Editors of the Mirror and the Times were today questioned at the Society of Editors conference about their coverage of the phone-hacking scandal.
Editor of the Times James Harding said earlier on in the scandal that the newspaper’s decisions were informed by “a combination of the company denying it, police saying there was nothing to see and an issue of rivalry”.
I look back and think why didn’t we jump on it? There’s often the sense that there’s an agenda there so I think when that story broke in the Guardian there was a tendency to see that and when news broke the police came out and said there’s nothing to see here. That did inform the thinking.
It was only as a few more pieces fell into place … I remember thinking there is something that is seriously wrong here.
He said following more allegations of wrongdoing the “engines fired up a bit” at the Times and there was “a real attempt to ensure we were reporting on it as any other story.”
Editor of the Mirror Richard Wallace added that when it first started “it was very much a meeja story”.
We didn’t think our readers were interested in it and frankly they weren’t.