News of the World vs. Big Society: snakes in the grass
Watching Channel 4′s excellent documentary Tabloids, Tories and Telephone Hacking I was struck by the bravery of the victim of sexual assault who spoke out, especially in comparison to the majority of ‘journalists’ who worked under Andy Coulson and/or alongside Clive Goodman at News of the World (i.e. people who claim their life’s mission is to root out and report corruption).
I was also greatly amused to watch the footage of Coulson being confronted by the Culture Select Committee with a hard copy of the Goodman article that did him in (the bottom item in the scan below); this was a
news gossip item that alerted the royals to the phone hacking that led to a police investigation, a conviction, and Coulson’s resignation (link), but Coulson looked at it as if he’d only just then laid eyes on it.
As you can see from the scan, Goodman drapes himself in the name of a familiar fictional character and casts himself as an anti-establishment warrior fighting for the rights of the common man. Moving quickly on from the shtick of this corrupt liar and how familiar it seems, I would like you to note that Andy Coulson portrays this man as a rotten apple in barrel, while Goodman seems/seemed to think of himself as more of a snake in the grass.
(There’s a clever sentence about apples and snakes that eludes me here; perhaps the accomplished writer and biblical scholar Nadine Dorries would care to tackle it.)
Yesterday, I did some research in the British Newspaper Library in Colindale, in an effort to (at least) familiarise myself with Goodman’s NOtW contemporaries from the period preceding/surrounding the act that led to his downfall.
What appears below is a list of ‘journalists’ who rated a byline mention in News of the World in 2005. I’ll refrain from highlighting any names that already stand out for me (it wouldn’t be at all fair in a post like this), but I will tell you that this list may contain the name of the individual who had an actor portray them in Tabloids, Tories and Telephone Hacking, and it may also contain the names of several people who are busy avoiding any mention of the matter at all, possibly because they still work for News International and/or fear having their lives ruined by the type of people who smear those who dare to expose their corruption.
Rather than waiting for newspapers, TV or (Dog forbid) the police to do something about this, I propose that we ‘Big Society’ this project and beat the grass with sticks ourselves, to see how (m)any remaining snakes react.
The way I picture it, any blogger with an interest in truth in media can pick a name (at random, if you want to try to be as fair as possible), find out what that person has been up to lately (starting with Wikipedia, Journalisted, etc.), source the relevant contact details in the process, approach that person for comment, then blog the details.
At the very least, we should end up with a pretty comprehensive list of people who would rather stay hidden in the grass for one reason or another.
List of News of the World ‘journalists’ granted a byline in 2005
(NOTE – People known to be still working for NOTW at the time of writing are highlighted in bold. Names preceded by an [e] have been emailed – or in some cases tweeted – with a request that they comment on this matter. Obviously those still working for NOTW or another News International newspaper are unlikely to comment, but there are Is to be dotted and Ts to be crossed.)
[e] Phil Taylor – ‘associate editor’
[e] Neville Thurlbeck – ‘chief reporter’ [response: no comment]
[e] Ian Kirby – ‘political editor’ [response: no comment]
[e] Keith Gladdis - ‘deputy politicial editor’/’whitehall editor’ [response: no comment]
[e] Mark Bolland – (former editor of ‘Blackadder’… and former director of the PCC) [response: no comment]
Clive Goodman – ‘royal editor’ [done]
[e] Ryan Sabey – ‘royal reporter’ (Now working for The Sun) [response: no comment]
Mahzer Mahmood – ‘investigations editor’
[e] Martin Samuel – ‘chief sports writer’
[e] Rachel Richardson – ‘tv editor’ [response: no comment]
[e] Amanda Evans [response: no comment]
[e] Andrea Vance [response: no comment]
Carl Fellstrom [Has blogged about it here. And good on him.]
Carole Aye Maung
[e] Chris Buckland (Now working for The Sun) [response: no comment]
[e] Dan Evans (currently “suspended from reporting duties” following a complaint by a female television personality that her voicemail was intercepted this year- source)
[e] Danny Buckland
[e] Dominic Herbert [response: no comment]
Frank Thorne (Sydney-based correspondent)
MINI-UPDATE – I have added here the names of
twothree News of the World executives who were active at the time:
Alex Marunchak (this article from 2002 will raise an eyebrow)
Greg Miskew (Miskew left in July 2005, but it is alleged he signed a contract with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire)
(Those with certain prominence and/or billed with a title in print in 2005 head the list, but other than that, the order is strictly alphabetical by first name. This is not a complete list, and it may grow; samples were taken from the main part of the paper in early, mid and later months of 2005. Some pseudonyms and/or nameless drones may be involved. Other people were afforded bylines at the time, but they are not in this list because they wrote opinion pieces and/or were unlikely to be based in the main office; e.g. Lord Stevens, William Hague, Tony Blair, Al Murray, the lovely Ulrika, and Mystic Meg… who we can only assume failed to see this coming.)
So, there’s your list. Many of these people worked alongside Clive Goodman in the months leading up to the event that led to his arrest, and may or may not have something to say about their recollection of events and/or the culture in the newsroom under Andy Coulson.
If you plan on starting on a name or two, do drop me a line privately, leave a comment, or ping me on Twitter (hashtag is #snakelist); I’ll probably start marking names as ‘taken’ and/or ‘done’ once we get rolling, or I may choose to leave the list unmarked to keep the drones guessing. Let’s see how we get on.
* UPDATE (29 August, 2011) – ‘Edward Trevor’ appears to be a fake name. The following has been reported by the Wall Street Journal:
Former News of the World staffers say it wasn’t unusual for the News of the World’s editors to put a reporter’s byline on a story not written by that person. In fact, one reporter whose name appeared on hundreds of News of the World stories over the years—Edward Trevor—doesn’t actually exist, former staffers say.