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)