When the methods of celebrity gossip gathering were revealed on CBC

In the 1960s, a prominent gossip columnist explained to CBC viewers just how he went about getting his scoops.

In 1963, gossip columnist Alex Freeman explained how he chased down his scoops

Alex Freeman on gossip reporting

3 years ago
Duration 0:44
In 1963, the Toronto-born Alex Freeman explains how he chases scoops for his gossip column.
  Just how do those tabloid reporters get their juicy stories?

They have their ways — though their work tends to involve talking to people who know people that other people want to read about. 

  Alex Freeman, a prominent syndicated gossip columnist of the 1960s, once opened up to CBC about the process of pinning down the items for his column.

"My stuff — meaning the news, the items in my column — is checked out pretty thoroughly by me," Freeman said when speaking with the CBC's Jean Templeton on 701, back in 1963.

"If the people it's about won't tell me the truth, I circumvent them and go all around them. I always know someone who is a friend of theirs who is a friend of mine and I always get my stuff pretty tight."

Skip the press agents

He'd also go to the stars themselves, but never, Freeman said, to their gatekeepers.

"I don't take anything from press agents — for a multitude of reasons, for one I don't trust them," said Freeman.

Freeman worked for the National Enquirer, but his syndicated column was carried in dozens of papers — including the Toronto Telegram — at the time of his interview with CBC.

He told 701 that he'd never written anything that was "untrue" — at least, not intentionally.

"I've never written an untrue item to my knowledge. I have made an honest human error, as anyone else can," said Freeman.

Freeman died in 1968. A New York Times obituary noted that he was known to visit "30 night spots in a single evening in his search for items about the entertainment world."