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Earlier this summer, allegations arose that Milly Dowler’s phone, along with many others, was hacked into. It damaged the name of journalism and insulted those who go to these extents in order to gather information for their job. The Times claimed in July that ‘there would not be a journalist in the country who will not feel shamed and depressed.’ Journalism should be the trade of reporting the truth and informing their loyal readers; there should be a clear line when this is seen to be crossed.
This summer I had a week’s work experience at the features desk at The Times, which was in the same building as, and owned by, News International. It was fortunate that this week seem to land at such an exciting time which will be known to be in the history of journalism. It was in the office, on the Tuesday afternoon that the allegations began to pour out. Journalists in the office were finding claims on twitter, and then soon on the news. The office was stunned as the TV was turned up and people swirled their chairs around to face it.
The ongoing comments that News International journalists should be ‘ashamed of themselves’ did not go down well. With The News of The World office just two floors below us it stunned many people throughout the whole building, none of whom had ever got involved with any phone hacking situation.
By the Thursday when it was announced that The News of The World had decided to close down, the editor of the whole of The Times called every journalist to think about those who had their jobs taken away by other people in the past making such shameful decisions.
All the other news flooding in that week seemed irrelevant as it was going down in history that a paper that had been alive and read by so many people was to be closed down. On the Features desk many were unsure whether to go ahead with the planned print for the next day after the news came out about the paper closing down. It seemed hard to disregard such a huge part of journalism under News International at such a dramatic time.
I think it is important to argue against the claim made that ‘the practice of journalism was ruined’. It was not every journalist who went against what many would call human rights and proceeded to hack into Milly Dowler’s phone at such a hard time. It is not every journalist who put their morals behind their job in order to get certain information. Journalistic integrity is still in full swing and although many are aware of the pain that was caused, we should remember that it goes without saying that nothing of this nature will ever happen again.