Saturday, 11 February 2012

Committee Pushes Sun Further to the Brink

The Sun's John Kay with Admiral Lord West
 JOHN Kay is one of the finest reporters Fleet Street has ever had.
For 38 years, News International was extremely fortunate to have him on their staff at the Sun and there isn’t enough room on this blog post to list his awards.
He is the sole reason why I never worked at the Sun. He was the only reporter I ever came across who I knew I couldn’t compete with. I would have been overshadowed by his brilliance.
At 68, he was still their chief reporter, so valuable were his contacts and his stories which carried the Sun along on a crest of a circulation wave.
Now he finds himself arrested on suspicion of paying the contacts his company demanded more and more from in return for their money.
Perversely, that very same company, which applauded their chief reporter and signed off the payments to his contacts, is responsible for handing him over to the police.
It is not an overstatement to say that I cannot think of another example of behaviour which rates higher on the scale of sickening hypocrisy.
These acts of treachery by News International and News Corporation are literally destroying the lives of the people who served them loyally and did their bidding.
The anger among Sun staff at the moment is straight from the furnace and springs from the company’s desire to sacrifice anyone in order to protect itself. They have effectively declared war on their own staff, a disastrous corporate strategy.
Many have called me to vent their anger. One told me: “The hatred the Sun is at such a pitch, senior executives ought to seriously consider hiring bodyguards when they go out at night.”
On January 30, on the blog post, ‘News Int Committee will Break up the Firm’, after the arrest of four Sun journalists, I said: “Saturday’s desperate meltdown on the Sun was a crisis waiting to happen.
“And as long as News International’s ill-fated Management and Standards Committee continues to exist, it will happen again and again. Until the balance tips and it is either forced to close or is sold off.”
Today, we have lurched further forward towards that miserable  position.
The formation of the MSC has been a corporate disaster as big as the News International cover-up of the phone hacking crisis.
There should have been a half-way house sought beween ‘Operation Cover-up’ and ‘Operation Trousers Down’.
Any company would collapse under such microscopic scrutiny of its affairs and News International was grossly naïve to miss this and callous to foist it on its staff.
I personally wouldn’t work for them now if they paid me twice my salary. The end result of a News International pay cheque now is industry taint at best, ruination at worst.
The deputy editor, Geoff Webster, I’ve known for more than 20 years, having worked with him on Today and the News of the World. I’ve known John Edwards, the picture editor since we worked for Today 22 years ago. And I’ve enjoyed the company of Nick Parker, the Sun’s chief foreign correspondent on several foreign assignments over the past 20 years.
They are gifted men who gave their lives to News International.
I send my sympathies and warm wishes to them and their families.


  1. The point is They broke the Law, and that's it...if one is going to expose law breakers, then one must be honest...Who guards the guards...Anyway strings will be pulled,memories dulled, the best lawyers and a smack on the wrist at the end of the of British luck to them.

    1. No one has broken the law until they have been tried and found guilty. They haven't even been charged with any offence.

    2. Now that is funny. "No one has broken the law until they have been tried and found guilty"

      You do read the newspapers you used to work for don't you?

  2. I just can't get my head around this. On February 10th you pray for Rupert Murdoch to come galloping to the rescue of Sunday red-top readers; on February 11th your contempt for News International and its "sickening hypocrisy" is at fever-pitch.

    At this rate, Nev, you'll dizzy yourself (as well as me) into an early grave.

    1. My view on this is that Murdoch was merely a custodian of the News of the World and there is a huge public appetite for a sharp, red top Sunday newspaper as shown by the NoW circulation figures. The market demands it and someone should supply it. It's as simple as that. Murdoch is in pole position to do so. My criticism of the company's current corporate strategy does not necessarily mean they are not in the best position to supply that demand. Hope that helps Miranda.

  3. We don't know if they broke the law or not. Being arrested in a police investigation doesn't make someone guilty.

  4. I have to say, from a purely impartial viewpoint, that this is an absolute sh!tstorm for any company, never mind one that is already in the public eye