Big Red Passes Buck
Irving, Clive, Newsweek
Byline: Clive Irving
The way Rebekah Brooks told it, editing News of the World was an oddly aloof activity. Her testimony before Parliament describes a newsroom chain of command that other editors would not recognize.
First, there was the money. Somebody had to pay for all that hacking. So who signed off on it?
The editor "acquires" the overall editorial budget. Then, "it is given to the managing editor to allocate to different departments."
But wait. What about a big story--like covering the disappearance of murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler, whose phone was hacked by News of the World?
How does a paper like News of the World go about reporting such a big story? "There are many layers," says Brooks patiently, "from reporter to assistant news editor to news editor." Then a subeditor "will often talk to the reporter directly, with questions and amendments--"
According to Brooks's account, at no stage in the coverage of this horrendous story did she intercede and ask, "What are the sources? Where did you get this stuff?"
Then interrogator Therese Coffey gets to the salient detail: that News of the World knew six days after Milly Dowler went missing that a message was left on her voice mail. …