Posts tagged news of the world

How Phone Hacking Indictments are Changing British Journalism

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.

I am not guilty of these charges. I did not authorise, nor was I aware of, phone hacking under my editorship. I am distressed and angry that the [Crown Prosecution Service] have reached this decision when they knew all the facts and were in a position to stop the case at this stage. The charge concerning Milly Dowler is particularly upsetting not only as it is untrue but also because I have spent my journalistic career campaigning for victims of crime. I will vigorously defend these allegations.

Statement from Rebekah Brooks, former News International chief executive, reacting to news that British prosecutors believe they have enough evidence to charge her along with others with criminal conspiracy in the ongoing phone hacking scandal.

The Guardian, Phone hacking: Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and six others face charges [live blog].

Background via the Guardian:

British prosecutors say they have the evidence to prove there was a criminal conspiracy at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper involving former senior executives, including Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, to hack the phones of more than 600 people including the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

Announcing the charging of eight people over the phone-hacking scandal on Tuesday, prosecutors alleged the tabloid’s targets ranged from a victim of the 7 July 2005 terrorist attacks to celebrities and senior Labour politicians.

Coulson left the editorship of the News of the World in 2007 after a journalist and private investigator were convicted of phone hacking, and would go on to be appointed as director of communications for the Conservative party. After the 2010 election Coulson worked in Downing Street for David Cameron, who said he deserved a “second chance”, as one of the prime minister’s most senior advisers, before Coulson resigned as renewed controversy over phone hacking grew.

Prosecutors say other victims of hacking include former senior Labour cabinet ministers such as the former deputy prime minister John Prescott, two former home secretaries, David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, and the former culture secretary Tessa Jowell.

News Scandals are Theatrical

Via Journalism.co.uk:

The “current crisis” engulfing UK newspaper journalism has inspired a new fast-turnaround theatre production that will launch in Glasgow at the end of April.

The National Theatre of Scotland and the London Review of Books have teamed up to produce Enquirer, which will be performed in an empty floor of an office block in Glasgow’s digital media quarter at Pacific Quay, before moving to London later in the year.

It is based on more than 50 interviews with people working in the newspaper industry - from reporters to printers and newsagents - conducted by journalists Paul Flynn, Deborah Orr and Ruth Wishart.

The transcripts from the interviews will be edited into a script, and the project will be updated throughout the rehearsal and performance period to reflect the current state of events in the phone hacking story and the Leveson inquiry.

More Dirty Little Secrets about Tabloid Journalism

selloutsamizdat:

The AP has a nice story about many other standard, shameful practices at News of the World. It’s a blood-in-the-water kind of moment for the mainstream press. But the mainstream press should not throw stones. This kind of stuff happens everywhere, including at the AP. I know. I used to work there.

shortformblog:

Rupert Murdoch’s empire, in graphical form: Tumblr’s new multi-photo layout feature seems really freaking cool to us. So we had this idea for seeing how we’d use it to present news. Our subject? Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. — mainly, to emphasize the scope of the dude’s empire. We created this in about an hour using InDesign. Enjoy! (Some sources we used: Mogulite, L.A. Times, The Guardian, The National Post, News Corp.)

News of the World phone hacking whistleblower found dead

Via the Guardian:

Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbiz reporter who was the first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead, the Guardian has learned.

Hoare, who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Coulson before being dismissed for drink and drugs problems, is said to have been found dead at his Watford home.

Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but the force said in a statement: “At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.

"The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing.”

Guardian Visualization of the News of the World Scandal

The Guardian tracked half a million tweets over a four day period to analyze how people on the social network were talking about News of the World.

This is what it looks like.

Source.

The Daily Show: Jon Stewart and John Oliver take on the News of the World phone hacking scandal.

Earlier today, Paul Mason of the BBC wrote:

The strength of the Murdoch newspaper and TV empire was that it occupied the commanding heights of a kind of journalism that dispenses power, intimidates and influences politicians and shapes political outcomes…
…The primary function of these journalistic centres of power is to dispense approval or disapproval to politicians. A News International journalist is reported to have said to Labour leader Ed Miliband: “You’ve made it personal with [former News of the World editor and current News International executive] Rebekah [Brooks] so we’re going to make it personal with you.”
That is the kind of power that, until about 1500 on Thursday, journalists in that circle could wield.

A now we pass the baton to shortformblog:

What is the cost of hacking into a major politician’s voice mail?
This fire keeps burning: In the wake of the scandal and subsequent closure of News Of The World, British society has been thrust into a debate about journalistic ethics, and for former PM Gordon Brown the matter isn’t just academic; in addition to the scurrilous behavior we mentioned earlier, Brown specifically believes journalists tried to access his voice mails. We confess ignorance on British law, but this seems like the sort of thing that could easily be called a national security risk, which would be bad news for whoever was calling the shots. News International ended News Of The World altogether to try to nip this cell hacking story in the bud. Even if they had the zeal to shut down The Sun and the Sunday Times as well, it’s too late now. This story looks nowhere near finished. (Photo courtesy Remy Steinegger/World Economic Forum). source

Earlier today, Paul Mason of the BBC wrote:

The strength of the Murdoch newspaper and TV empire was that it occupied the commanding heights of a kind of journalism that dispenses power, intimidates and influences politicians and shapes political outcomes…

…The primary function of these journalistic centres of power is to dispense approval or disapproval to politicians. A News International journalist is reported to have said to Labour leader Ed Miliband: “You’ve made it personal with [former News of the World editor and current News International executive] Rebekah [Brooks] so we’re going to make it personal with you.”

That is the kind of power that, until about 1500 on Thursday, journalists in that circle could wield.

A now we pass the baton to shortformblog:

What is the cost of hacking into a major politician’s voice mail?

This fire keeps burning: In the wake of the scandal and subsequent closure of News Of The World, British society has been thrust into a debate about journalistic ethics, and for former PM Gordon Brown the matter isn’t just academic; in addition to the scurrilous behavior we mentioned earlier, Brown specifically believes journalists tried to access his voice mails. We confess ignorance on British law, but this seems like the sort of thing that could easily be called a national security risk, which would be bad news for whoever was calling the shots. News International ended News Of The World altogether to try to nip this cell hacking story in the bud. Even if they had the zeal to shut down The Sun and the Sunday Times as well, it’s too late now. This story looks nowhere near finished. (Photo courtesy Remy Steinegger/World Economic Forum). source

Today marks the marks the end of the 168-year-old News of the World, the English-speaking world’s largest circulation newspaper. A scandal where journalists and hired investigators hacked the phones of politicians, celebrities and ordinary citizens in order to scoop the latest tabloid sensation is its final legacy.
The Guardian bids them adieu in a Sunday editorial:

Suddenly, Rupert Murdoch seems much less a global mogul, much more a diminished man of glass. He flies into London this weekend from Sun Valley, Idaho, in time for the last rites of the most successful Sunday newspaper in Britain, the News of the World. One hundred and sixty-eight years ago, it pledged: “Our motto is the truth, our practice is fearless advocacy of the truth.” After today, the tabloid will appear no more, felled not by one royal rogue reporter but by the arrogance, ambition and apparent tolerance of systemic criminal behaviour by members of the senior News International management…
…The senior management at News International were abject in their failure – through lack of insight or enthusiasm – to get to the root of the problem. They failed their victims, they failed their journalists and they failed the News of the World.  

The Guardian, Murdoch’s malign influence must die with the News of the World.

Today marks the marks the end of the 168-year-old News of the World, the English-speaking world’s largest circulation newspaper. A scandal where journalists and hired investigators hacked the phones of politicians, celebrities and ordinary citizens in order to scoop the latest tabloid sensation is its final legacy.

The Guardian bids them adieu in a Sunday editorial:

Suddenly, Rupert Murdoch seems much less a global mogul, much more a diminished man of glass. He flies into London this weekend from Sun Valley, Idaho, in time for the last rites of the most successful Sunday newspaper in Britain, the News of the World. One hundred and sixty-eight years ago, it pledged: “Our motto is the truth, our practice is fearless advocacy of the truth.” After today, the tabloid will appear no more, felled not by one royal rogue reporter but by the arrogance, ambition and apparent tolerance of systemic criminal behaviour by members of the senior News International management

…The senior management at News International were abject in their failure – through lack of insight or enthusiasm – to get to the root of the problem. They failed their victims, they failed their journalists and they failed the News of the World.  

The Guardian, Murdoch’s malign influence must die with the News of the World.

There are plenty of examples of reporters going to extreme lengths to satisfy exacting news desks without quite veering into obvious criminality. There was the tabloid freelancer who hid in a church organ for several days, defecating in a plastic bag, to get pictures of Madonna’s baby’s christening; there was the time Rebekah Brooks, then a lowly reporter, disguised herself as a cleaner to infiltrate the newsroom of a sister publication and nab a copy of their scoop.

But the great tapestry of tabloid infamy has always been viewed as an entertaining appendage to public life, mischievous rather than malicious. The UK press looks across the Atlantic and—with, to my British sensibility, some justification—views a moribund print culture that spends more time pontificating about morals than getting stories and making them interesting to readers. As the former Times editor and Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins once put it, “I was trained as a reptile lurking in the gutter whose sole job was ‘to get the bloody story.’” Not for nothing does the trophy for the country’s most prestigious investigative journalism award, the Bevins Prize, show a determined rat nosing up a drainpipe.

In the May/June issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, Archie Bland wrote about the News of the World phone-hacking scandal and why there was relative silence in the English media about it over the past few years. 

In doing so, he explores the country’s cutthroat media culture and suggests that most ignored the issue because most were most likely doing the same.

Archie Bland, Columbia Journalism Review. Anybody There? Why the UK’s phone-hacking scandal met media silence.

Police Suspect News International Deleting Millions of Emails

Via the Guardian:

Police are investigating evidence that a News International executive may have deleted millions of emails from an internal archive, in an apparent attempt to obstruct Scotland Yard’s inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal.

The archive is believed to have reached back to January 2005 revealing daily contact between News of the World editors, reporters and outsiders, including private investigators. The messages are potentially highly valuable both for the police and for the numerous public figures who are suing News International.

According to legal sources close to the police inquiry, a senior executive is believed to have deleted ‘massive quantities’ of the archive on two separate occasions, leaving only a small fraction to be disclosed. One of the alleged deletions is said to have been made at the end of January this year, just as Scotland Yard was launching Operation Weeting, its new inquiry into the affair.

The allegation directly contradicts repeated claims from News International that it is co-operating fully with police in order to expose its history of illegal news-gathering. It is likely to be seen as evidence that the company could not pass a ‘fit and proper person’ test for its proposed purchase of BSkyB.

Takeaway: Things can always get worse.

Time Once Was: News of the World circa 1870
The Financial Times has an interesting video analyzing the paper’s closing and its wider implications.
Photo: Via BBC In Pictures.

Time Once Was: News of the World circa 1870

The Financial Times has an interesting video analyzing the paper’s closing and its wider implications.

Photo: Via BBC In Pictures.