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Letters to Clinton recall heady days in the regional press

A former regional journalist has relived his days in local newspapers in a book which has become easily available in the UK for the first time.

Letters to a U.S. President has sold well in the States, and now the author, David Kavanagh, has arranged for the title to be published in this country too.

He’s a former Sheffield Star man and has also worked at the Wrexham Leader, Knowsley Reporter and Bournemouth Evening Echo.

The book began as a journal in 1994 which eventually turned into a series of open letters to the then President Bill Clinton.

David compared their day-to-day lives for almost three months in the run-up to some mid-term congressional elections… and then the journal was forgotten. It was “rediscovered” in 2002 and published in America, where most copies have been sold, and is now easily available in the UK.

David said: “Some of the anecdotes about working for local British newspapers might appeal to HTFP readers, taken from those lively days spent in the regional press.

“Maybe some HTFP readers might even guess the real identity of ‘Terry’, my unfortunate local journalist companion on a trip to Paris – now a macho correspondent on a northern provincial newspaper.

“This unlucky financial scribbler – once a reckless womaniser – spent good money on a lady of the night only to find out ‘she’ was a ‘he’ after the deed had been done. Not a sound investment for his crown jewels.”

He also recalls the dreadful marketing stunts dreamed up by newspaper sales teams, his unmasking as a vice girl’s “client” in court – after actually exposing her business in the paper and dealing with readers convinced they’d seen aliens, who wanted to gift the exclusive to the intrepid author.

The book explains how he exposed the Ku Klux Klan’s attempts to set up a base in Dorset, while at the Bournemouth Echo, a story he later helped the Sunday Mirror develop further.

He was also involved in a high profile case that was heard at Sheffield Crown Court, where he was asked to give evidence after holding clandestine meetings with hooded Animal Liberation Front members in woodland in the city.

It turned out that the police thought he was in cahoots with the animal liberators, and they thought he was a stooge for the police.

David recalled in his book: “From time to time, I had to make stilted conversation with the overbearing judge who, I noticed, sported a tiny piece of nasal debris protruding from the nearest nostril.

“During my sweaty stint in the witness box, I developed a kind of fondness for that emerald detritus.

“It provided an accidental but comforting touch of early familiarity in an otherwise fear-inducing scenario.”

Letters to a U.S. President is available through for £11.23, published by Lightning Source.

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