusc of choice, that a fortune awaits and money will never be a problem” “Then your doting father is revealed as a crook and bankrupt” “Desperately looking for a patron….”

Add in lots of detail and snark, continue for 1200 words total. Invoice for £2,500 (probably).

It’s amazing more people don’t cotton on to how easy this is really.

16 thoughts on “A free lesson in writing a Sunday newspaper column”

  1. P never met Jizlane and have no knowledge of her but she is almost certainly rich procuring scum you wouldn’t like and could have given several better people the Cold of Non-Death that wont kill them and which they wont even notice.

    She should hang–officially or otherwise.

    Can you send a cheque Tim? I like cash best but modern day etc.

  2. Throw in streams of multiple superflous extreneous polysyllabic adjectives and multiple nouns naming words and descriptors and bingo.

  3. Funniest thing I remember involving the Maxwells: “No-nonsense” Pandora (Kevin Maxwells missus), as she was dubbed by the media at the time, earned herself a role in the sorry saga when she opened a bedroom window one morning to shout, “Piss off or I’ll call the police” to the unwelcome early-morning callers on the doorstep of the family’s Chelsea home. “We are the police”, responded the members of Her Majesty’s constabulary, who had arrived to arrest her husband, in what became one of the most memorable soundbites of that time.

  4. Still fascinating to see where the media are concentrating their attention. Ghislaine and Prince Andrew. What about all the other passengers on the Epstein Express (cough cough Clinton….) Or how Epstein made his money in the first place, mysteriously transforming from a maths tutor into a billionaire?

  5. “tricksy, mendacious father”: ooh, understatement by a journo. How about “spy, traitor, thief, liar, and Labour politician”?

  6. This Maxwell trial has been amazingly underwhelming. The Powers That Be have ensured that none of the juicy stuff gets out, which means in turn that the prosecution case is very weak.
    Will see if Gillen needs to kerp the services of her hair stylist Hilaria Clontini.

  7. @Otto You just know some People who must be Protected are involved…

    It’s hard to believe that during an election race the PR rats can dig up Embarassing Stuff from someone’s college years, or even childhood, but that somehow they are suddenly incapable of figuring out invitations and cross-referencing itineraries to one of the most notorious party islands in the world..

    Especially with the sheer amount of “innocent” girls “introduced” to those parties, and the personnel involved, and….

  8. I pointed out on another site that a North Staffordshire pre-by-election piece followed a well worn pattern and basically the article ‘wrote itself’. It seems like the hagiographic defence of Ghislaine Maxwell could also have ‘written itself’.

    No importance in the great scheme of things but if I were a journalist or writer knocking out standard articles I’d have to wonder if an AI couldn’t do a similar job far cheaper.

  9. Fact: The name is French, but from a germanic root. Its original meaning is ‘hostage’ (german giesel, swedish gisslan)

  10. I’ve never followed it all closely, so has there ever been any actual evidence (pictures, videos, etc.) against Epstein and Maxwell, or has it all been witness testimony?

  11. PJF

    There was a facsimile of Gillen’s instructions to the stff where she inisted on having Maxwell House coffee and Lurpak butter.

    These people are depraved, hanging was too good for Epstein.

  12. Dennis, Correct And Therefore Hateful

    It wasn’t Robert — her tricksy, mendacious father — who shaped her, said Ian; it was Betty, their witty, intelligent, lovely, cosy, honest, gorgeous and underrated mother who gave her daughter the gifts of “energy, tenacity, determination” and, weirdly, “promptness”. It was Betty who insisted on calling her Ghislaine — not, as is generally claimed, the odious Robert. Betty chose a chic French name in revenge for Robert calling their son Kevin. And it’s not pronounced — sharp intake of breath — Jizlaine, he said, but Giilen.

    Thanks. I’ll be filing that under “Don’t Give A Fuck” sooner rather than later.

  13. What little I’ve read has been about the defence team dismantling the prosecution witnesses and making them look very stupid, which apparently hasn’t been that hard to do
    Most interesting thing I’ve heard is the comment above that her name means hostage is it seems like an attempt to try Epstein by proxy, but without upsetting all the important people.
    I do wonder if Andrew is taking one for the team here as he’s high profile but not important enough to keep the media satisfied from looking deeper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *