More reporters will go undercover more often than ever in 2011, to capitalize on the vast number of aging, fleshy men with a dollop of power and a propensity for bigging themselves up.
Editors at publications across the UK have decided the only way to go is entrapment, old fashioned digging and sourcing generally being considered too hard and too time consuming. Additionally, the thoroughly discredited state of the media is making it trickier to be granted a conventional interview.
"Yes, the Cable Fable method is grubby and stunty and hardly the same kind of transparency and accountability we demand from everybody we go after," said editor Judas DuPlicitay. "And it's arguably even flat out dishonest. But really, at this, point, nobody will talk to us any other way."
Even editors at the most venerable publications are plotting a series of traps aimed at dropping the guard of powerbrokers.
"Actually, I think it represents a great stride forward in British journalism," said one highly principled broadsheet editor, who declined to be quoted by name. "Not for us duping minor Royals, we're only targeting the FTSE 100 and Cabinet. Otherwise, it's a broadsheet filled with 'Vladimir Putin's 'mistress' on cover of Russian Vogue' and 'What Celebrities Wear to Go Christmas Shopping.' Some of us still want to commit real journalism and there's no level we won't sink to in order to produce it."
A parallel benefit of the strategy is the anticipated creation of thousands of new positions in the media for tarty, flash women of a certain age and wispy young gay men with incredible pouts and Justin Beiber hair.
"Since most of our targets are middle aged and older men, obviously we need a new breed of undercover reporter; one with a look that suggests I'm happy to stare at the ceiling or bite the pillow once you've suitably impressed me with what a big, powerful, important man you are," offered managing editor Benedict Fudge. "Let's be honest, the ranks of our established reporters aren't exactly gifted in the come-hither-look department. One wink from one them and you'd run the other way. "
While preferable to rifling through bins under cover of darkenss, the new strategy is not without its challenges. Most editors plan to offer current staff facing redundancy the chance to tart themselves up to reflect the new standard for fearless pursuit of truth and fact.
"We're giving them training in things like wearing low-cut leopard print tops or being friendly. I mean, these are journalists after all, so they're not rich in social skills. Some established reporters may do very well under cover. Well, all except Jan Moir. I mean, you can't miss her, can you?"