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‘Someone in reception’ – Twitter thread sparks plea for best ‘walk-in’ stories

Alex MorrisonA former regional journalist has launched a plea for the most “brilliant and bizarre” stories they landed from “walk-ins” for a new book he is planning to write.

Alex Morrison has revealed plans for the book, which has the working title ‘There’s Someone in Reception’, after urging journalists to share their own experiences on Twitter.

The tweet sparked hundreds of responses, ranging from funny anecdotes to more serious tales that arose from newspaper office reception encounters.

Former Brentwood Gazette editor Nev Wilson, now Mail Online deputy UK news editor, wrote: “An Elvis fan walked in to complain about dirty bollards on the A25 despite his repeated calls to the council… he posed up with a broom like The King for our snapper.

“He later posted a bar of soap to their HQ by way of protest. The package was destroyed over fears it was a bomb.”

Lancashire Post editor Nicola Adam added: “So many but my vaguely critical takeaway review – furious manager turns up in reception and thrust cold curry in my face to prove that they can make it better – his normal chef had been off sick. I actually ate a bit.”

Sheffield Telegraph editor Ellen Beardmore said: “Had to go see a man who was furious that a prostitute had stolen his wallet after their time together when I was s trainee at the Pontefract and Castleford Express.”

And De Montfort University journalism trainer Lee Marlow, formerly of the Leicester Mercury, wrote: “Reception: ‘There’s a guy in reception who’s found a solid gold bar.’ The bloke downstairs – who wanted to be called Lord Luvaduck – reached into his plastic bag and pulled out a house brick sprayed gold.”

Others came forward with more hard-hitting stories that came from meetings in reception.

Archant journalist Charles Thomson wrote: “At the Yellow Advertiser in Essex, the retired head of the Southend NHS psychology service walked into reception and said he had a story. By 2020, we’d unmasked a paedophile ring leader as a police informant and been shortlisted for the Paul Foot Award.”

McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists co-author Mark Hanna added: “Sheffield Star reception was in York Street. Many ‘walk-ins’ were termed ‘York St nutters’ (sorry) by us reporters.

“But one, a drug addict, helped me and health reporter Jeremy Watson win a regional award. An addict told us of a GP selling drugs. We loaned the addict a micro-tape recorder. Bingo.”

Alex, pictured, was chief reporter on the Crawley News between 2007 and 2010 before spending three years as news editor at the Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser.

He later worked for the BBC and is now a press officer at the University of Exeter.

Speaking to HTFP, Alex said: “I’m amazed by the response to my tweet. It has reminded me what a wonderful – and sometimes weird – job local journalism is.

“I’ve had this book in mind for years, but the stories people have shared on Twitter have convinced me to get started.

“Obviously I’ll need a lot of material to fill a book, so I’d still love to hear more ‘walk-in’ – and phone-in – stories.

“Also, if any agents or publishers out there like the sound of the book, I’d love to hear from you too.”

Anyone interested in contributing to the book can get in touch with Alex on Twitter or by email at [email protected].