CHARLES THOMSON

 

Freelance Writer/Reporter

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About Charles...

Michael Jackson

Charles Thomson's knowledge of Michael Jackson is such that the star's brother Jermaine once exclaimed, "He knows more than I do!"

Charles is regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on Michael Jackson. Having written about the star for various publications and contributed to two best-selling biographies, his work has been praised by Jackson's family, friends and colleagues.

His intricately researched features on particular chapters in Jackson's life, from the recording of his last music video to his devastating 2005 trial, have led to a string of interviews for television and radio stations across Europe and America.

Charles on Sky News

At just 20 years old Charles began using his network of insider sources to provide Michael Jackson scoops to the UK's biggest newspaper, The Sun. It all began when a member of Jackson's camp gave the young reporter an invaluable tip-off.

On Tuesday 3rd March 2009, Charles received word from an inside source as to where and when Michael Jackson would be landing in the UK to announce a string of comeback concerts at London's O2 Arena. Using the young writer's information, The Sun was able to snap exclusive pictures of Jackson disembarking his private jet at a secluded airstrip in Luton.

Two days later Charles was invited to attend Jackson's press conference at the O2, which would become the star's last ever appearance before an audience. Charles was also present at Jackson's last public performance, when he appeared at the World Music Awards in London in November 2006.

In the months after Michael Jackson's press conference Charles continued to work for The Sun as a Jackson expert. During this time he provided tip-offs and sourced pictures, generating many exclusive stories.

On the night of Michael Jackson's death, Charles was interviewed live on air by Sky News, BBC News 24 and BBC World Service.

In the weeks and months after Jackson's sudden death Charles continued to work for The Sun, providing stories, pictures and background information. His work included facilitating an interview with Jackson's former manager Dieter Wiesner and investigating the star's final rehearsals.

Most notably, Charles instigated a Sun investigation which proved that old demo vocals had been passed off as live vocals in the concert film 'This Is It', showing that the footage was not an accurate representation of the star's final performances and casting doubt on organisers' claims that they had no idea Jackson was unwell or using drugs in the lead-up to his death.

Charles has become internationally known for challenging the media's unfair coverage of the embattled star. One of the youngest writers ever to be given his own Huffington Post blog, his first two pieces dealt with shoddy reporting on Michael Jackson, using the star's coverage as a microcosm for wider journalistic failings.

A June 2010 article for the Huffington Post, titled 'One of the Most Shameful Episodes in Journalistic History', saw Charles delve into newspaper archives and court transcripts in order to write a scathing account of the media's shambolic coverage of Jackson's trial.

The piece won the acclaim of Jackson's trial lawyers Thomas Mesereau and Susan Yu, who continue to refer journalists with trial queries to Charles's Huffington Post blog. The article has been quoted in two highly publicised Jackson biographies - Joe Vogel's 'Man In The Music' and Randall Sullivan's 'Untouchable: The Strange Life And Tragic Death of Michael Jackson'. Fellow Jackson biographers Aphrodite Jones and J Randy Taraborrelli have also praised the article.

The article also won Charles the respect of Jackson's friends and family. A year later, when Jermaine Jackson flew to London to promote his autobiography, he asked for a private meeting with Charles ahead of a book signing and granted him an interview two days later. When the surviving members of the Jackson 5 reunited 18 months later to play their first London concert in almost 40 years, Jermaine gave Charles his only solo interview promoting the gig and invited him backstage as a VIP guest to meet his brothers.

(C) Charles Thomson

As well as Jermaine Jackson, Charles has conducted extensive interviews with several of Michael Jackson's confidantes. In early 2010, for US website Sawf News, he published profile features on Jackson's tour guitarist of 10 years, Jennifer Batten, and 'This Is It' dancer Kriyss Grant, who spoke for the first time about his misgivings over the controversial concerts.

Other stories for Sawf News included 'Making A Mountain Out Of A Molar', which exposed shocking hyperbole and misleading claims in a TMZ story about Michael Jackson.

He also produced an in-depth feature titled 'How Michael Jackson's Movie Dream Turned Into A Nightmare', which explored the making of the singer's final music video, 'One More Chance'. For the article he interviewed Jackson's colleagues, collaborators and co-stars, exploring not only Jackson's on-set performances but also the context within which the video was produced and the shocking raid on Neverland Ranch which caused the project to be abandoned. Jackson's former publicist Stuart Backerman called the article 'one of the best written, truest and most emotionally balanced articles on Michael Jackson's legacy'.

Charles's extensive written work on Michael Jackson has led to TV and radio appearances in Europe and America, including an appearance on Sky News in the midst of Dr Conrad Murray's trial and an interview about the aftermath of the trial on French TV station M6.

Charles on M6

Charles has also contributed to two best-selling Michael Jackson biographies.

In July 2009 Charles was approached by Headline Publishing to contribute to the book 'Michael Jackson - Life of a Legend'. Charles provided a half-page article on Jackson's fame and influence, focusing on how the star had helped to shape his own career as a music journalist. The book topped the UK chart for three consecutive weeks and became an instant international bestseller.

In early 2010 Charles was contacted by internationally renowned biographer J Randy Taraborrelli, who asked to quote the young writer's coverage of Jackson's FBI files, commenting that nobody had covered the event more eloquently. He also asked Charles to write additional contributions about the FBI files and about his experience attending Jackson's final press conference at the O2 Arena. Charles's contributions were featured in the Summer 2010 re-issue of 'The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story'.

 

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