By Mark Thompson
The opinions discussed are his own.
In the UK we are going through an unprecedented crisis in journalism, a crisis with the boundaries and techniques of investigative journalism at its heart.
By John Lloyd
The views expressed are his own.
The crisis at the News of the World broke in July 2011. It had been gathering for five years, since the first public intimations surfaced in 2006 of a culture of using private investigators to hack into the mobile phones of those the newspaper wished to investigate. Two ‘rotten apples’ were thrown out by News International, the parent company: these were Glen Mulcaire, the private investigator employed by a number of papers to find out secrets of the objects of their investigations; and Clive Goodman, the News of the World (NotW ) reporter who covered the royal family and whose stories had used material gleaned by Mulcaire from interceptions of the royal princes’ phones. The rest of the barrel, the paper and the company said, was unblemished: as evidence of purity of soul, the then editor, Andy Coulson, resigned, disavowing all knowledge of the hacking but shouldering responsibility as the one on whose watch this had happened. A few months later, he was employed as director of communications by David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party and of the opposition; when Cameron moved, in May 2010, into Number 10 as prime minister, Coulson retained his post and moved with him. It was reported that several of those who met Cameron at this time warned him against employing Coulson. The latter’s claim, that he had not asked a senior reporter about the source of stories which would be among the most important published in any given week, astonished those who had any acquaintance with journalism. However, Cameron said he accepted his word, that Coulson deserved a ‘second chance’ and that he had skills which the leader of the opposition needed.
A sordid tale of excess and brutality, of a world dominated by journalists with their ears to the keyhole, of tyrannical newspapers wielding remarkable power and of a political class not only cowed, but consumed, by that power.
By John Lloyd
The opinions expressed are his own.
There’s an old saying, which Scots still exchange with each other, usually humorously: “Aweel, ye ken noo” – well, you know now. It harks back to when Scots life was dominated by the stern Presbyterianism engrained into it by Calvin’s disciple, John Knox: when direct, personal accountability to God was at the center of the faith, and the Church of Scotland, the “Kirk,” policed the morals of society with enthusiastic rigor. “Well ye ken noo” was the generic cry of the godly to the un-godly, faced with the prospect of the fires of hell, having ignored the warnings of the faithful in a life of dissipation.
UK opposition leader Ed Miliband called on the British media to clean up its image and emphasized the need for a speedy public inquiry into the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Watch clips of Miliband’s comments at a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event below:
After this post was published, News Corp indicated that it did not plan any liquidation of assets in connection with the shutdown of the News of the World newspaper. In the absence of a liquidation, the scenario laid out by Mark Stephens does not apply.
News Corp announced on Monday it is expanding its Capitol Hill government affairs office by promoting veterans Bill Guidera and David Fares to senior vice president and adding two more execs in Kathy Ramsey and Kristopher Jones to the Washington team.
Rupert Murdoch used News Corp's fiscal fourth quarter conference call on Wednesday to say he wants to be paid ANYTIME his news is read online. Perhaps he was just in a cranky mood, but most of the reporters listening to the call thinks he's going beyond what he's said many times before on the topic.