A scandal that stopped the presses

Posted by Jenna Gallagher on July 13, 2011 |

Rupert Murdoch. News of the World. Rebekah Brooks. Journalism. Scandal.

For members of the media, the best gossip is industry gossip. Give any off-the-clock journalist a choice between a ten-year old chestnut about pot-stirring former US Weekly Editor Bonnie Fuller and a hot celebrity tip in the latest issue of that magazine, Bonnie trumps Brangelina every time. Why else would The Huffington Post have a daily section devoted entirely to coverage of the press?

Which means for many, the News of the World imbroglio is Christmas in July. It’s a small industry. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who worked for/heard rumors about/clinked glasses with one of the principal players. And if not, well, there are still plenty of names to be named.

Not to mention, more dirty tricks to be uncovered. Take claims that NoTW may have hacked the phones of British 9/11 victims.

Whether or not the unsubstantiated 9/11 claims turn out to be true, the takedown of NoTW may well cause a domino effect for American journalism. After all, tabloids are famously competitive. Where are they getting their scoops?

Perhaps the more important question to ask is, why do scandalous headlines garner such high readership? Has the public desire for gossip become so voracious that there is no depth to which the tabs will not sink? Have readers simply adopted a don’t ask, don’t tell policy when it comes to how journalists get their information?

Do you think the NoTW scandal will have a lasting impact on journalism? Is it a “watershed moment” as described by the Times of London?

Share your thoughts with us.




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