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Correspondent&#39s week

Winter is here, leaving me once again questioning the wisdom of cycling to work. It may only be five miles into the office but when I started using the bike it was summertime. Now that seems an age ago.

We crack on with features on the forthcoming base rate rise and insuring against the cold weather. It could be a tough winter.

Tuesday is crunch time. In early to finish off features and work on news before editorial conference at 11am, explaining to the Express editor and other section heads what I am planning for the next day&#39s section.

The trick is to make your stories sound interesting enough for the room not to fall asleep – tough when you are competing with the latest Diana revelations – but not so good that the editor wants to pinch them.

As usual, I get the balance all wrong and the newsdesk want my best story – a sneak preview of this week&#39s The Money Programme, which we have been told will expose advisers working at several Halifax Bank subsidiaries as committing fraud.

I return from the conference with a heavy heart. It is great that the Express takes personal finance so seriously but it leaves my colleague Esther Shaw with a long day of writing the splash ahead of her and me with a hole on the front of the section.

Fortunately, the Government announces child trust funds for the fourth time in two years and there is just enough new detail to justify putting the story on the front of the section.

Wednesday is another frantic day. I have known for weeks that my oldest university friend is flying in from Australia with his wife and small baby and I have promised to collect them from the airport.

So when Drew Wotherspoon originally called to invite me to Bradford & Bingley&#39s Personal Finance Media Awards bash, I conscientiously said no. But Drew was insistent and promised me that turning up would be worth my while.

Come 7pm, I delay setting off from the Express for just five more minutes to watch the result of the Iain Duncan Smith no-confidence vote, before rushing off to the Cinnamon Club in Westminster for the awards.

Need not have bothered hanging around the office as the IDS press conference turns out to be practically next door to the B&B do and I have to cycle through hordes of political hacks to make it. Finally pitch up just in time for the awards presentation.

Drew was not telling fibs. I am hugely chuffed when the Daily Express is announced as runner-up in the best personal finance tabloid newspaper section – only to be even more pleased when the Sunday Express takes the winner&#39s prize. Two visits to the podium in the space of just 30 seconds.

I feel duty-bound to hear the rest of the winners announced before jumping back on the bike and rushing home, trophy clutched carefully in hand. I just make it back out to Heathrow in time to pick up the travellers, who have presciently brought me champagne all the way from Oz. Drew must have tipped them off, too.

Back in the office, Thursday and Friday are spent in a frantic rush getting Sunday&#39s section finished with one hand and preparing features for the following Wednesday.

It is tough having two taskmasters. I am once again surprised by how generous people can be. Two days after we splashed the paper on Halifax&#39s misdoings, the bank&#39s Mark Hemingway drops me a lovely email congratulating the Express on our awards. He is a bigger man than me.

We wave the last page of Sunday&#39s section off with another cracking story about tax credit mistakes.

I reckon that the scheme has helped more personal finance journalists with space to fill than it has families in need of an income boost.

David Prosser is personal finance editor at The Express


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