Wednesday, 6 July 2011

NOTW -the wider picture

Both as somebody who knows the communications industry reasonably well, and as a parent, the News of the World allegations are astonishing and appalling.

The wall of contempt that has hit News International is remarkable both in its ferocity and its justification. And indeed in the financial risk it poses.

Yesterday, Rebecca Brooks struck a defiant pose, clinging to her role. She ought to have resigned. Were I a betting man, I wouldn't be risking much on her still being at the helm in a month's time. The pressure on and from advertisers is so acute that throwing the NOTW's critics her head might well be the only sensible way to stem the flow of money.

Last night, I was chatting with a senior person in one of NI's rival titles. Their concern was that the reputational damage being done to NI would be collateral to the wider newspaper industry. That NOTW's hacking activities would damage not just one newspaper or indeed one group of newspapers, but newspapers as a whole; that this might be the tipping point for the PCC and its always under-pressure self-regulatory model.

Those seemed to be to be absolutely sensible observations. Imagine the reaction of politicians dragged through the mud by the Telegraph's revelations of their expenses arrangements. Their temptation must surely be to repay the industry that they blame for so much personal financial and reputational hurt.

Put all that together with the growing extinction of the newspapers' current business model, and I'm glad not to be in the newspaper industry right now.

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