While myself and the Charlie Gard family contemplated the death of a little boy, Alexi Mostrous ‘Investigations Editor’ at The Times has decided to write a nasty little story…
Open letter to Alexi Mostrous at the Sunday Times.
A personal opinion on my own website.
Dear Alexi Mostrous
Do you have children? Are you a father? If you do you then you should be ashamed. Because in my opinion if you have any heart whatsoever you, Alexi Mostrous, never would never have rung me on the day Charlie Gard died.
Maybe you are angry because your paper illegally pinched a photo – without asking members of the family or myself – from the Charlie Gard Facebook page and used it on their front page for commercial gain. On their behalf, I complained.
But this for a ‘line’ apparently on your ill conceived, ill judged Times ‘investigation’ into the Charlie Gard story – although as a newspaper you have hardly taken any interest whatsoever in their story until now.
Never did The Times publicise their gofundme appeal with any links when the Gard family were desperately raising money to pay for potentially life saving treatment in the US. And even when I rang you back today to ask if I could help you with your article you said you were writing, you Alexi Mostrous didn’t even offer to return my call. You chatted happily at my expense, on my phone bill.
You never asked me once how Connie and Chris were.
You showed me zero sympathy to the family. You didn’t even mention their son Charlie and ask how he is.
You didn’t even have a ‘well done’ to say about how I broke this story and gained publicity that attracted the attention of the Pope and the US President. All you kept saying is was I paid for writing articles where I interview my interviewees. You inferred there was something wrong when this is surely something journalists do every day?
Let me tell you how it is. Let me show you, Alexi Mostrous, how compassion for interviewees and a desire to help them rather than ‘getting the story and making money’ is what my sort of journalism is about.
Let me guide you away from the nasty little world in my view you clearly exist in – where everyone is in it for money and you, a salaried staffer at the Oh so squeaky clean The Times, a commercial business which pays for stories (and pilfers personal photos without consent from social media), are apparently not.
Firstly I am a writer and a journalist. I am also a mother of three and this is what I do – I represent the ordinary person who would never be able to afford professional media representation.
Without someone like me ensuring vulnerable members of the public are guided through the media hell, some media individuals circle like vultures to take, take, take.
As a parent, I can glimpse at the hell that Connie Yates and Chris Gard have gone through and the dark days to come.
Interviewees never pay me a penny. It is why I can represent them for free and indeed in some cases also broker deals so that newspapers and magazines are paying them. Interviewees like it because their copy is always read back to them and if they don’t want me to write a story, then I don’t.
My own children and my husband know how much I have put my own life on hold to give my utmost to this story.
I have been so pleased and honoured to help them, overjoyed when things have gone right, depressed when they went wrong.
I have argued bitterly with newsdesks when something was printed which might have upset the family, I have gone to bed wondering what is wrong with the world when I read such horrible comments about a wonderful couple who just wanted to save their son.
I have spoken to journalists and editors all over the world giving them guidance on the story so they are reporting it accurately and have all necessary information.
Did The Times say thank you for my time. NO, never – although I note your newspaper happily reported and lifted quotes from articles I wrote which were paid for by others.
I have shed so many tears. What do you think it’s like to start a journey with a family like this and for it to end in the death of their child?
Oh I forgot. In the world of Alexi Mostrous emotions don’t come into it – as you said today on the phone, in your opinion it seems this is all about money isn’t it.
All I can say is what a sad life you must have.
If I ever found myself ringing someone as you did today trying to put words in someone’s mouth, trying to twist what they are saying, trying to make your salacious ‘line’ for a pathetic story I would quit this industry.
Thankfully I can hold my head up high and feel rightly proud that despite the nightmare that is to come, I did my very best for my interviewees – and will continue to do my best, not just for them but for all people who come to Featureworld for my help.
So Alexi Mostrous crawl back into the dark hole you came from.
You are the very reason I do this job – to protect members of the public from people like you.
Yours Alison Smith-Squire
Writer and Journalist