The first week of the rest of my life

Until last Saturday Tom Latchem was TV editor of the News of the World. He describes how he has passed the time since the paper closed


Wake up at 4.30am, feeling shattered and with a sore head after a 24-hour drinking session to wave goodbye to the most exciting, exhilarating three years of my life – and to the many dear friends I met during that time. Bollocks, why did I agree to do the Sky News press preview when I was drunk? Still, got to be professional – and it's vital I get myself out there at a time of uncertainty. So I pull on my suit and leap into the waiting car. I have to admit, I'm not my usual jovial self as the hangover kicks in, but I manage an OK performance alongside former RAF man John Nichol. Nice guy, and he is happy to do the talking on the contentious News International stories while I describe the incredible moment we walked out of Wapping for the last time. Afterwards I go home and spend the day watching coverage of our last hours. The magnitude of all that has happened and the personal uncertainty about my future hits me. It is the first time I have seen any clips of the day, including the impassioned tub-thumping farewell speech from our editor, Colin Myler, and I am not ashamed to say I shed a tear. Usually, I'd be calling round my contacts to fill my story list and scouring the TV listings for potential shows to cover, filled with fear that I am about to get a dressing-down from the boss if my stories aren't good enough. It is liberating to feel I will never have to worry about that again but, at the same time, I am infinitely emotional, switching, moment by moment, from beaming pride to sadness to emptiness. Seeing Colin's warm words about us, and our unified march towards the waiting cameras, sends shivers down my spine: we made history but now we are history. Go to the pub to see my old colleagues. I'm amazed at how we have all rallied round each other. The bonds we have forged during this difficult period will last for ever.


Wake up early (again ... thought I was meant to be unemployed!) for an interview at a central London hotel on the Australian 60 Minutes show. Knowing that the interviewer, Ray Martin, is the Aussie Jeremy Paxman, I know he will pose some difficult questions and I'm not wrong. He really goes for me. But I have nothing to hide in this awful saga so I strongly, yet politely, deny any knowledge of phone hacking. He seems annoyed, but I can only tell him over and over again what I know to be true: that nobody who I worked with on the paper in its final days had anything to do with the terrible things the News of the World was being accused of. Those who lost their jobs were decent, proud journalists who have been left as hurt as anybody by what has happened. The grilling reminds me of my normal Tuesday morning – the terrifying weekly story ideas conference – and I can't help but raise a smile at the memory... and at the knowledge I may never be able to sit through another one. Go back down the pub with a load of former workmates (there's a pattern emerging from this period of unemployment) and drink into the early hours as we chat about the recent past, and the inevitable employment difficulties we will face.


Wake with a hangover, feeling utterly drained. The reality has finally kicked in: we are never going back to the News of the World. Sit in bed until midday with my laptop. I can't stop watching Colin's speech. You can tell he is furious at what has happened, yet he showed real dignity and honour. I am proud to have been able to say he was my boss, and I hope one day we will be able to sit down over a pint and talk about the great memories we shared over the last week. Some of my work pals are doing a trip to Thorpe Park but I just can't face it. A friend of mine, Nicki Slater, comes down from Harrogate and we go out for lunch to cheer us both up. A tenacious young reporter, she has been left devastated: she had been accepted on to the News of the World graduate scheme, only to see it snatched away days later. She had been looking forward to moving to London and starting a new life as a journalist, but now finds herself in limbo.


Go for a consultation with an accountant. At the moment, my future is up in the air, but if I am to go freelance, I will need to make sure my finances are in shape. Meet a lawyer contact of mine, who offers warm words. So, too, does a journalist friend who works on a rival newspaper, who I meet for lunch. Hacks I see later at a leaving do for a reporter on another rival paper are also supportive. I have made friends with some great people across the industry. The messages I have received from contacts, PRs, fellow journalists and even the public have been so heart-warming. It's good to know there are at least some people out there who feel sorry for those of us who are carrying the can for the actions of some bad people in the past.


Wake up with yet another hangover to find Rebekah Brooks has resigned, but I have more important personal matters to be worrying about. Go into work to pick up my bag, which I'd left in the office. We'd been told we could collect our things on Monday, albeit under supervision, but then the police moved the goalposts. It's insulting to think that we are being viewed with suspicion when we have done nothing wrong. I wonder what they thought they might find in my dictionary. I feel tarnished. Try to do my expenses and put through some story payments. I considered doing them last Saturday, but got to 6pm and decided I didn't want my last hours in the newsroom to be taken up doing admin. In the evening a lot of my former colleagues meet up for a birthday meal and lots of drinks. I think, with 83 days of our consultation period left to go, these social nights out are going to be a regular thing. I'm going to make the most of it!


Surfaced at midday after my first lie-in since we shut. Never could get away with that on a NOTW Saturday. Pottered about. Feels weird. I'll miss the buzz you only ever get at the NOTW when you're wondering if we've got a scoop that's going to get the nation talking (or you've written it yourself and know it's a belter). Ah well, at least the flat should stay clean – my flatmate will be pleased.

There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Life and Style
life“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

(Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

Sales Engineer - Cowes - £30K-£40K

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Sales Engineer - Cow...

Web / Digital Analyst - Google Analytics, Omniture

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Sales Perfomance Manager. Marylebone, London

£45-£57k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice