Trust the boy-o of the industry, David Penberthy, to stop us from getting far too earnest. At a time when most people regard being a newspaper editor as a burden as much as a blessing, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph was last year joshing along with a source, receiving “far out” pictures of underwear and kidding along about fur-covered G-strings.

It has all come out, so to speak, in the defamation action by former Commonwealth Bank executive Michael Blomfield against Nationwide News over stories published in the Daily Telegraph in April 2008. (UPDATE: now settled out of court)

Penberthy is now the editor of News Limited blog The Punch, and is reinventing himself as a columnist-blogger-plain-man’s thinker kind of person, but in April 2008, he was editor of the Tele when it broke the news that Blomfield was the subject of s-xual harassment allegations by one Vivienne Dye. Blomfield and the Commonwealth Bank have vigorously denied the allegations, and now the Tele is being sued.

Dye is the Telegraph’s main witness as it seeks to convince the NSW Supreme Court that the s-xual harassment allegations were true, and therefore defensible. Yesterday as part of an attack on her credit, Dye was questioned about an email exchange she had with Penberthy in July 2008 — three months after the initial stories were published.

Dye and Penberthy apparently had what she described as a “perfectly decent and agreeable” lunch together. As well, Dye confided to Penberthy that the bank had claimed she wore a fur highlighted G-string to a Christmas Party. As a joke, she sent him pictures of underwear (see below), to which he responded, “That one on the right looks more like a barrister’s wig.” And “I think I’ve been going to the wrong Christmas parties.”

And on it goes. Further comment is hardly necessary. Today Crikey brings you the Penberthy G-string emails in full. Read and reflect on the role of a modern newspaper editor. Click on the images for larger, more readable files.