Glossy Talk: Editor Helen McCabe on missing a scoop

Glossy Talk: Editor Helen McCabe on missing a scoop (thanks to Rupert Murdoch)

No sooner had we awarded Helen McCabe a Satchel Award for her humility and professionalism than she again exhibits these endearing traits in her 'From My Desk' letter for February.

The former News Limited journalist/deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph recounts the time she missed the biggest scoop of her life: a comment from Nicole on her split with Tom Cruise.

After tracking down Kidman at a hotel in Cannes in the hope of getting "the exclusive 'tell-all' story", McCabe found herself in an awkward situation in a dimly lit bar occupied only by Nicole, her sister Antonia and then-husband Angus Hawley, Sarah and Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi Deng.

"The problem was that Rupert was also my boss. So, I was metres away from the biggest scoop of my life, but I had no idea how to get it when my boss was in the way. As I tried to process my next move, we quickly ordered a drink and escaped through French doors onto the terrace.

Years later, one of my editors said I should have written a note to Rupert on my business card and asked the waiter to deliver it. Apparently, he is still such a journo at heart that he would have been thrilled to know one of his reporters had tracked them down. But I am just not that courageous and, instead of asking for the interview, I sipped a drink on the terrace and watched Nicole walk out of the bar and into the night."

(A great metaphor for Kidman's general media elusiveness.)

Still, it's a great yarn. And it's always a relief to know you're not the only one to miss a beat.

Girl With a Satchel