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Freelance Journalist


When Michael Jackson flew into London in March 2009 to announce his comeback concerts, his entourage called just one journalist - Charles Thomson. The only reporter in the world to know the time and location of Jackson's top-secret arrival, he arranged for a Sun photographer to snap the exclusive pictures of the star disembarking his private jet, breaking what would become one of the biggest stories of the year.

An experienced celebrity interviewer, feature writer and court reporter, Charles won the acclaim of his subjects and his peers at a young age. Aged 21, he picked up a prestigious Guardian Award and became one of the youngest writers ever to be given his own blog at the US Huffington Post blog.

By age 22 he had become a respected media commentator, quoted in several books and invited to appear on numerous television and radio shows. Aged 23, having already been a red-top court reporter, a celeb stringer for the Sun and film festival correspondent, he was hired as a full-time reporter by Britain's biggest regional newspaper.

Charles is perhaps best-known for his work on Michael Jackson. He has contributed to two best-selling biographies of the singer and has been quoted in two more. His expertise on the subject has led to TV and radio appearances around the globe, including Sky News, BBC World Service and French TV channel M6.

Charles has earned an army of fans for his fearlessness in taking on his own industry when he sees injustice. On the fifth anniversary of Michael Jackson's acquittal on child abuse charges, Charles published a blistering expose of the media's biased coverage of the star's trial. The article, published on his Huffington Post blog, shot around the globe and earned Charles thank-you messages from Jackson's relatives, colleagues, friends and lawyers. Other such articles have scrutinised the media's treatment of black celebrities through the ages and challenged American networks' coverage of the Troy Davis execution.

As a celebrity interviewer, Charles has profiled the great and good of soul and funk music. He has contributed to music journals including Britain's MOJO and America's Wax Poetics. Motown legend Martha Reeves once dedicated a song to him and he was one of the last reporters to speak to Godfather of Soul James Brown before his death in 2006.

Always on the look-out for new angles, Charles specialises in profiling those with proximity to enormous fame; firsthand witnesses who can shed new light on otherwise worn-out stories; Hunter S Thompson's personal videographer, James Brown's grieving widow, Michael Jackson's long-serving tour guitarist and many more.

With a meticulous approach to research, some of Charles's most impressive work has seen him interview multiple firsthand witnesses to forgotten moments in time. One article pieced together the story of Michael Jackson's never-finished final music video. Another told the sad story of the Marvelettes' descent into anonymity. His piece 'James Brown: The Lost Album' saw him interview almost two-dozen musicians, producers, managers and vocalists who worked on the Godfather of Soul's unreleased final album. The piece won him the 'Feature Writer of the Year: Special Commendation' award at the 2009 Guardian Student Media Awards.

Key Skill:Journalist Experience:Senior

Other Skills:Journalist (Senior), Current Affairs (Senior), Feature Writing (Senior), Arts / Entertainment Review (Senior), Business / Corporate (MiddleWeight), Investigative (Senior), Law (Senior), Lifestyle (Senior), Politics (MiddleWeight), Popular Culture (Senior), Travel/ Tourism (Senior), Copywriter (Senior), Arts / Entertainment (Senior), Business / Commercial (MiddleWeight), Education (MiddleWeight), Finance (MiddleWeight), Lifestyle (Senior)

Tags: music-writer showbiz-writer celebrity-journalist showbiz-journalist feature-writer black-music soul funk blues michael-jackson james-brown



Award Winner
As one of the UK's brightest young journalists, Charles has received praise for his dedication, enthusiasm and ability.

In November 2009 Charles received a prestigious Guardian Award for his article 'James Brown: The Lost Album'.

Judges commented on the piece:

"Fantastic - incredibly well researched, great quotes, great access and very well written."

" extraordinary sustained piece on James Brown, a poignant portrait of a man in his last days."
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Highly Recommended
Charles strives to provide accurate, insightful prose and has been praised for his dedication. His work has been commended by his subjects, his peers and more.

His work on Michael Jackson prompted the singer's family, including brother Jermaine, to send Charles personal thank-you messages. He was also contacted by Jackson's friends and colleagues.

His exploration of James Brown's never-released final album was described as 'seminal' by fellow music writer Tony Best.

Visit the link below for more on Charles's praise and awards.

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Against the Grain
Unlike most reporters, Charles can be relied upon not to churn out predictable copy.

Not afraid to court controversy, his original voice has made his blog, in which he frequently takes the media to task for inaccurate reporting, an internet phenomenon.

A google search on the title of one entry - 'Chandler Suicide Highlights Media Bias Against Jackson' - produces almost a million results (click on thumbnail to view picture).

Charles applies the same flare to all of his prose and has received a Guardian Award for his feature writing.
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Ahead of the Pack
Charles has broken numerous world exclusive stories.

In January 2010 Charles was the first journalist in the world to break the story that England footballer John Terry's affair had resulted in an abortion, publishing the story on his blog long before it appeared on countless front pages (see link).

In March 2009 he was the first journalist to break concrete news of the Michael Jackson's 50 concert comeback when he worked with The Sun to snap exclusive pictures of Jackson arriving at a private airstrip in Luton to announce his UK gigs(see picture).
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Investigative Reporter
Charles is equipped with the core journalistic tools and newswriting skills required for investigative reporting.

In his home county Charles has exposed council cover-ups, revealed appalling conditions in local restaurants and used the Freedom of Information Act to highlight shocking details from council accident logs.

Charles' work on regional papers such as the Echo and the Yellow Advertiser has seen him cover everything from armed robberies and assaults to child abuse trials and knife crime. His stories have been published in Basildon, Southend, Brentwood, Barking and more.
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