With the recent indictments of top editors at News Corporation’s News of the World, analysts say the company will eventually pay out over a billion dollars in fines and lawsuits related to the phone hacking scandal.
The effect on British newspapers will be long lasting.
Via the New York Times:
What is becoming clear, media analysts say, is that the push-the-legal-limits newsroom culture that has gone untrammeled for years at the British tabloids and has even found its way into some of the country’s upmarket broadsheets, including Mr. Murdoch’s Times and Sunday Times, could be a casualty of a new culture of caution…
…Already, some who work at British newspapers say, the scandal has had a chilling effect on newsrooms, with editors, reporters and their proprietors less eager to trumpet splashy exposes that might involve, or be perceived to involve, less than ethical standards of news gathering…
One tabloid journalist, who insisted on anonymity because of concern for his job, lamented what he called the end of the “anything goes” era. “Before, it was a case of ‘Don’t tell me how you get it, just get it,’ ” he said. “Now things are looked at differently.”…
…Media critics say the legacy of the “yellow journalism” of turn-of-the-20th-century America has migrated in recent decades to Fleet Street, the traditional home in London of many of Britain’s most powerful papers. Many editors and reporters nurtured in that culture have migrated abroad, some of them to Murdoch-owned papers in America, Australia and elsewhere, taking their no-holds-barred attitudes with them.
Some critics say Mr. Murdoch’s London tabloids, The Sun and The News of the World, and rivals here that compete for the same scoop-hungry readership of millions, have set a grim and degrading standard of journalism that will not be missed.
Interestingly, some media analysts from both the left and right urge caution as England reviews its journalism culture and regulations.
They fear that overaggressive prosecutions on journalism practices will creep their way up the publishing hierarchy, affecting not just the tabloids behind the phone hacking and checkbook journalism (ie, paying sources for scoops) scandals, but also the aggressive — and legitimate — journalism practiced by more staid broadsheets.
New York Times, Phone-Hacking Charges Seen as Chill on British Journalism.