Thursday, 7 July 2011

The obligatory reaction-to-phone-hacking-scandal post

Unless you've been living in the back of beyond (or, like a certain Miss Brooks, you happen to be on holiday every time something big kicks off), you will have heard of the phone hacking scandal to hit the News of the World recently, and it's subsequent closure.

As an aspiring journalist, the press surrounding the press has in recent weeks worried me. The injunction hype involving a certain person who may-or-may-not-have-done-something-and-who-you-may-or-may-not-know-but-I-can't-tell-you has left many journalists with their hands tied, and their freedom of speech removed. As a demographic, I think that the journalist world received much sympathy, or at least empathy, from the general public when this gagging left them unable to go about their day to day jobs. Now, however, the general public are left questioning the integrity of the entire journalistic community due to the unjustifiable acts of a select few (several of whom were not actually journalists, but private investigators), and had left people questioning whether further action needs to be taken to restrict the way in which investigative journalists go about their day to day jobs.

In addition to the people who were hacked, there are other victims here. The current employees of NotW, many of whom won't have been working for the paper back in 2002 when this started, and even those who were are unlikely to have known anything about this scandal, let alone been involved. They are now out of a job, although there is a rumour that News International will be able to offer some of them jobs in other brands of their massive empire. Those who aren't so lucky will likely have their names blackened just by association with NotW, thus hindering their abilities to find employment elsewhere.

 Like many, I am expecting to see a brand new Sunday paper launched by News International within the next couple of weeks. As far as I can see, it's a win-win situation for Murdoch and co; Despite pulling all advertising on this week's edition of NotW just hours before it was announced that it was to be the final one, they're bound to make a fortune off of the back of it. Despite many readers initially intending to boycott it, there will no doubt be an increased demand for this week's edition as people scramble to read NotW's own reaction to the week's events. Murdoch and co. appear in the public eye to have done the 'right thing', thus allowing them to continue with their even more important money making scheme, the takeover of BSkyB, which completely overshadows the NotW in terms of revenue it will make.   NotW will leave a massive gap in the otherwise saturated Sunday paper market, allowing News International to create an entirely clean slate for themselves, and perhaps allowing other newspaper companies to attempt to fill the gap with their own brands.

 Rumour has it on Twitter that the domain was registered two days ago. James Murdoch made the 'shock' announcement of the closure this afternoon. Go figure.

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