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Ex-regional newsman puts national press in spotlight

A former regional journalist is hoping the furore surrounding the press phone hacking scandal will help propel him towards best-seller status in his book career.

Ex-Bucks Free Press reporter Nasser Hashmi is eagerly awaiting the release of his second novel, which puts national newspapers under the spotlight and touches on the controversial subject.

Wacko Hacko, inspired by his career in the media, was written at the time of the Leveson Inquiry in 2012.

The Downley author said that although life at tabloid newspapers has been covered in all forms over the last few years, his book touches on the dark side of the scandal.

Nasser said: “Tabloid newspapers are a huge part of our culture. This story takes a serious look at the industry and it is loosely-based on the phone hacking scandal.

“This is really different from my first novel, Season of Sid, which was more of a comedy following the first Asian footballer in the Premier League.”

However, the story of Wacko Hacko follows tabloid reporter Jamie Parkes. He makes up stories, secretly listens to voicemails and uses material from the bins of celebrities and MPs.

But after one of his major stories is spiked by scheming editor Warren Fitton, he turns whistleblower to uncover phone hacking and corruption on his newspaper.

His whistleblower status turns into an epic battle for survival as the state, police and media hunt him down.

Nasser added: “Tabloids have become obsessed with celebrities especially in the era of the ‘noughties’ which this book was set in.

“We have heard in recent years that some journalists would do anything for a good story but Parkes turns against this and by doing so gets into dangerous territory.

“I actually wrote this novel in about five months all in longhand. There was a lot of material I had picked up from national newsrooms and also from the phone hacking scandal.”

As well as working one day a week as a Sunday Mirror sub-editor, Nasser, also looks after his two children while trying to find time to continue his blossoming new writing career.

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  • August 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Good luck Nasser – hope it goes well for you. I remember your weekly film crits on the Newsquest Bucks Free Press and then the final offer that as an economy they would not be able to pay you anymore but perhaps you could write and contribute them for nothing! Sad to see the paper has gone into a further financial decline with falling circulation and job cuts including even the valued ed, Steve Cohen, lost.

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