Argus lotto 'exclusive' fails to hit the jackpot

The Argus in Brighton had reason to mourn the loss of its evening edition after it reported that Britain's biggest ever lottery jackpot was being claimed by a man from Sussex.

Unfortunately, Axegrinder picked up The Argus on the same evening that the Evening Standard and all other media were reporting that the real winner was Angela Kelly from East Kilbride – about 450 miles from Sussex.

Evidently, The Argus had been the victim of a cruel hoax.

The original story was apparently based on an interview with Fergus Frater's sister, Lorraine, who said: "He told me he won the lottery and has just totally disappeared off the face of the earth."

The story attracted some predictably unflattering comments from readers on the Argus web site.

Dave from Wivelsfield was one of the more polite ones: "OK, the silly season is in full swing, but why the hell did The Argus run such a report without getting its facts sorted out first?

What a load of total tosh! But that's only the half of it – we are stupid enough to encourage them by reading the tripe.

"Come on, The Argus, let's have news (look it up in the OED if you must) not speculation.

I want to know what has happened, not what some halfwit wants to put about as a bit of a joke."

Still, at least The Argus saved its blushes with a good follow-up exclusive: "Son's fury at notto lotto winner".

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