Monday, December 5, 2011

The ‘Public Interest’

Just Say No

“Journalists in Britain have traditionally justified shady practices by arguing that they are in ‘the public interest.’ Asked by an inquiry lawyer how he would define that, [former News of the World deputy features editor Paul] McMullan said that the public interest is what the public is interested in.

“‘I think the public is clever enough to decide the ethics of what it wants in its own newspapers,’ he said. Referring to articles about Charlotte Church, a singer who told the inquiry this week of her distress at her family’s treatment by the tabloids, he said, ‘If they don’t like what you have written about Charlotte Church’s father having a three-in-a-bed with cocaine, then they won’t read it.’”

—Sarah Lyall, reporter, The New York Times,
British Inquiry Is Told Hacking Is Worthy Tool,” Nov. 29, 2011
Note: Rupert Murdoch’s 168-year-old tabloid News of the World folded this fall
amid a hacking scandal. These comments by a former editor
at a British government inquiry last week on journalism ethics.

• Editorial Comment: Explains a lot about both the press and society.


Visit our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café

Permit for proposed Richmond ski resort still on hold with Cache P&Z, by Mandy Morgan
New campus eatery’s 1st week so good, it’s already looking to expand, by Katrina Warburton
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