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I'm a journalist, ex-national papers, now working in what we call "new" media.
GOODMAN, BAD MAN

Clive Goodman, royal editor of the News of the World has pleaded guilty to intercepting voicemail messages and could go to jail.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6194988.stm

His boss, NOTW editor says: "As the editor of the newspaper, I take ultimate responsibility for the conduct of my reporters. Clive Goodman's actions were entirely wrong and I have put in place measures to ensure that they will not be repeated by any member of my staff."

Editors don't ask too many questions about how their reporters get their stories. They may have their suspicions but they really don't want to know the details. That is how deniability works.

I first came across the practice of 'phone slamming' - hacking into mobile phone voicemail - when I was on the Express in the late 90s and a showbiz reporter casually tapped into the messages of, I think, Paul McCartney.

This sort of thing has been common on papers for years (and not just the tabloids), as has the equally illegal practice of paying to get information from the police national computer. Now Goodman has had his collar felt, I wonder if reporters will be quite so ready to continue with these practices.

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