Axegrinder at Leveson: Former editor Phil Hall celebrates the copy-approval culture

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Axegrinder had to pick his jaw up off the floor while listening to former News of the World editor Phil Hall’s words of advice to the opening seminar of the Leveson Inquiry into phone-hacking.

Speaking in the Last Chance Saloon Room of the QEII Conference centre in Westminster, PR man Hall said:

“In my experience there has been a benefit of the pressure to compete over fewer stories. To secure exclusive stories these days more than ever editors are allowing the subject of the interview to approve the account for publication. That does not mean they have control over the story, but it does mean they can challenge inaccuracies and ensure absolute probity.”

Erm…So that’s the solution then, let’s just let the people we write about have sign-off on what we publish.

Axegrinder was always under the impression that giving celebs copy-approval was tantamount to turning your newspaper into an extension of their publicity machine and a grave betrayal of hundreds of years of hard-fought press freedom. But I stand corrected.

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