NEWS – “without comment”
News of the World: 10 years since phone-hacking scandal brought down tabloid
July 10, 2021 – The Guardian
On the anniversary of the Murdoch-owned newspapers final issue, journalists reflect on the Guardian expose that sealed its fate
Ten years ago this morning, newsagents took delivery of the final issue of the news of the world.
But for the man who, through his investigations in the Guardian, set off the events that brought down the UK’s biggest-selling Sunday newspaper, it did not feel like a victory.
“Nobody at the Guardian wanted the News of the World to close down,” said the reporter who exposed the phone-hacking scandal. “We hadn’t even dreamed that the Murdochs would do such a horrible thing.”
Over the course of a few days in July 2011, the News of the World had gone from having tens of millions of readers who every weekend lapped up its agenda-setting mix of sex, scandal and scoops to becoming a pariah publication considered beyond salvation.
It began on the Monday of that week when Davies and colleague Amelia Hill revealed that the News of the World’s reporters had illegally accessed the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
By Thursday, owner Rupert Murdoch had concluded his 168-year-old tabloid had became politically toxic and threatened his takeover of broadcaster Sky.
He abruptly shut the paper down and sacked most of the 200 staff.
“Usually we made the news, but at that point we’d become the news,” said Tom Latchem, the News of the World’s TV editor when it closed, speaking a decade on.”……..
HOW IT BEGAN:
……It was the desire to scoop rivals using almost any method possible that would bring about the downfall of the paper. News editor Greg Miskiw helped introduce phone hacking to the newspaper after learning about it from a private investigator:
“One day during a conversation, he said, you do realise that I can listen to people’s voicemails? And I said, wow, that’s astonishing, we might use that service. And so we did.”
The technique was simple. All it required was knowing an individual’s mobile phone number. The reporter would ring it, hope it went to voicemail, then guess the individual’s PIN – usually still set to the default of ‘0000’ or ‘1234’. They could immediately listen to all the voicemails left on that individual’s phone. In an era before smartphones made it easier to send lengthy text messages, a typical set of voicemails could include everything from declarations of love to private medical information.
“I would choose my targets very, very carefully,” said Miskiw. “But by the time I left the London office, the people put in charge were just hacking everybody. And that’s how it eventually unravelled.”……….
The full sorry story can be read at: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/jul/10/news-of-the-world-10-years-since-phone-hacking-scandal-brought-down-tabloid