NotW journo: ‘we did it, it’s justified’. Four Corners revealed further details on the widespread nature of the phone hacking and other illegal activity last night that occurred at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. Corrupt police provided information to private investigators employed by the newspaper. One source says “money [was] passing from the news organisations, through [investigator] Jonathan Rees, to the corrupt police officers” who allegedly provided access to the police computer systems.

Former Tony Blair press secretary Alastair Campbell says: “It seems they were in a sense replacing journalists … one assumes to save costs, but the other reason you assume is because it meant that the private detectives could do things the journalists can’t.”

The program also queried Rebekah Brooks’ and James Murdoch’s claims they did not know of the allegedly widespread use of phone hacking and other criminal behaviour by people paid by News International. Former News of the World journalist Paul McMullen tells the program: Why don’t you stand up and tell the truth and say ‘sometimes if you want to catch a politician with his trousers around his ankles, you have to hack his phone’. We did it. It’s justified’.” — Crikey intern Matthew Raggatt

Mamamia, it’s missing some facts. Suicide isn’t an issue you usually find in Fairfax’s frothy Sunday Life magazine, but yesterday’s weekly column by former mag queen turned Mamamia publishing maven Mia Freedman covered how suicide gets reported — or not reported — in the media:

“If you work in the media, you learn early to tread very cautiously around suicide stories. There are strict media guidelines around the way they’re reported and for good reason …

… That’s why you’ll sometimes read or hear about a death reported in vague terms. Why the method of a suicide is never disclosed. And why there are so many, many suicides you’ll never know about because they’re not reported at all.

The reasons for these media guidelines are sound but overall, is it a good thing, this silence?”

A worthy topic. Problem is, just weeks ago the Press Council released new guidelines for reporting suicides, drafted in consultation with Lifeline and Mindframe and aimed at lifting the silence over suicide reporting. The Press Council included recommendations such as “General reporting and comment on issues relating to suicide can be of substantial public benefit” and “Subject to careful compliance with the following standards, the Council does not wish to discourage material of this nature”. So was Freedman unaware of the Press Council changes? Why no mention of the new suicide reporting guidelines in her column?

“Indeed I did become aware of the changes to the guidelines  —  after I had written my column. I was travelling a lot during that deadline week and wrote it in advance (as I very occasionally do), right before the guidelines changed,” Freedman told Crikey. “The Fairfax subs did alert me to the fact but it was late in the production process but I was unable to re-write it in time. I take full responsibility for that. I thought the column — about suicide and the stigma around it more than simply media guidelines — still held up. I have updated the column where it’s posted on Mamamia … and I’m sure Sunday Life will do the same when they publish it online.”

The Fairfax version has appeared online, but carries no update. — Amber Jamieson

Alan Jones: I know Abbott ‘inside-out’. Tony Abbott didn’t promise Tony Windsor he’d give “serious thought” to selling his “arse” to win the Lodge, he insists. Alan Jones, at least, is convinced. The opposition leader couldn’t have said it because he’s too humble, the Sydney shock jock told his 2GB audience this morning:

“I can tell you from someone who has known Tony inside-out, respect and courtesy and intelligence and common sense are qualities he has in spades and if Mr Windsor thinks that sort of attack made up is somehow going to bolster his position then he better think again. And the reason I know that Tony Abbott doesn’t talk like that, he has one overriding weakness as a politician, Tony Abbott, and that is his unbelievable humility.”

Case closed. And as for Windsor? “He’s confirmed himself really as unemployable courtesy of his performance inside and outside the parliament,” Jones spat. — Jason Whittaker

Front page of the day. Good one, Daily Telegraph, Barrier O’Farrell, ha. Geddit?

Law change to stop News Corp renewing BSkyB bid

“Labour is trying to secure cross-party support for an emergency change in the law to prevent News Corporation from renewing its bid to take full ownership of BSkyB.” — The Guardian

Online defamation cases doubled in past year: research

“The number of defamation court cases involving claims on online libel has more than doubled in the past year, according to legal information provider Sweet and Maxwell. In figures released today the firm claimed that court cases related to allegations of defamation on the internet rose to 16 in the year ending 31 May, compared to seven in the previous year.” —

Front pages from 2001 to 2011 tell story of 9/11 decade

“We have compiled and posted some of these front pages below, with thanks to the Newseum and all the newspapers that have helped create and preserve Page One memories from the last 10 years.” — Poynter

News Ltd to cut costs by 5%

“News Limited has joined the long list of media companies to cut costs amid weak retail conditions and an uncertain outlook for the advertising market. Chief financial officer Stephen Rue has been given the job of reviewing the print and digital group’s cost base with a target of reducing costs by 5 per cent, sources have told Media.” — The Australian

Bad weather good news for TV

“Delivering on its promise to take people into the path of hurricanes makes the Weather Channel a must for viewers, who tune in to see storm coverage and wind-battered reporters.” — The New York Times

If you don’t want to use your real name, don’t use Google+

“Google+ was meant to be an identity service, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said this weekend, shedding some light on Google’s reasoning behind Google+’s controversial real-name policy.” — Mashable

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey