It seems that journalists can get a little too into their job. The fascinating story of Macedonian news reporter/serial killer Vlado Taneski in 2008 made the headlines, unsurprisingly, but it was the desire for a good scoop in today’s 24/7, always-switched-on world that was at the root of the whole thing.
Maybe Taneski thought news was slow in his particular neck of the woods. Maybe he thought covering political shenanigans or the progress of the Republic of Macedonia’s football team too boring to contemplate. Whatever went through his mind, the solution to his problem is one few of us could undertake.
The competition to be ‘front page news’ is fierce, which often fuels journalists to bend rules and offer bribes to capture a story no one else has told. In Taneski’s case, this competition saw him murder three women.
His crime spree was caught short after police started to pay attention to his “in-depth coverage” of the murders. The stories his paper ran contained details of the crime that hadn’t been released to the public, and which could only have been known by someone who was actually there as the crime took place.
Taneski was described by his editors as “mild-mannered but persuasive”. They were only too happy to run his pieces, given that very little crime occurred in their neck of the woods (which housed a population of less than 20,000), and more so, because of the level of detail he was able to provide, such as the murder weapon used and how the women died.
However, a fellow reporter at the ‘Nova Makedonija’, the paper Taneski wrote for, said, “To tell the truth, I didn’t believe the story – almost nothing happens in Macedonia, and suddenly we had a serial killer stalking our tiny country.” It seemed that this disbelief was common amongst Taneski’s colleagues, who couldn’t believe their affable friend could be responsible for the murder of the three women.
Once police delved deeper into Taneski’s background they found relevant signs that this could have been within his nature. The three victims were all cleaners, as Taneski’s mother had been when alive, and it was said that they all bore a “striking resemblance” to her, too. His relationship with his mother had been a troubled one, and Taneski had also endured the suicide of his father years before.
Rather than serve time for the murders, Taneski drowned himself in a bucket of water in prison. Though three women lost their lives in the pursuit of Taneski’s ambition to have his story on the front page, it appears that he achieved what he set out to do: his story, apparently, “riveted” readers as they saw it unfold and the circulation of the paper increased.
Writing a best-seller is all well and good, if you can stay on the right side of the law – which is something we help authors with in our bespoke crime-writer workshops. Our law-enforcement professionals can be interrogated for details concerning past crimes, forensic procedure, the judicial process and much more. No one has to get hurt!
The next workshop is September 10 2017. For more details, contact 01484 860599.