The 'culture of fear' inside News of the World HQ
When the News of the World hit its sales zenith of more than 8 million copies a week in the 1950s, it did so under the advertising slogan "All human life is there." Some 60 years later, its former punchline might be applied not so much to the contents of the paper as to the type of people it employs to hunt relentlessly for a scoop.
The most successful and fearsome red-top of them all started life in 1843 as a scandal sheet dedicated to revealing the seamy goings-on in Britain's brothels and gin palaces. While some of the subject matter may be little changed, the competitive nature of the newspaper industry and a "culture of fear" inside the NOTW means that pressure is more intense than ever on its journalists to produce results.
Four reporters and one private investigator employed by the "Screws" have now either been jailed for hacking into the mobile phones of celebrities, have alleged that the practice was widespread within all tabloids, or have been suspended while claims that eavesdropping on voicemails is still going on are investigated.
Inside the fortress-like surroundings of News International's Wapping headquarters, the nation's top-selling newspaper is produced by driven and accomplished professionals who can legitimately point to stories such as this month's gambling sting operation against Pakistani cricketers as evidence that they produce news which other media are only too happy to follow.
But former staffers have told The Independent that throughout the editorship of Downing Street press chief Andy Coulson, there was a tacit understanding between journalists and senior editors that "all means fair or foul" were to be employed in the pursuit of a story.
One former journalist said: "There was what could only be described as a culture of fear inside the paper. Andy [Coulson] was a very focused editor and it was very clear that there was no such thing as failure – 'no' was not taken as an answer. The result was a mental sweatshop and it got results.
"You never heard it expressed explicitly but clearly senior staff had access to specific information about individuals which was then passed on to individual reporters to stand up. It would seem unlikely that if someone like Clive Goodman was filing expenses for a substantial sum to be paid to Mr Mulcaire that questions weren't asked about just what it was for."
Sean Hoare, another former NOTW journalist, who told The New York Times he had been "actively encouraged" by Mr Coulson to hack into phones – something Mr Coulson denies – described these methods as "the dark arts".
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Ottawa shootings: Terror strikes Canadian capital as attacks leave one soldier and one suspect dead
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: A global entertainment busi...
£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...
£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...
£25,000.00: Savvy Media Ltd: ur client is a leading organisation within the le...