Archive for the ‘Mosley’ tag

Has the News of the World judged risk/reward right this time?

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A fascinating portrait of the News of the World’s legal manager Tom Crone in Peter Burden’s engrossing new book, News of the World? Fake Sheikhs & Royal Trappings:

“Crone, regarded as the sharpest brief in the newspaper industry, wields the ultimate power of veto over what goes into the Murdoch tabloids. It is Crone who can assess better than anyone the risk / reward in running a calumnious celebrity story. At least eight editors have come and gone under Crone’s 20-year watch, and in that time there has been a substantial toll of personal misery, damage and fear engendered by the papers” (p.58).

Burden goes on to quote an unnamed former News of the World journalist:

“What you have to imagine is that in the hell’s kitchen that is the News of the World newsroom, where a horde of little devils rake muck, lie, invent anything they think will titillate and tempt a less than diligent public into hating, sneering at or despising someone else, prefereably someone they once admired because they were in Corrie or played for Man U or won Big Brother, or used to be married to a prince, and sometimes just unfortunate members of the public who were in the wrong place… there, behind a string of editors, stands Crone, the legal ringmeister always on hand to tell them just how far they can go, and what it will cost them if they do transgress, so they can balance that against additional sales” (from Peter Burden, News of the World?).

Question is, has Tom Crone judged the risk / reward right in the Mosley case? There’s certainly been lots of reward so far in terms of titillating stories and exclusive video footage. But will this be the story that creates a standard UK precedent from Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – giving people a legal right to privacy? If so it could do the News of the World far more damage in the long term than the sale of a few hundred thousand more papers this last couple of months. The failure of the primary defence witness to turn up in court yesterday can’t have bolstered Crone’s confidence.

Written by Martin Moore

July 11th, 2008 at 6:23 am

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