How a British Times journalist beat the US press to Beyoncé inauguration mime scoop

A British journalist last week beat the United States press to a big showbiz scoop.

Washington correspondent Nico Hines exclusively revealed on The Times website that singer Beyoncé’s rendition of the national anthem at President Obama’s inauguration was pre-recorded.

The story went viral in the US and was splashed across the front pages of newspapers across the country.

Speaking to Press Gazette Hines said the story was a “simple” one. There had been rumours that the Marine Corps Band had not played their accompanying music live, so he phoned them up to ask about Beyoncé as well.

He said that if he had phoned up the singer’s representatives he would have gotten a denial.

A Washingtonian magazine journalist emailed the band, but had not heard back before Hines broke the story.

In an email to media website Poynter, Sophie Gilbert said: “I should have followed up by phone this morning… Lesson learned.”

“You can work on a story for months and it never quite makes it into print, sometimes you come across a single fact and you just know it’s going to catch fire," Hines said.

"Within 10 seconds of speaking to the Marine Corps Band it was obvious: this was something everyone in America was going to want to know.

“It was an enjoyable quirk to see The Times cited in so much of the US media’s inauguration coverage but I’m still waiting for Jay-Z and his mates to come  knocking on my door.”

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