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December 28 2011

15:20

Top 10 Media Stories of 2011: Arab Spring; R.I.P. Steve Jobs; Phone Hacking

Yes, 2011 was another year of massive change in the American media landscape, with newspapers struggling, radio and TV trying to sharpen digital strategies, and magazines prettying themselves for tablets. But more often than expected, we turned our eyes overseas, to the role of social media in organizing protests and revolutions in the Arab world. To the spread of Facebook and freer speech in places like Egypt and Libya. And to the shocking phone-hacking scandal that brought the News Corp. empire to its knees, shuttering its most popular tabloid, the News of the World (published since 1843).

2011 year small.jpg

As smartphones and tablets proliferated, the reality of mobile news (and advertising) finally came into focus after years of failed promises. News orgs big and small tried to cash in on mobile editions, with mixed success. While Apple and its dominant iPad platform demanded a 30% cut of digital subscriptions -- and the customer data -- publishers fought back with "web apps" that went around the App Store and its restrictions. As more Android tablets, including the popular Kindle Fire, got into the hands of consumers, the chance that more people would ditch print editions for digital grew.

So here's our annual list of the Top 10 media stories that mattered most in 2011, and some predictions of where those stories are headed in 2012.

Top 10 Media Stories of 2011

1. The Arab Spring and the "Facebook revolutions."

What started as protests in December 2010 in Tunisia, after a college graduate set himself on fire, turned into a Middle East-wide revolution of people rising up against totalitarian regimes. In Tunisia and Egypt, the ruling governments fell, and in Libya a long civil war led to a rebel victory (aided by NATO). What many of these revolutions had in common was organizing done with social networks, especially Facebook, and news spreading virally over Twitter and YouTube. And that formula was repeated in protest movements outside of the Middle East, including in the Occupy Wall Street protests here in the U.S.

While social media played a crucial role in organizing protests and spreading the word to people in the outside world, the revolutions were not dependent upon them. When the Egyptian authorities shut down Internet access, that didn't stop people from human networking and organizing person-to-person to keep protests alive. As Miller-McCune's Philip Howard wrote:

Overemphasizing the role of information technology diminishes the personal risks that individual protesters took in heading out onto the streets to face tear gas and rubber bullets. While it is true that the dynamics of collective action are different in a digital world, we need to move beyond punditry about digital media, simple claims that technology is good or bad for democracy, and a few favored examples of how this can be so.

Prediction: Social media will continue to be vital cogs in any protest movement around the world, even as the targets of those protests learn to become more savvy in using social media in response to them. The days of closing off society to the outside world are numbered as more people use online platforms to communicate with the rest of the world.

jobs day of dead.jpg

2. Steve Jobs dies, and the tech world mourns.

Love him or hate him, Apple co-founder and visionary Steve Jobs did make a dent in the universe. He was there at the birth of so many innovations, from the personal computer, desktop publishing, the iPod, iPhone and iPad (the holy trinity of gadgets). But one thing he couldn't conquer was cancer, and he finally succumbed and died in October at the age of 56. Not long after that, an in-depth biography of Jobs was published, written by Walter Isaacson, detailing his many triumphs as well as his hard-driving, caustic personality.

While Jobs made a huge contribution to helping salvage the music business with iTunes (while taking his cut), he has had mixed success in helping the news business with mobile subscriptions. And his take on revolutionizing the TV business had yet to be realized at his death. One quote that stands out from Jobs is this one from his Stanford commencement address in 2005:

"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

Prediction: The legend of Steve Jobs and what he accomplished will only grow bigger over the coming years, as his legacy as a media visionary is cemented and the rougher parts of his personality are downplayed.

3. The phone-hacking scandal shutters the News of the World.

Tabloid journalists have always gone to great lengths to get scoops, but nothing compares to the breathtaking deceit at the U.K.'s News of the World, which hacked into the voice-mail messages of celebrities, politicians and even a murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler. What was originally deemed to be a few bad apples turned out to be widespread misdeeds that led to numerous arrests, resignations and firings at News International, the parent company of the tabloid. Even more surprising was the decision by News Corp. honcho Rupert Murdoch to close down the News of the World after 168 years of publication.

The "hackgate" scandal has led to resignations in the British government, at Scotland Yard and at various News Corp. publications (including Dow Jones publisher Les Hinton). Here's how MediaShift correspondent Tristan Stewart-Robertson summed it up:

Ultimately, we have a clash of what my retired philosophy professor father refers to as the "social duty to provide as much information as possible," and the duty of "non-injury to others." So which trumps which? ... The conflicting appetites for information and privacy are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Prediction: The scandal will continue to unearth more villains as government inquiries and lawsuits continue into the new year. More people will use stronger passwords for their voice-mail, and tabloid journalists will need to ratchet back their "black ops" to get scoops.

4. Bubbly IPOs return for a few startups.

groupon-ceo.jpg

No one would mistake 2011 for 1999, the last year of the dot-com bubble, when IPOs were popping like champagne corks. The initial public offering was the most conspicuous way that investors and startup employees with stock options could cash in on their around-the-clock hard work. But still, some echoes of the late '90s seeped in this year, with successful IPOs for startups such as LinkedIn, Groupon and Zynga. In May, LinkedIn was priced at $45 per share, and jumped 109% to close at $94.25. As a Reuters story explained, the IPO was "evoking memories of the investor love affair with Internet stocks during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s."

The hottest startups of 2011 fell into the SoLoMo category: social, local and mobile. And Groupon was right at the sweet spot of SoLoMo, as the biggest player in the hot "daily deals" market. Despite the fact that Groupon was not profitable and its growth was slowing down, the company's IPO raised $700 million, the biggest public offering since Google. While social gaming startup Zynga raised even more money, $1 billion, its IPO actually ended its first day of trading below its initial price of $10 per share. While a few Internet companies did well going public, most are still waiting in the wings. As USA Today put it, overall IPOs have had a dismal 2011.

Prediction: With so much stock market instability, it will be tough for many companies to go public in the coming months. More likely, the exit for startups will be to get acquired, except for the big fish like Facebook and Twitter, which could have huge IPOs next year.

5. New York Times finds success with metered pay wall; others try their luck.

Why won't people pay a fair price for news content online? So many news orgs simply put up their content for free online that this is what most people expect to pay: nothing. But some exceptions like WSJ.com (leaky wall) and FT.com (metered wall) found success with a mix of free and paid content. Then came the biggest experiment of them all, the metered pay wall at NYTimes.com, where you get 20 free articles per month (or via Google search or social media) and then you have to pay anywhere from $15 per month to $35 per month for full access on the web and with mobile apps. The price seemed steep and the Times was targeting the people who use its content the most. And yet there were exceptions: Car maker Lincoln subsidized free access for many users, and a recent "special offer" gave full digital access for just 99 cents for 8 weeks.

The metered wall has been a smashing success so far for NYTimes.com, garnering 324,000 paying subscribers by the end of the third quarter, just six months after the start of the wall. Plus, the Times has 1.2 million users with full digital access. (Many have print subscriptions that give them digital access.) But where does that leave the other, smaller papers that are trying out pay walls? Gannett newspapers, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Boston Globe all have begun testing pay strategies and it's unclear if they will be as successful as the Times. But as PaidContent's Staci Kramer wrote in a year-end review, "2011 is the hands-down winner when it comes to people paying for digital content. The numbers aren't all in yet and some of it will be hard to quantify given the lack of complete transparency but it's clear that more people are willing to pay for digital access to music, news, movies, TV, games, books and magazines."

Prediction: More online newspapers will try to charge for their content with mixed success. Not everyone has the strong brand (and followers) of the New York Times, and many folks are happy to try out other free sites for news if they are forced to pay too much.

6. The battle over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in Congress.

No one likes piracy, but the two bills in Congress to fight online piracy, SOPA and PIPA, are seen as flawed and overreaching by various tech companies and online pundits. The two bills are supported by most big media companies, music publishers and Hollywood, and are opposed by big tech and online companies and organizations.

While Congress expected to pass some version of these two bills into law with little friction, online organizers have wreaked havoc with political protests that haven't been seen at this depth before. Tumblr created a slick "Call Congress" tool that popped up on its home page, and 6,000 websites participated in an online protest against what they considered to be possible censorship under the new law, with 1 million emails sent to members of Congress. As Congress adjourns for its holiday recess, the fight continues, with so many people pulling their domains from Go Daddy (a supporter of SOPA), that the domain company changed course and withdrew support for the bill.

Prediction: The bills will still likely make it through Congress in some form, but if the online protests continue apace, there might well be amendments to make the bills less overreaching when it comes to piracy enforcement.

7. Kindle Fire tablet is an affordable alternative to iPad.

Here come the low-cost Android tablets. While Apple has done such a good job with its iPad tablet in dominating the market, there was still an opening for a lower-cost, smaller tablet to steal away market share. And this Christmas season, Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet ($199) and to a lesser extent the Nook Tablet ($250) have stolen Apple's thunder with cheaper alternatives. Some leaked data to Cult of Android showed that the Fire was racking up 50,000 pre-orders per day, which could mean 2.5 million sales before it even went on sale Nov. 15!

Those are impressive numbers for Amazon, which has created quite the backlash for its bullying in the book industry, becoming a book publisher on its own and sending people as spies into bookstores to compare prices. And yet, Apple will still continue to dominate tablet sales this holiday season, according to researchers at IDC, with the Kindle and Nook tablet sales coming at the expense of higher-priced Android tablets. "I fully expect Apple to have its best-ever quarter in 4Q11," IDC's Tom Mainelli told the Washington Post, "and in 2012 I think we'll see Apple's product begin to gain more traction outside of the consumer market, specifically with enterprise and education markets."

Prediction: Apple will have to work harder at keeping its dominant lead in tablets, and will need to consider selling a cheaper, smaller tablet to compete on the low end. While the Kindle Fire will be popular as a cheap alternative, it will need to offer more than a closed Amazon environment to satisfy gadget geeks.

8. Netflix stumbles with huge price hike, poor Qwikster idea.

2011 was another strong year for people cutting the cord to cable and satellite TV. The cable industry finally acknowledged there was a slight drop-off in subscriptions, and for the first time U.S. households with TV sets declined. But one reason people were willing to cut the cord was the proliferation of "over the top" streaming TV services such as Netflix and Hulu. But after years of growth and profits, Netflix stumbled badly in 2011. The company announced it was unbundling its DVD-by-mail service and charging higher rates for DVDs and for streaming, with a spin-off company for DVDs called Qwikster.

Those moves were largely panned by pundits, and Netflix started bleeding customers, with 800,000 of them leaving the service by the end of the third quarter. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had to apologize to customers in a blog post and in a video address:

Prediction: Netflix will need a two-pronged strategy to gain back customers: aggressive pricing and promotions; better selection of streaming content. It might be tough to pull it off, but without doing anything, Netflix will find a very difficult road ahead.

9. Publishers rebel against Apple with HTML5 web apps.

Apple could only push publishers so far. While the tech giant came hat in hand to media companies promising to prop up the news business with digital subscriptions for the iPad, its terms were onerous: a 30% cut of all revenues; Apple keeps the data on customers; no links to subscriptions outside of Apple's App Store from within apps. Some publishers decided that enough was enough, and created "web apps" that worked on the iPad without going through Apple and its App Store. The most prominent web app came from FT.com, which decided to create its own HTML5 app to go around Apple's control.

When I spoke to FT.com's managing director, Rob Grimshaw, he shared these figures about their success:

> 20% of all page views for FT.com come from mobile devices
> 30% of all page views seen by paid subscribers to FT.com are on mobile devices

> More than 1 million downloads for the FT apps for iPhone and iPad

> More than 500,000 visits to the web app over the past 3 months

> 15% to 20% of new paid subscribers come from mobile devices

Apple eventually blinked and set better terms for publishers, allowing them to sell subscriptions at discounted prices. However, Apple still gets a huge 30% cut and keeps the customer data.

Prediction: More publishers will watch FT.com and others' web apps very closely, and will consider ways to get around Apple's walled garden.

10. Rise of Google+ as an alternative to Facebook, Twitter.

After several false starts (including Google Buzz, Orkut, Wave), Google finally got social networking right with its Google+ network launch in 2011. While the service quickly brought on millions of new users and was integrated tightly into Google search results and Gmail, some folks were unimpressed and felt like it was a ghost town because their friends remained entrenched on Facebook.

So what was the big deal with Google+? The service let people set up "Circles" so that status updates could be sent to discrete groups, and the "Hangouts" let you do group video chat like never before. One enterprising TV station in Columbia, Mo., even started putting Google+ Hangouts on the air. My experience was typical for the more plugged-in tech media crowd: Within a couple months on Google+, I had more people following me there than on Twitter, where I'd been active since 2008.

Prediction: Google+ will continue to be an attractive option for interactivity and higher level conversations among the more tech-insider crowd, but most people will continue their presence on Twitter and Facebook.

Honorable Mentions

Here are some other stories that didn't quite make the cut but are worth mentioning:

> Digital First takes over newspapers at the Journal Register Co. and Media News, and launches an investment company for digital news innovation.

> AOL buys Huffington Post and TechCrunch, and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is eventually pushed out after trying to run both TechCrunch and a new VC fund.

> #OccupyWallStreet organizes hundreds of protests around the U.S. and world to demand that money is removed from politics.

> News aggregators proliferate, with the rise of Flipboard, Zite (bought by CNN), Trove, Livestand, News.me and many more.

What do you think? What media stories were the biggest ones this year? Did we miss any key ones? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit. and Circle him on Google+

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November 26 2011

14:05

UK - Since the closure of News of the World, Sunday newspaper readers vanish

Guardian :: The latest newspaper readership figures suggest that a huge number of people have stopped reading a Sunday newspaper altogether since the closure of the News of the World. The statistics released today by the National Readership Survey (NRS) are the first to cover the period following the NoW's closure on 10 July.

Details - continue to read Roy Greenslade, www.guardian.co.uk

September 14 2011

09:10

Phone hacking: News Int. finds 'large caches' of documents "current management was unaware of"

Guardian :: The publisher of the News of the World has found "many tens of thousands" of new documents and emails that could contain evidence about the scale of phone hacking at the paper, it has emerged. Michael Silverleaf QC, the barrister for the News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers (NGN), told the high court at a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday: "Two very large new caches of documents have been [discovered] which the current management were unaware of."

Continue to read James Robinson, www.guardian.co.uk

August 03 2011

16:55

Tom Watson: 'Phone hacking is only the start. There's a lot more to come out'

Guardian :: "A month ago, Tom Watson received word that the Guardian was about to expose the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone by the News of the World. With 72 hours to go, he cleared his diary; a few days later, he was averaging three hours sleep a night, as he and his staff picked through leaked documents, newspaper archives, personal testimony from phone-hacking victims, and more."

The Labour MP has won the admiration of fellow politicians for doggedly investigating the phone-hacking scandal. What has the experience taught him, how has it changed his life – and what revelations are still to come?

Continue to read John Harris, www.guardian.co.uk

July 31 2011

20:28

Peter Preston: Murdoch could let the News of the World rise again

Guardian :: The Sunday circulation market before closure of News of the World averaged around 9m national paper copies sold. The market last week, without the Screws, seems to be almost the same; say 8.9m. Who's gained? - The Sunday Mirror most all, up some 900,000 to just over 2m, but the Mail on Sunday has netted 400,000-plus, and the People and Star perhaps 450,000 each. Add in a boost for the Sunday Express and modest ripples of gain for virtually every other title and two conclusions seem inescapable.

[Peter Preston:] Rupert Murdoch, on his record and to his credit, hates closing papers. He'd rather sell them than fold them. So why – having gained nothing but pain from this shutdown – doesn't he put the News of the World up for sale?

Continue to read Peter Preston, www.guardian.co.uk

July 27 2011

05:12

CNN's Piers Morgan 'told interviewer stories were published based on phone tapping'

Telegraph :: Piers Morgan, the CNN broadcaster, has said that newspaper articles based on the findings of people paid to tap phones and rake through bins were published during his time as a tabloid newspaper editor, it can be disclosed.

[BBC Desert Island Discs, June 2009: Piers Morgan was asked:] What about this nice middle-class boy, who would have to be dealing with, I mean essentially people who rake through bins for a living, people who tap people’s phones, people who take secret photographs, who do all that nasty down-in-the-gutter stuff. How did you feel about that?"

[Piers Morgan's answer:] ... A lot of it was done by third parties rather than the staff themselves. ... 

Note: Telegraph made the audio recording of this conversation available on their website.

Continue to read /listen to the audio Jon Swaine, www.telegraph.co.uk

July 26 2011

19:25

Your Guide to the U.K. Phone-Hacking Scandal (or 'Hackgate')

From time to time, we provide an overview of one broad MediaShift topic, annotated with online resources and plenty of tips. The idea is to help you understand the topic, learn the jargon, and take action. We've previously covered Twitter, local watchdog news sites, and Net neutrality, among other topics. This week MediaShift U.K. correspondent Tristan Stewart-Robertson looks at the phone-hacking scandal.

Background

To still use the terms "phone hacking" or "News of the World" to describe the scandal engulfing the British media is now somewhat insufficient.

"Hackgate," as it's often called on Twitter, has really been going on since 2002, but didn't explode until July 4, 2011 and has since dominated the news in the U.K. and increasingly abroad.

Without question, The Guardian has been the leader on the phone-hacking story from day one, and reporter Nick Davies will most certainly be the runaway candidate for "reporter of the year" at next year's British Press Awards. The paper's multimedia coverage and interactive features on a continually moving and expanding story are second to none.

The New York Times has also been a leader on the story, particularly with its September 2010 investigation into the subject.

Glossary of Terms

"Blagging": It might sound like a quaint English term, but it, too, is illegal. As the BBC summarizes, the Data Protection Act 1998 prevents someone from pretending to be another person for the purposes of gaining access to private data, such as medical records.

Phone hacking: The technical term for what private investigators, and some reporters, were doing for the News of the World is actually "illicit voice message interception." It's illegal to access someone else's cell phone messages, usually by having one person call the phone, and while it is engaged, a second person calls and gets access to the messages. Most people wouldn't think to change the standard manufacturer's code, such as 9999 or 0000, to protect voicemail, and so it's usually quite easy to access.

"Pinging" or phone tracking: Police can track a suspect's cell phone by triangulation from nearby cell phone towers. But as the Guardian exposed, the News of the World allegedly paid police to access such tracking. If proven, both the bribery and obtaining of private data would be punishable.

Public Interest: When the British media talks about what is in "the public interest," this is quite broad but has a specific legal backing which is referred to as The Reynolds Defense. The full case is here, but Wikipedia has a summary of it.

Regulation: Many commentators, when talking about possible statutory regulation of the press, cite the flaws of self-regulation, which currently takes the form of the Press Complaints Council and its code of practice. But regulation could mimic the Broadcasting Act 1996 which dictates fairness and balance in television news, and can invoke large fines for breaches.

Main Cast of characters

Andy Coulson: Editor of the News of the World. He resigned in 2007 when phone hacking was first exposed with the criminal convictions of former royal correspondent Clive Goodman and private detective Glenn Mulcaire. Coulson later was appointed as chief of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron before resigning again this year.

james murdoch.jpg

James Murdoch: Chairman and chief executive of News Corp., Europe, and son of Rupert, he authorized out-of-court settlements for phone hacking, which he later said he regretted because he did not have all the information about the extent of the criminality. His evidence in front of a House of Commons select committee has now been questioned.

Rupert Murdoch: Chairman and CEO of News Corp. Political leaders considered he was essential to have on their side to be able to win British elections.

Rebekah Wade: Editor of the News of the World, then its sister paper The Sun, and then chief executive of News International until her resignation during the hacking scandal. She was editor at the time of the alleged hacking of the phone of murdered 13-year-old school girl Milly Dowler, which turned the public against News International.

Timeline

In 2005, a story about medical treatment of Prince William led Buckingham Palace to suspect interference with his voicemail.

Goodman, the News of the World royal reporter, was jailed in 2007 as was private investigator Mulcaire. Coulson resigned as editor, and everyone claimed it was just a few bad apples.

In 2009, the Guardian returned to the story and exposed out-of-court settlements to public figures, suggesting there were thousands more potential victims, including celebrities and politicians.

On July 4, 2011, the Guardian revealed the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone, which turned public attention dramatically to the story.

After an outcry from the public and a campaign on Twitter and Facebook to get advertisers
to drop the News of the World, News International announced that the July 10 issue of the News of the World would be the last after 168 years.

The next week, News Corp. announced it would stop its attempt to take over all of BSkyB.
And in the ultimate climax, the following week, James and Rupert Murdoch and Wade gave evidence to a House of Commons select committee.

The dominant digital coverage

20110721.GU.hackingtimelinegraphicwb.jpg

The phone-hacking story traditionally would have started in print on July 5. Instead, the Guardian released it online first on July 4, giving other media a chance to pick up the story for the next day and hitting the social media sphere much earlier than Tuesday morning.

That very much fits into the strategy announced by the Guardian last month of digital first. Most, if not all, of the revelations from the phone-hacking scandal were broken online before print editions hit the streets in a battle for the public attention -- and frequently mid-afternoon so ideally placed to catch the 6 p.m. TV newscasts and an American audience five or more hours behind.

Online coverage has also allowed for detailed timelines and data visualizations in the Guardian, as well as crowdsourcing from the Guardian and Telegraph (see below).

Digital reaction

When news of the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone first broke, outrage ensued on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Although the public did not initially have papers in front of them to target particular advertisers with the News of the World, a campaign soon started.

Parenting forum Mumsnet helped drive the online campaign and pulled its own campaign from Sky television, which at the time News Corp. was trying to acquire.

Again, the Guardian was at the forefront of providing information, publishing the Twitter addresses of the top 50 News of the World advertisers.

Twitters users became perhaps the most active during the James and Rupert Murdoch testimony in front of Britain's Select Committee on July 19, showing the speed of social media reaction. Within minutes of a protestor throwing a shaving-cream pie at Murdoch senior and the right-hook reaction from wife Wendi Deng, #piegate shot onto the Twitter trending list, only to be overtaken minutes later with #wendi.

Crowdsourcing and Data Visualization

The Guardian and Telegraph have both invited readers and users to get involved in sorting through data. The Telegraph released articles from the past decade in the News of the World that mention phone calls, voicemails and emails. The Guardian's crowdsourced list of potential victims is currently offline to check accuracy. The Atlantic has also praised such efforts to tackle the volume of potential phone-hacking victims and associated data.

Investigations

  • The Leveson Inquiry will be the formal and broad investigation into the media's practices and ethics, as well as publishers' involvement with politics and the police.
  • Operation Weeting is the formal inquiry by the Metropolitan Police into phone hacking and more, and is a follow-up to the previous failed police inquiries. A total of 60 officers are now on the case.
  • The Serious Fraud Office in the U.K. is said to be considering an investigation.

In Numbers

Deaths: 1 [Sean Hoare]

Arrests: 9 [Neville Thurlbeck, Ian Edmondson, James Weatherup, Terenia Taras, Coulson, Goodman, an unidentified 63-year-old man, Neil Wallis and Brooks]

Charges: 0

Allegations dropped: 1 [Press Association reporter Laura Elston]

Convictions: 2 [Goodman, Mulcaire]

Resignations: 4 [Brooks (News Int), Coulson (technically well before the scandal blew up, and twice, from News Int and Conservative Party), Sir Paul Stephenson (police), John Yates (police), Les Hinton (Dow Jones)]

Fired: 1 [Matt Nixson, features editor at The Sun and former NOTW employee]

Laid Off: 200 [News of the World staff, according to its former political editor]

Tristan Stewart-Robertson is a Canadian freelance reporter based in Glasgow, Scotland, operating as the W5 Press Agency.

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05:55

News of the World: final hours - Paul McNamara, former defense editor

New York Times :: News of the World hacked the phones of a murdered teenager, the victims of the 7/7 London bombings and possibly soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was on a 410-foot-long British Navy warship that was firing missiles into Libya, covering the war for News of the World. I called my boss. “It couldn’t be much worse, son,” he said. “Get home." - I went back.

[Paul McNamara:] News of the World has become an international punch line — but I grew up with it ...

Paul McNamara was formerly the defense editor of News of the World.

Continue to read Paul McNamara, www.nytimes.com

July 21 2011

07:40

Not News of the World alone - Glenn Mulcaire might have sold his information to more publications ...

New York Times :: At the Royal Courts of Justice in London, lawyers for the actor Hugh Grant and his former girlfriend, the socialite Jemima Khan — once the subject of relentless tabloid attention — mentioned The News of the World and unspecified “other newspapers” while demanding police information on Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who was jailed in 2007 for hacking into the phones of royal staff members. It was the first suggestion that Mr. Mulcaire, who had an exclusive contract with The News of the World, might have sold his information to other publications.

One question: which publication(s)?

Continue to read Jo Becker | Ravi Somaiya, www.nytimes.com

July 20 2011

15:47

Rupert Murdoch: "media’s world king of darkness" or victim of a "media crusade"?

Media against media, but what do the victims of the phone-hacking scandal say? How does the family of Milly Dowler feel? They should be first to ask. - The New York Observer would like to end what they call "a media crusade" against Rupert Murdoch. Anyway it's always the better choice to have a closer look at what went really wrong, and yes to hold those accountable for what happened who were in charge in the concrete case. 

Observer :: Rupert Murdoch has apologized, profusely and with genuine humility, to the family of Milly Dowler, the young murder victim whose phone was hacked into by reporters from News of the World. The family’s attorney said that Mr. Murdoch put his head in his hands as he expressed his grief. What more could he have done? How many publishers have apologized to families whose suffering has been exacerbated by media coverage? How many publishers would have closed a valuable property like News of the World? Mr. Murdoch did that, and more—he dropped his bid to purchase BSkyB, which was extremely important to him.

Continue to read www.observer.com

July 19 2011

21:32

Former News of the World editor Piers Morgan, a CNN host today, takes on tabloid scandal

Politico :: Former News of the World editor Piers Morgan, now CNN host, finally, if briefly, confronted the News of the World phone-hacking scandal on Monday night after coming under pressure for avoiding coverage of the story while the rest of CNN went into overdrive.

[Piers Morgan, CNN host:] For the record, I do not believe any story we published in either title was ever gained in an unlawful manner. Nor have I ever seen anything to suggest that.

Morgan was editor of the now-defunct News of the World from 1994 to 1995. (Note: he was 28 years old.)

Continue to read Burgess Everett www.politico.com

20:09

James and Rupert Murdoch's unread statement, now published

paidContent :: Before MPs kicked off their phone hacking questions for James and Rupert Murdoch today, James asked John Whittingdale, the chair of the Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, if he could read out a statement—another apology. Whittingdale wouldn’t let him, but News Corp has mailed it out and paidContent published it on their website

[The unread statement:] Mr. Chairman. Select Committee Members: With your permission, I would like to read a short statement. - My son and I have come here with great respect for all of you, for Parliament and for the people of Britain whom you represent. This is the most humble day of my career. After all that has happened, I know we need to be here today. ...

Continue to read the full statement here ngrid Lunden, paidcontent.org

14:46

WNYC shows how easy it is to hack into voicemail

WNYC did a good bit of simple reporting that made the News of the World scandal particularly relevant to U.S. audiences, showing how easy it is to hack into voicemail systems — including those in the U.S. The station found it could easily access voice mail messages in AT&T account and Sprint accounts, but wasn’t able to do so for T-Mobile and Verizon phones. A lot of attention is paid to online security and privacy these days, so it’s easy to forget that new technologies are also endangering our privacy in older, analog systems. In this case, several online services make it easy to spoof cell phone numbers — thus enabling the hacking — for just $10. Hopefully the News of the World scandal will spur phone companies to tighten security.

July 18 2011

17:21

Alan Rusbridger: how the Guardian broke the News of the World hacking scandal

Newsweek :: Early in 2009 veteran Guardian writer Nick Davies came into Alan Rusbridger's office. He’d discovered that James Murdoch, the son and heir of the most powerful private news-media company on earth, had done a secret deal to pay more than $1 million to cover up evidence of criminal behavior within the company. Interested? - The answer was—of course. Followed by a small inner gulp at the sheer scale and implications of the stories. ...

Continue to read Alan Rusbridger, www.newsweek.com

17:12

The Wrap: has Rupert Murdoch missed his exit point?

The Wrap :: In Europe, scandal-tainted British Prime Minister David Cameron seems to have become a cautionary tale for politicians who once would have courted Murdoch's favor and coveted his endorsement in seeking high office. In the U.S., it was U.S. Rep. Peter King, an arch-conservative, who called the FBI down on News Corp. last week to investigate widening allegations of phone-hacking aimed at the families of 9-11 victims. In the past two weeks, it appears that the 80-year-old Rupert Murdoch "lost the plot" missing his exit.

Continue to read Johnnie L. Roberts, www.thewrap.com

09:01

Met chief Sir Paul Stephenson quits over phone hacking - a summary

Guardian :: Britain's top police officer, Sir Paul Stephenson, announced his shock resignation as he was brought down by his failure to tell senior figures, including the prime minister, that Scotland Yard had hired a former News of the World executive as an adviser while refusing to reopen inquiries into phone hacking. Sir Paul Stephenson says row over links to News International overshadowed his work.

 

Continue to read Vikram Dodd, www.guardian.co.uk

07:16

"Trash" bag treasure: 11,000 pages of handwritten notes - Scotland Yard's role in the phone-hacking scandal

New York Times :: Four years, from August 2006, when they were seized, until autumn 2010, six overstuffed plastic bags gathered dust and little else in a Scotland Yard evidence room. No one at the Metropolitan Police Service took care. Inside the bin ("trash") bags was a treasure-trove of evidence: 11,000 pages of handwritten notes listing nearly 4,000 celebrities, politicians, sports stars, police officials and crime victims whose phones may have been hacked by The News of the World, a now defunct British tabloid newspaper. During that same four years, senior Scotland Yard officials assured Parliament, judges, lawyers, potential hacking victims, the news media and the public that there was no evidence of widespread hacking by the tabloid.

Scotland Yard's role - continue to read Don Van Natta, Jr., www.nytimes.com

July 17 2011

21:51

500m video views on YouTube: what is TED? Chris Anderson and his educational revolution

Guardian :: With his TED Talks series, short disquisitions on everything from neuroscience to creativity, the former magazine mogul Chris Anderson has racked up 500 million web video views for speeches by academics and technological experts. But that, he says, is only the start of an educational revolution. By the end of next year, that figure is expected to reach a billion. In the month when the News of the World folded, Anderson has demonstrated that there is an enormous and still largely untapped appetite for actual news of the actual world. What is TED?

Continue to read Carole Cadwalladr, www.guardian.co.uk

16:09

Rebekah Brooks arrested over phone-hacking allegations

Guardian :: Rebekah Brooks has been arrested by police investigating allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World and allegations that police officers were bribed to leak sensitive information. Spokesman for Rebekah Brooks says she did not know she was going to be arrested when she handed in her resignation

Continue to read Vikram Dodd | Juliette Garside, www.guardian.co.uk

15:41

Will the dirty business of journalism survive hackgate?

Spectator :: How long will it take for journalism to recover from what has been done in its name by the News of the World? - Since 2006 reporters have had to find new ways of digging the dirt. Martin Brigth, Spectator, remain optimistic that they will always find a way. As Ryan Giggs has discovered and Rupert Murdoch has always known: great newspaper stories are created where the rat-like cunning of the reporter meets the insatiable public desire for gossip and revelation. Martin Bright: "This base, murky but sometimes magnificent profession will survive this scandal, but it will not be unchanged by it. Perhaps we will be even better at our job when we don’t pay others to do our dirty work for us."

Continue to read Martin Bright, www.spectator.co.uk

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