Journalists in Brighton could be forgiven for seeing double next month when identical twins take control of two of the biggest media jobs in the city.
Brothers Frankie and Mike Taggart, 32, are to compete on different sides of the media fence: Frankie has been news editor of the The Argus, Brighton newspaper for five years, and next month brother Mike moves to Brighton City Council to be its head of press.
Both brothers trained as journalists at NCTJ-accredited Cornwall College. Mike, 27 minutes older, worked at the Surrey Mirror, Crawley News, South Wales Echo and as the Daily Mail’s northern correspondent before becoming a press officer at Westminster City Council. He’s already worked with Frankie on stories in his current press officer role at East Sussex County Council.
Their sibling rivalry is nothing new – they fought each other in regional judo finals and ran head-to-head in 100m schools’ finals as teenagers – but now it will be spilling over into their day jobs. And there is not much chance of either man putting the feuding behind him outside office hours – the Plymouth-born duo share a flat in Brighton.
‘If people are expecting fireworks they should probably wait for 5 November,’said PR man Mike. ‘In fact, it will be less a case of Cain and Abel than the more exciting story of two professionals cooperating towards our shared goal – to keep Brighton’s residents informed about what’s going on in their city.
‘The bottom line is that the Argus is a fantastic newspaper that serves its readers dilligently, and equally the council has some great things to tell the world about the city – so it is imperative that we work well together.
‘That said, I’d like to get it on the record that if there is an evil twin it certainly isn’t me.”
News editor Frankie, who worked for the Bucks Examiner and Bucks Free Press, said: ‘The issue of a possible conflict of interests has been brought up, but if anything, he is more inclined to go for the jugular with me.
‘At the Argus we like to think we get things right, but no one is perfect, and on the odd occasion we have got anything wrong in his sphere he has been demanding front-page apologies and my head in a basket.
‘I wait until he goes out before rifling through his room for things, but unfortunately he’s just too professional for me to find anything out.”