UPDATED: Fleet Street Fox – journalists will face bullies and bullets

Fleet Street Fox

Fleet Street Fox at Journalism Week

By Rebecca Marano

TRAINEE reporters were advised to get self defence classes by a newspaper columnist who says sexual harassment is the least of a journalist’s problems.

Susie Boniface, known as the Fleet Street Fox, told the audience at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism Week that reporters would be likely to face anything from bullies to bullets and lumps of wood to dangerous dogs.

Susie has worked for many publications, including The Sun, the Daily Mail and The Guardian. She’s a regular columnist for the Daily Mirror and she writes her own hard-hitting blog.

fleetstreetfox_dailymailThe self-confessed cynic spoke about the recent Westminster sex harassment scandals in the headlines, including journalist Kate Maltby’s experience of feeling intimidated by MP Damian Green.

But she said: “That kind of thing is the least of your problems. It will go on but you’ll have people who genuinely want to kill you.

“The sexual harassment and bullying stuff shouldn’t be your biggest fear. It should be the general public.”

Susie displayed a dark sense of humour, sharing amusing and shocking stories from her time as a journalist.

She told the audience about the time she interviewed a rapist and didn’t even know he was a rapist until she was told after she’d already left.

She also described a harrowing incident experienced by a fellow journalist who did a door-knock. Once invited in, the man locked the door and went upstairs and grabbed a shotgun. Her friend only managed to escape by hitting him over the head with her notepad repeatedly until she could get out of the door.

She said: “My advice would be to try and get some self-defence classes. If you’re in someone’s house and they try to hurt you, how do you get out?

“Assume the best, but prepare for the worst. Then you can’t be surprised.”

On a more serious note, she also talked about the death of her friend and colleague Rupert Hamer in 2010.

Hamer was on assignment in Afghanistan with Mirror photographer Phillip Coburn. While attached to the US Marine Corps, their vehicle was targeted by an IED.

Hamer was killed instantly and Coburn survived with severe leg injuries.

Susie believes this was a deliberate and targeted attack.

She said: “Someone knew the man with the biro was the dangerous one.”

Susie said she had been worried about losing her annoymity as the journalist behind the Fleet Street Fox, the pseudonym she used to launch her hard-hitting blog. Click below to WATCH:

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