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(Oh Lord) Please don't let me be misunderstood.

9th July

Everything I really need to know I learned from the News Of The World

Photo by The New Yorker, News Of The World reader

Of course not. But the tabloid’s slimy, disgusting behavior has taught me these seven lessons I shall remember for life:

1. The moral standards of the paparazzi are not the lowest in the scale for the media. The industry can actually fall even lower.

2. One incompetent person and a few years is all it takes to destroy one country’ s best-selling, 168-year-old newspaper.

3. If you built a successful business through a lifetime of hard work, chances are that your kids (who grew up having everything they needed and much more) are not the best people to run it.

4. Contrary to popular belief, extremely ambitious women also turn to criminal practices to climb to the top. It’s not just men.

5. In an era of digital information consumption, a rich country’s retrograde attachment to print tabloids make running them a dangerous job.

6. In spite of the financial burdens that a paper takes on by remaining free online, it can still do investigative work and break huge stories.

7. A scandal of this nature will make the public question the practices of the media industry as a whole (a good thing, no doubt). But a self-reflection of readers’ own consumption of news should not be expected. It is nonexistent.

CONTEXT:

The famous British tabloid News Of The World (NOTW) is closing down after reporters were caught hacking into voicemails of people involved in their different ongoing stories. An estimated 4,000 people were victims over a span of around 10 years (possibly longer). Among them was a girl who was found dead months after she went missing, relatives of British soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, Prince William and many celebrities. The people responsible for the paper were former aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron, Andy Coulson (who has been arrested and then bailed out), as well as Cameron’s long-time friend Rebekah Brooks. They both held the position of Editor of the NOTW at different times while the hacking was going on. 

The NOTW is owned by Newscorp, a company that has made its owner Rupert Murdoch one of the richest men in the world. The decision to kill the paper was his son’s, James Murdoch, known to have destroyed many ventures in his father’s company since he started working for him. Rupert Murdoch has said that he wants his children to run his multiple businesses. 

The paper that broke the story was The Guardian, in July 2009.