Sir Alan, the Dodgy Tapes and the Bum Shot

Article excerpt

It's the oldest cliche in politics, but a week really is a long time. A few days ago I was about to return to work in the Commons Press Gallery, having been at home on maternity leave since Christmas. It turned out to be a fantastically exciting week in politics; 42 days, David Davis, Irish referendum. Plenty to get my teeth into.

I saw none of that action-I was covering fuel strikes and a housing crisis for ITVNews, having been told, just before my return, that I was being promoted from chief political correspondent to economics editor. I was a little stunned. Most of my friends seem to think it's hilarious. My husband has taken to callingme Indiana Dowfones. Ho ho.

The economy is the big story of the moment, both nationally and internationally, and as a journalistic brief it's seriously exciting. First things first, phone a friend. I took Andrew Neil out for dinner at the Wolseley. We drank and talked and gossiped and came up with fantastic story ideas. The next morning I had a headache and no memory at all of the ideas.

The Black Berry generation

Day one in the new job: am very brave, leaving home and the children, Milly, two, and baby Daniel. Get to work and I have to be helped with log-ins, passwords, passes, finding the loo, the lot. As economics editor I am expected to be part of the BlackBerry generation, so try to keep up when the nice guy tells me about the amazing things I can-and never will-do with it. Then I have to cover up a wobbly bottom lip when I realise I'll lose my baby photos from my last phone.

All journalists at ITN are being trained to edit their own reports. Because of a well-timed pregnancy, I have so far avoided the essential training. This is a good thing: I am terrified of the whole idea. When I was offered the new job I asked if my elevated status would mean avoiding self-edit. "Far from it," I was told. "James Mates is an expert now and prefers to edit his own pieces." So now the trainers are out to get me. A senior newsroom producer catches me pretending to pick something up off the floor as one of them walks past.

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Deborah Turness, my boss, had earlier given me my orders. …