Thursday, July 07, 2011

the curious death of a newspaper

so, farewell, then, to the News Of The World newspaper. it is to be closed down this week after being in publication for some 168 years.

this is the decision taken by the owners in response to the 'phone hacking' scandal which has hit the paper. up front i find it rather stange that it has, at least not directly, come about as a consequence of illegal and questionable payments to police officers, something that has been acknowledged and out in the open for several years now.

in the statement announcing the closure of the paper, it was said that it was the job of the News Of The World to "hold people to account" and admitted it had fallen short when faced with its own criteria. there is very nearly a certain level of nobility in this. for years the paper was indeed known for exposing double standards and questionable behaviour by those in public life who had a direct bearing on their readership - certain politicians and business leaders who i will not name here are unlikely to shed a tear at the demise of their nemesis.

starting from the 80s onwards, however, the "scandals" the newspaper broke were less public interest, more celebrity driven (in the broadest possible sense of celebrity) and thus their "in the public interest" crusades more often than not led to just simple rubbish like this being considered front page news.

despite their delve into the delights of trash to sell newspapers, the News Of The World still had it in it to try and be a proper newspaper and do some good - the most notable example of recent times being their campaign to introduce Sarah's Law to help protect children from known criminals. it is rather sad that the work they did in regards of this in particular is greatly undermined by possibly the very worst aspect of this "phone hacking" business, which is to say they appeared to have no problem with hacking into the voicemail of a murdered teenage girl in the hope of obtaining a story.

i have a suspicion that the owners of the News Of The World are not going to be too upset about the loss of the paper, really. the fact that they ban any union membership amongst their journalists should tell you all that you need to know of their care and consideration for staff. despite the fact that they have reportedly lost millions investing in the single biggest waste of 'space' on the internet, they appear keen to exploit the fact that 21st Century technology means that a good many people get quite excited about paying for "iPhone apps" that tend to be rubbish. i dare say that a reincarnation of the News Of The World, filled with user provided (free) content and lots of non-copyright protected saucy pictures, will soon be unleashed on the Apple acolytes who will happily pay a premium for something that costs next to nothing to produce.

there is of course widespread speculation about what will feature on the 'last' cover of this newspaper. undoubtedly it will all relate to a cherry picked celebration of past successes and will try to gloss over the trash and the reason for its closure. it would be a nice touch, however, if the cover was a variant on the below.

no doubt many decent employees of this paper are not only going to lose their jobs but are going to find it rather difficult to land another one with their association with the paper on record. undoubtedly those loyal to the owners' somewhat questionable set of ideals will get picked up for whatever they eventually produce to replace the News Of The World - The Sun On Sunday being the most likely title. as for the decent people who will lose their jobs and have their careers tarnished, well, i guess the owners care for them just about the same amount as they care for those people whose phones they hacked into.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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