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The News of the World is a Britishmarker tabloid newspaper published every Sunday. It is published by News Group Newspapers of News International, itself a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, and can be considered the Sunday sister paper of The Sun. The newspaper concentrates on celebrity-based scoops and populist news. Its fondness for sex scandals gained it the nicknames "News of the Screws" and "Screws of the World". With sales averaging 3,445,459 copies per week in October 2006, the News of the World is the largest selling English-language newspaper in the world.

The editor Andy Coulson resigned on 26 January 2007 over the royal phone tapping scandal. He was succeeded by Colin Myler, a former editor of the Sunday Mirror who had latterly worked at the New York Post. Previous editors of the paper include Piers Morgan and Rebekah Wade who replaced Phil Hall in 2000.


The newspaper was first published on 1 October 1843, in Londonmarker by John Browne Bell. Priced at just three pence, even before the repeal of the Stamp Act (1855) or paper duty (1861), it was the cheapest newspaper of its time and was aimed directly at the newly literate working classes. It quickly established itself as a purveyor of titillation, shock and criminal news. Much of the source material came from coverage of vice prosecutions, including transcripts of police descriptions of alleged brothels, streetwalkers, and even so-called "immoral" women.

Before long the News of the World established itself as the most widely read Sunday paper, with initial sales of around 12,000 copies a week. The paper was not without its detractors, though. As one writer later related:

Frederick Greenwood, editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, met in his club one day Lord Riddell, who died a few years ago, and in the course of conversation Riddell said to him, `You know, I own a paper.' `Oh, do you?' said Greenwood, 'what is it?' `It's called the News of the World—I'll send you a copy,' replied Riddell, and in due course did so. Next time they met Riddell said, 'Well Greenwood, what do you think of my paper?' 'I looked at it,' replied Greenwood, 'and then I put it in the waste-paper basket. And then I thought, "If I leave it there the cook may read it" —so I burned it!'

This success encouraged other similar newspapers, of which the Sunday People, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror are still being published.

Its motto was "All human life is there".

Murdoch purchase

The newspaper passed into the hands of Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd. in 1969, snatching the paper from Robert Maxwell's Pergamon Press after an acrimonious year-long struggle. Maxwell's foreign origin, combined with his political opinions, provoked a hostile response to his bid from the Carrs and from the editor of the News of the World, Stafford Somerfield, who declared that the paper was—and should remain—as British as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.News Ltd. arranged to swap shares in some of its minor ventures with the Carrs and by December it controlled 40 percent of the NOTW stock. Maxwell had been supported by the Jackson family (25% shareholders), but Murdoch had gained the support of the Carr family (30%) and then-chairman William Carr.In January 1969, Maxwell's bid was rejected at a shareholders' meeting where half of those present were company staff, temporarily given voting shares.It was Murdoch's first "Fleet Streetmarker" acquisition. Maxwell accused Murdoch of employing "the laws of the jungle" to acquire the paper and said he had "made a fair and bona fide offer... which has been frustrated and defeated after three months of [cynical] manoeuvring." Murdoch denied this, arguing the shareholders of the News of the World Group had "judged [his] record in Australia."

Illness removed Sir William Carr from the chairmanship in June 1969, and Murdoch succeeded him.

The newspaper has often had to defend itself from libel charges and complaints to the Press Complaints Commission as a result of certain news-gathering techniques, such as entrapment, and contentious campaigns. Some of the best-known cases have been the "Bob and Sue" case with reporter Neville Thurlbeck, and various cases involving journalist Mazher Mahmood.

Anti-paedophile campaign

The paper began a controversial campaign to name and shame alleged paedophiles in 2000 following the abduction and murder of Sarah Payne. The paper's decision led to angry mobs terrorising those they suspected of being child sex offenders, which included several cases of mistaken identity, including, one instance where a paediatrician had her house vandalised and another where a man was confronted because he had a neck brace similar to one a peadophile was wearing when pictured. The campaign was labelled "grossly irresponsible" journalism by the then Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, Tony Butler. The paper also campaigns for the introduction of 'Sarah's Law' to allow public access to the Sex Offenders Register.

Libel actions brought against the News of the World

  • In 2005, England footballer David Beckham and his wife Victoria brought a legal action against the paper seeking libel damages over an article that carried the headline: "Posh and Becks on the Rocks." The legal action was withdrawn in 2006 and "resolved on a confidential basis," according to the couple's spokeswoman Jo Milloy.
  • In April 2006, England footballer Wayne Rooney received £100,000 in damages from the publishers of The News of the World and its sister paper The Sun over articles falsely reporting he had slapped his then-fiancée and now wife, Coleen. Both had always denied the reports.
  • In June 2006, England footballer Ashley Cole received damages from the publishers of The News of the World over articles falsely alleging the footballer had used a mobile phone as a gay sex toy. Together with its sister paper The Sun, The News of the World paid Cole £100,000 to settle the case
  • In July 2006, a libel action brought by the Scottish politician Tommy Sheridan came to court in Edinburgh. Sheridan denied allegations, made by the newspaper in November 2004 and January 2005, that he had an affair, engaged in group sex and attended a swinger's club in Manchester. Sheridan won the case and was awarded £200,000 in damages. The newspaper intends to appeal against the jury's decision, and has refused to pay out the money; Sheridan and several associates have been charged with perjury, but the case has not yet reached the courts.

2006 reward for information

On 13 December 2006 the newspaper announced that it was offering up a record breaking reward of £250,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murders in Suffolk. The reward went unclaimed since the culprit, Steve Wright, was arrested on suspicion of murder on the 19th of the same month using unrelated information.

Phone tapping scandal

2006: original scandal

The News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman and his two associates were arrested on 8 August 2006. They were charged with allegedly tapping the phones of members of the royal family, political figures and celebrities. The arrests were the result of a seven month investigation by Scotland Yardmarker. The News of the World's Londonmarker office was searched by the police during their investigations. Goodman was also suspended by the newspaper.

The investigation began as a result of an article published on 13 November 2005 by Goodman. The article claimed that Prince William was in the process of borrowing a portable editing suite from ITV royal correspondent Tom Bradby. Following the publication the Prince and Bradby met to try and figure out how the details of their arrangement had leaked out, as only two other people were aware of the situation. Prince William noted that another equally improbable leak had recently taken place regarding an appointment he had made with a knee surgeon. After some discussion, the two men concluded someone was breaking into mobile phone answering machine messages. The compromised voice mail accounts were found to belong to his aides, and not the Prince himself.

Their concerns were passed along to the police, whose investigation began as a localized incident involving staff at Clarence Housemarker. The list of possible victims has broadened to include ministers, a Member of Parliament, military chiefs, a leading media figure, top footballers and celebrities.

On 26 January 2007 Clive Goodman was jailed for four months having pleaded guilty to the phone message interception charges. On the same day, it was announced that Andy Coulson had resigned as the editor of the News of the World, having given in his notice a fortnight earlier. He was immediately replaced by Colin Myler.

2009: further revelations

The Guardian reported on 8 July 2009 that News Group - the News of the World's parent company - paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of News of the World journalists using criminal methods (accessing mobile phone voicemails of various public figures) to obtain stories. The article further reported sources as stating that News Group staff used private investigators to access several thousand mobile phone accounts. It is claimed that celebrities and public figures whose phones were tapped included former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, football manager Sir Alex Ferguson, public relations guru Max Clifford and even Rebekah Wade, the editor of the News of the World's sister-paper The Sun.

Prescott in particular was outraged at the fact that the police did not inform him of the phone tapping, but Assistant Commissioner John Yates stated that there was no actual evidence that Prescott's phone had been tapped.

The Conservative Party was quick to stand by its communications director Andy Coulson, who was editor of the News of the World at the time the alleged buggings took place.

Famous scandals reported by the News of the World


1891: Emsley Carr
1941: D. Davies
1946: S. Skelton
1947: Arthur Waters
1953: Reg Cudlipp
1960: Stafford Somerfield
1970: Cyril Lear
1975: Bernard Shrimsley
1980: Barry Askew
1981: Derek Jameson
1984: Nicholas Lloyd
1985: David Montgomery
1987: Wendy Henry
1988: Patsy Chapman
1993: Stuart Higgins
1994: Piers Morgan
1995: Phil Hall
2000: Rebekah Wade
2003: Andy Coulson
2007: Colin Myler

Current editors

Current journalists and writers

  • Neville Thurlbeck (mainly responsible for the Beckham/ Loos story) [32126]
  • Mazher Mahmood (Investigations editor, aka 'the fake sheikh')
  • Carole Malone (columnist)
  • Jane Atkinson (Chief feature writer)
  • Neil Mcleod
  • Ian Hyland (TV critic)
  • Amanda Evans
  • James Weatherup
  • Sara Nuwar
  • Carole Aye Maung
  • Robert Jobson (Royal reporter)
  • Philip Whiteside
  • Guy Basnett
  • Matthew Acton
  • Douglas Wight
  • Gemma Calvert
  • David Harrison
  • Ray Ryan
  • Robbie Collin (Film critic)
  • Dan Evans
  • Sophy Ridge (Consumer correspondent)
  • Simon Ward
  • Tom Latchem
  • Dan Wootton (Showbiz editor)
  • James Foxall (Motoring)
  • Roz McKenzie
  • Jennifer Wiley (TV)
  • Jake Mindham

See also


External links

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