Tag Archives: News of the World

Reactions to John Yates’ resignation

As the world of journalism waited with bated breath for Boris Johnson to get his 2pm press conference underway the rumours of a John Yates departure were confirmed.

The assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police resigned after the Metropolitan Police Authority decided to suspend him pending a referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Yates’ resignation comes after questions were raised about his relationship with Neil Wallis, the former executive editor of the News of the World.

Wallis was arrested last week by officers investigating allegations of phone hacking.

London’s mayor was questioned by a number of journalists at the press conference at City Hall, London, and some of his responses are below.

Did you demand Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation?

In an ideal world Paul Stephenson would still be commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service… The trouble was that he had been caught up in a series of decisions relating to the Met’s handing of the News of the World which were going to be extremely distracting.

What Paul really couldn’t face was the idea of this protracted inquiry… at a time when he wanted to concentrate on policing in London.

Of course I was reluctant … but I accept the force of that argument.

Do you regret praising Rupert Murdoch around the time the Milly Dowler relevations first broke?

Well, clearly what the News of the World did was absolutely loathsome and I condemn it – I’m very glad that this gives everybody the opp to get to the bottom of practices across Fleet Street.

Should David Cameron walk over the hiring of Andy Coulson?

I’m not here to discuss government appointments. Those questions you must address to government. I don’t think there’s a very clear read across” [from Sir Paul Stephenson hiring Neil Wallis to Mr Cameron hiring Andy Coulson]. This is a matter you must address to No 10 Downing Street.

Twitter was in a frenzy before Yates’ resignation was announced. Below is a Storify of the immediate reaction.

Media Week: Mail on Sunday targets News of the World readers

The Mail on Sunday is preparing a direct mail campaign, targeting 1.5 million News of the World readers in a bid to capitalise on the newspaper’s closure, according to Media Week.

Marketing bosses for the Mail started planning the marketing campaign the day after the closure of New of the World was announced, the article states.

The campaign kicks off on Monday and the DMGT-owned paper will target homes across the country.

The campaign marks one of the biggest in the Sunday title’s history.

It is thought the publisher is also considering other marketing activities, including above-the-line activity, as it looks to lure the 2.6 million former NotW readers.

The short article goes on to say other Sunday papers the Daily Star Sunday and the Sunday Mirror are preparing “similar promotional blitzes”.

Media Week’s full article is at this link.

 

 

 

Peston: News of the World emails allegedly show police payment requests

The BBC’s business editor Robert Peston claims to have learned from a source that News of the World emails uncovered by News International in 2007 appeared to show money requests from a reporter for payments to be made to royal protection officers for information.

According to a source, the e-mails include requests by a reporter for sums of about £1,000 to pay police officers in the royal protection branch for the information. The phone details could have been used to hack phones of the royal family.

Read more on Peston’s blog here…

Independent: Plan hatched by media figures to rescue News of the World

According to a report in the Independent today a group of media and business figures are putting together a plan to rescue the News of the World which published its last edition on Sunday.

This followed a week of shocking revelations and allegations made against the Sunday tabloid relating to both phone hacking and payments to police. According to the Independent’s report the group of figures is attempting to “revive the title as a responsible investigative newspaper”.

At the centre of the group is Susan Douglas, a former editor of the Sunday Express, a former deputy editor of the Sunday Times, and a former executive in numerous media organisations.

… Ms Douglas has been holding talks with leading media owners and venture capitalists, but said that a rescue attempt would need to be made quickly before the opportunity to save the 168-year-old title was lost.

You can read up on all the latest in the phone hacking scandal at this link.

Jeremy Hunt considering impact of News of the World closure on BSkyB bid

In a statement today the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is currently considering whether the announcement regarding the News of the World’s closure has any impact on the question of media plurality in relation to News Corporation’s bid for BSkyB.

The latest consultation on the bid closed at noon today. At the end of last month Hunt said he plans to give the takeover bid the go ahead, subject to a minor new consultation.

In a statement the DCMS said Hunt had “always been clear that he will take as long as is needed to reach a decision”.

The secretary of state will consider carefully all the responses submitted and take advice from Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading before reaching his decision. Given the volume of responses, we anticipate that this will take some time. He will consider all relevant factors including whether the announcement regarding the News of the World’s closure has any impact on the question of media plurality.

Guardian: Police investigate claims NI executive deleted emails

Police are investigating allegations that a News International executive deleted millions of emails between News of the World editors from an internal archive, the Guardian claims.

The newspaper, which has uncovered much of the phone-hacking scandal, states the deletion of emails is an apparent attempt to obstruct Scotland Yard’s inquiry.

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 Guardian investigation also reveals News International:

• infuriated police by leaking sensitive information in spite of an undertaking to police that it would keep it confidential; and

• risked prosecution for perverting the course of justice by trying to hide the contents of a senior reporter’s desk after he was arrested by Weeting detectives in April.

The article goes on to explain the background to the emails and claims they could not be accessed or had been lost en route to a data centre in India.

The original archive was said to contain half a terabyte of data – equivalent to 500 editions of Encyclopaedia Britannica. But police now believe that there was an effort to substantially destroy the archive before News International handed over their new evidence in January. They believe they have identified the executive responsible by following an electronic audit trail. They have attempted to retrieve the data which they fear was lost. The Crown Prosecution Service is believed to have been asked whether the executive can be charged with perverting the course of justice.

The Guardian’s full article is at this link

Timeline: Phone hacking and the end of the News of the World

An interactive timeline, starting in March 2003 when Rebekah Brooks (then Wade) speaks about paying police for stories to a committee of MPs.

It features an hour by hour account of events this week and includes the Guardian revealing how Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked, further allegations of cases, the pulling out of advertisers, yesterday’s announcement that the News of the World is to close and today’s arrests.

Click and drag the timeline to see how the phone hacking scandal unravelled and click on the + signs to expand details:

Reaction round-up on News of the World closure

The morning after the announcement that News International is to scrap the News of the World has predictably spawned a variety of reaction from the blogosphere.

Despite rumours that folding the newspaper in favour of a seven day Sun had been on the cards for a while (TheSunOnSunday.co.uk, TheSunOnSunday.com and SunOnSunday.co.uk were all registered on July 5, albeit by a private individual), a source at News International confirmed today that a Sunday edition of the paper wouldn’t be on the cards for several weeks to come.

This morning Times today led with a story that the collapse in advertising was due to online protest and the final nail in the coffin for the paper.

The withdrawal of advertising appeared to be in response to a public backlash that had been led primarily on the internet. Thousands of people had used Twitter and Facebook to express their outrage at allegations of phone hacking at the paper.

This was after a list of the News of the World’s advertising clients had been published online, encouraging people to send Twitter messages to the companies to express concern at the activities of the paper’s journalists.

You can read the full article here (behind the paywall).

Emily Bell, director of the Tow Centre for Digital Journalism and former director of digital content for Guardian News & Media sees the decision as part of a long line of bold and audacious moves from the Murdochs, from the bid to buy the Times, to the launch of Sky News, and recently the proposed takeover of BSkyB.

James’s Wapping moment sees him making a gesture he hopes will be grand enough to soften the focus of any phone-hacking inquiry, bold enough to allow the company to extricate itself from present trouble and, in the process, allow him to reshape News International around the digital television platforms he feels both more comfortable with and which are undoubtedly more profitable.

But what about the wider implications? Many are agreed that the decision is brutal and the loss of 200 journalists terrible, but Andrew Gilligan, London editor for the Sunday Telegraph, argues that it could also give way to a muzzled British press in the future. As talk turns to how press regulation should be managed, Gilligan says:

For be in no doubt: hateful as the behaviour of some journalists has been, we may now face something even worse. For many in power, or previously in power, the News of the World’s crimes are a God-given opening to diminish one of the greatest checks on that power: the media.

Regulation was also on Alan Rusbridger‘s mind yesterday, when he took part in a live Q & A regarding phone hacking (before NI announced the News of the World’s closure). Rusbridger drew attention to alleged weaknesses of the PCC (the code committee of which Rusbridger quit in November 2009) and the quandary of state v self-regulation. Today the Press Complaints Commission sought to defend its work following calls for it to be scrapped by both Labour leader Ed Miliband and prime minister David Cameron.

This hasn’t been a wonderful advertisement for self-regulation. The short answer is that, no, the PCC can’t go on as it is. Its credibility is hanging by a thread.

We did say this back in November 2009 when the PCC came out with its laughable report into phone-hacking. We said in an editorial that this was a dangerous day for press regulation – and so it’s turned out.

The PCC has this week withdrawn that report and has a team looking at the issues and at the mistakes it’s made in the past.

I don’t know how Ofcom could do the job without falling into the category of statutory regulation. Does anyone else?

On her blog former Channel 4 presenter Samira Ahmed also draws some comparisons with the past, saying that the affair is “only my second major moral outcry against the news media” during her twenty years in journalism, the first being the death of Princess Diana. Hugh Grant has won public approval over the last week or so because of his overt opposition to phonehacking, but Ahmed is wary of putting people like Grant on a pedestal.

Many celebrities understand the privacy trade-off with press coverage, or get their lawyers to settle a payoff. Incidentally we should be wary of deifying celebrities, such as Hugh Grant, who have publicly defended the principle of rich people taking out superinjunctions to cover up their bad behaviour, when there might be a legitimate public interest. But I’ve met ordinary people over the years whose suffering has been deeply compounded by salacious press intrusion.

News of the World: Reaction to closure of 168-year-old title

The News of the World has announced it is to close, with the final edition to be published this Sunday, and already the blogs have begun posting reaction.

Paul Bradshaw writes:

It took almost exactly 3 days – 72 hours – to kill off a 168-year-old brand. Yes, there were other allegations and two years in the lead up to The Guardian’s revelation that Milly Dowler was targeted by the newspaper. But Milly Dowler and the various other ordinary people who happened to be caught up in newsworthy events (kidnappings, victims of terrorist attacks, families of dead soldiers), were what turned the whole affair.

So while the Sun may be moving to seven-day production, that doesn’t make this a rebranding or a relaunch. As of Monday, The News of the World brand is dead, 168 years of journalistic history offered up as a sacrifice.

Charlie Beckett comments:

From the Newscorp point of view this is a sensible way to try to put this scandal into the past and to separate it from the BSkyB deal. It does not get to the bottom of the phone-hacking issue, however, leaving big questions against Rebekah Brooks. It does seem that Rupert Murdoch would rather shut a newspaper than sack his loyal lieutenant.

While the Huffington Post is now leading with “End Of The World” as its liveblog of the closure.