I’m still in shock after hearing that the News of the World is to close. As a young cub reporter I used to admire its undercover work and stand against injustice. However, in its desperation for sales and survival, it overstretched the limits of human decency, arousing national revulsion – and a swift withdrawal from advertisers. Its fate was sealed.
I wonder how many more sickening revelations would have unfolded over the next few days, and I hope that those responsible are still held to account for their illegal phone hacking activities.
I remember once being asked to “doorstep” Clive James for the News of the World. I was commissioned by them to call at his house in Cambridge with a tape recorder and ask about reported sightings of him being seen Latin American dancing with a lady.
I shook as I rang his doorbell, feeling a bit of a lowlife, and felt even worse after his daughter answered who I had taken under my wing when she did work experience at the Cambridge News where I was working at the time. I could barely look into her face as I explained why I was there, and had get her answer on a tape recorder. Thankfully, her parents were out, and I scuttled off, unable to hold my head up high.
This work was not for me, but even with the demise of the News of the World, it’s still the bread and butter stuff of our other tabloids. As the debate over super injunctions continues too, our media’s reputation is as low as it gets. However, it’s still a vital core for our democracy and most journalists are decent and professional and pushed beyond the limits to get a scoop. But the deliberate invasion of privacy by phone tapping of individuals in the most terrible circumstances takes the gutter press to an all-time low.
I am personally against newspapers paying for stories. If this was banned, it would no longer feed the parasite that feeds the media…..