05.02.10: How we broke scrap extension story FIRST

Time 11:50 am, February 5, 2010

hot-scrappage-sales-leads-lost2WE love a scoop here at Car Dealer – even if they ruin our plans completely!

It’s not the first time an extension to the scrappage scheme has caught us out, but this time really was last minute.

With 95 per cent of the pages finished for the next issue of Car Dealer – which goes to press today – done and dusted, I joked to a colleague: ‘Just imagine if the government extended the scheme now…’

‘Don’t even joke about it,’ was his reply.

An hour later the phone rang…

‘You didn’t get this from me, right, but the scrappage scheme is being extended. The anouncement will be made tomorrow morning,’ said our mole.

Damn and drat.

I phoned a few more contacts and it turned out they’d heard the same thing. This was true. So I got to work and broke the news with a post on our website before anyone else.

Then I phoned BIS – the governement department behind the scheme – and asked if the rumour was true, knowing all along I’d get a ‘no comment’.

That was indeed the reply, but it was the chuckle from the press officer before it that confirmed in my mind our mole had hit the nail on the head.

Story posted, web traffic steadily picked up as the story filtered through to other news agencies and did the rounds on Twitter. The BBC posted a story two hours later, the Press Association, two-and-a-half hours later and Sky News even later than that. Check this out for proof.

The only other news outlet that bagged the story was our friends over at Autocar – and I can only assume my mole was their mole too!


When the government issued its press release a full 12 hours ahead of the time they’d planned I felt a twinge of achievement. Car Dealer had broken the news and now Lord Mandelson’s department had been forced into a late night annoucement.

I’m not saying that’s because of our story, but from what I hear it certainly played a part… So sorry Mandy if we disturbed your dinner!

Obviously, we’d never reveal the source of our scoop – a good journalist NEVER does that – but I will publicly say thanks to them here… you know who you are!

If you ever hear of something we should be reporting, please get in touch. We treat all information in the strictest confidence.

Oh, and you’re probably wondering what we’re doing about our special After Scrap issue – well, we’re leaving it as it is.

My thinking is, with only an extra four weeks added to the scheme and no more money, all our features and advice still stand – you’ve just now got an extra month to soak it all up!

Right, better get this issue to the printers…


James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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