Picture The Age newsroom at the end of silly season. To be clear, picture it on the afternoon and evening of Friday 16 January, the day on which the column by Michael Backman made its way in to print resulting, as I reported yesterday, in horror, embarrassment and apology.

Today more details of how the column made its way to print have come to light. The account below has been stitched together from half a dozen sources observing the action, although several of those who know most are not talking.