Covering Thomas Cook honestly has presented a conundrum for hacks and flaks for ages.
It’s not exactly a surprise to the newspaper trade that the company has gone under.
Indeed, some hacks I know were able to confidently predict that they’d be in the office very late last Sunday, awaiting for confirmation of the inevitable.
So if the hacks and flaks knew, why didn’t the readers?
I think this issue was a cause of genuine angst.
As long as four years ago, I recall an editor at The Sun asking me if we should advise readers to avoid Thomas Cook, to book their holidays elsewhere.
I replied that that would be a bit unfair. And that making such a statement in a paper as powerful as The Sun would surely hasten the company’s downfall.
The editor asked: would you book a holiday with them? Truthfully no, I said.
He shrugged. I could see his point; he could see mine.
Readers stranded in far away places, holidays or weddings ruined, might have cause to complain: why didn’t you warn us this would happen? I think hacks could honestly say: we gave as many signals as we fairly thought we could…