Ian Burrell: News of the World outcasts still appear to have their friends in prime places

Mazher Mahmood, the NOTW's famous "Fake Sheikh", has taken his investigative skills back to The Sunday Times
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The Independent Online

The managing director of The Sun , Richard Caseby, went before a House of Lords committee last week and claimed that 200 people had been "thrown out of work" because of the misreporting of the misdemeanours of the News of the World. Aside from the fact that News Corp's brutal corporate decision to shut down its Sunday tabloid in July caused widespread shock – and was certainly not regarded within the industry as the inevitable response to The Guardian's report that NOTW reporters had hacked then deleted Milly Dowler's voicemail messages – Mr Caseby's passionate outburst paints an impartial picture of a journalistic scrapheap.

Because although it is true that some 180 people who depended on the NOTW for their living have taken (relatively generous) redundancy packages, most of the paper's best-known staff have already found new positions in other parts of the media. An additional 65 NOTW workers have taken posts within News Corp, some at senior levels. Dan Wootton, the paper's Kiwi showbiz writer, appeared on Sky News on the day of the NOTW's closure standing outside the News International security gate and praising the contribution to society of the 168-year-old title. He has since been snapped up by the Daily Mail, while he also writes a column for the showbiz magazine Now and appears as a pundit on the ITV show Lorraine. The Daily Telegraph moved swiftly to hire the NOTW 's witty film critic Robbie Collin, while the Mail on Sunday picked up NOTW TV critic Ian Hyland to write for its magazine, Live.

The former number three on the paper, Mike Small, has returned to rivals Trinity Mirror to take a job on the backbench of the Daily Mirror, while reporter Keith Gladdis has found a staff job on the Daily Mail. The byline of another NOTW stalwart Dominic Herbert appeared last week in the Sunday Mirror.

Among the NOTW's star football writers, Neil Ashton has signed for the Daily Mail while Andy Dunn is working for the Sunday Mirror and writes a Big Match Verdict column for the paper and blog for its website.

The former NOTW editor Colin Myler and the paper's legal director, Tom Crone, who are both involved in a bitter war of words with their former boss James Murdoch, have not yet negotiated a settlement with the company. And it is true that some of the Sunday tabloid's journalists are struggling to resurrect their careers in the wake of their paper's sudden closure.

But other NOTW staffers have moved within News International, including to the upmarket stablemate The Sunday Times. James Mellor, who was running the news desk at the tabloid, has been appointed as deputy news editor of the Sunday broadsheet. Mazher Mahmood, the NOTW's famous "Fake Sheikh", has taken his investigative skills back to The Sunday Times, the paper he left under a cloud more than 20 years earlier. But by far the biggest refuge for workers on the "Screws" has been its sister paper, The Sun. Victoria Newton, the former NOTW deputy editor, had been lined up to succeed Myler but is now number three in the hierarchy of Sun editor Dominic Mohan. Dave Wooding, the silver-haired former political head of the NOTW and an accomplished contributor on television, is working for The Sun as campaigns editor. The staff on the NOTW's colour supplement Fabulous were also retained when the magazine transferred to the Saturday edition of The Sun. Other refugees from the Sunday tabloid, most notably the former picture editor Paul Ashton, are working on a News International digital project in London, believed to relate to the production of apps.

All of which suggests that, while Rupert and James Murdoch may have felt that they had no option other than to close Britain's best-selling Sunday paper, other parts of Fleet Street have not been so ready to heap pariah status on the staff who produced that title.