Phone-hacking trial tweeter Peter Jukes and ex-Independent news editor Martin Hickman join forces for book on ‘backstage drama’ of the trial
Phone-hacking trial Twitter reporter Peter Jukes has teamed up with former Independent news editor Martin Hickman to pen a book revealing the previously unreported “backstage drama” of one of the biggest media trials in Britain’s history.
Book: Peter Jukes
The book will be released shortly after the jury reaches verdicts in the hacking trial, which has been ongoing at the Old Bailey in London for the last seven months. Jukes, who was named best UK reporter on Twitter by trade title Press Gazette in April, has joined forces ahead of the trial’s end with Hickman as publisher and editor to put a book together giving the public insight to the inner workings of the trial.
Hickman previously penned Dial M for Murdoch with Tom Watson MP, and owns publishing company Canbury Press, which he founded in 2013 after he left the Independent.
“It’s all the stuff we couldn’t tell you during the trial,” Jukes told The Drum. “The legal arguments, the backstage drama, all of which has been restricted for good reason until the jury come in with their verdicts.
“In the book we’ll be able to talk about what worked, what didn’t work, the ups and downs and the dramatic moments which you can’t really highlight too much when you’re reporting – you have to be very plain, but there were clearly some very dramatic moments.”
Jukes, who also previously wrote a book on the Murdoch empire, The Fall of the House of Murdoch, said it was “pure chance” that he got a seat in the press box at the phone-hacking trial, which led to a crowd-funding effort that raised around £20,000 from members of the public keen to fund his live-tweeting of each day's events. Within months he was named the country’s top social media reporter and became a beacon of the new media environment.
“It’s kind of a story of a newbie in this minefield of legal complexity, of contempt laws, of a high profile trial, of somebody who had no idea of what he was getting into,” he went on.
“It was pure chance that Nick Davis [the Guardian] told me I had to get a ticket and I got the last one. It was pure chance I had a reception in the court. I just caught the moment.”
Jukes added that there will be an avalanche of coverage and analysis in the aftermath of the trial as well as other books, but said the effort from himself and Hickman will keep a specific focus on providing the public with a deeper insight into British justice.
“There will be endless background when the trial is finished and other books will be coming out, so we’re not trying to compete on the evidence, because that’s already out there, it’s more the backstage stuff, and insight that nobody else is really doing,” he said.
“It’s been an amazing trial, sometimes very tedious, and despite all the glamour, the politicians, Royalty and celebrities, it’s actually been very much evidence-led and I think an amazing insight regardless of what happens.”
Along with Jukes and Hickman covering the trial, The Drum's own reporter James Doleman has blogged proceedings from each day of the trial straight from the Old Bailey. You can read his extensive coverage here.