Sunday, 10 July 2011

Nick Davies, the Guardian

If you have any interest at all in the media in the UK you must have been following the ‘phone hacking story. But on this Sunday morning you will surely also be suffering from overload. It is everywhere, on every bulletin, on the front and insides of every paper, and all over the blog-and twitter-sphere. And yet it isn’t all over, just because Murdoch has closed the News of the World. There is plenty more to come, with confirmation of further revelations to follow from News International, and all the political fallout from Andy Coulson’s employment, two inquiries, the BSkyB affair, the police mis-handling, and so on.

It is interesting to look back at where this all came from, and how we, the public, found out about it. It is due to good old-fashioned journalism, with enormous credit due to journalist Nick Davies and his employer the Guardian.

There was a letter to the editor in the paper on Friday which just about sums up my own view:

As a long-standing Guardian reader, I just wanted to say how immensely proud I feel of the fantastic public service that my paper has rendered society, finally forcing this disgraceful business out into the full glare of public scrutiny

As to how the story came about, and how the paper covered it, see this video.

So who is this man Nick Davies? Well you can listen again to a piece from Radio 4’s Profile series, broadcast last night. His own editor, himself due plenty of praise, gives his take on the story here.

I can recommend Davies 2008 book Flat Earth News, of which the London Review of Books said “.. a genuinely important book, one which is likely to change, permanently, the way anyone who reads it looks at the British newspaper industry”.

And finally, at least for now, just in case you thought that tabloid intrusion, hacking, and their generally distasteful techniques were a thing of the distant past, look at this recent experience.

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