Britain's leading celebrity gossip magazines have been left with egg on their faces after an unprecedented week of chaos in which all seven led with stories about Cheryl Cole that were clearly mutually contradictory. A summit has now been organised to enable them to co-ordinate their coverage for better accuracy, so that they can all sing from the same hymn sheet in future.
'It was a bit farcical to be honest, admitted Sam Delaney, editor of Heat magazine. 'We were confident we had a good story when some close friends of Cheryl told us she was cooling off her relationship with Derek Hough. Then blow me if New! doesn't say she's sworn off ALL relationships for a year, while Pick Me Up is claiming she's exchanging texts with Ashley, who wants to get back with her, and Closer thinks she's in love with Simon Cowell. Well they can't all be right can they?'
The editors of the gossip magazines have agreed at their meeting to monitor what close friends of celebrities are telling them, to ensure that readers are not misled. Sources high in the showbiz world will also be screened for veracity.
'It will be time-consuming, but we all agree it is necessary if we are to offer proper journalism in the only sector of the print market that's actually growing,' said Delaney. 'Imagine if we'd just run that story about Jordan doing a reverse Dutch steamboat on the entire Aston Villa squad at the Footballer of the Year Awards without checking our sources.'
Added Delaney: 'Well, it wasn't true, was it? It was Jodie Marsh and West Bromwich Albion.'