News of the World execs guilty...of nepotism

News of the World executives were guilty…of nepotism at least it seems.

The Guardian has tracked down the author of the “for Neville” email of typed-up hacked phone conversations, which journalist Nick Davies presented to the Commons culture select committee.

It turns out that he is Ross Hall, a nephew of former News of the World editor Phil Hall.

He was out of the country at the time of the select committee hearings last year so couldn’t testify but now he’s working in PR and told The Guardian that he would talk to the new Commons Home Affairs Committee phone-hack inquiry.

“If asked, I will tell them what I know,” he said.

Back in July last year, Guardian journalist Davies produced the email transcript of a hacked phone conversation during his testimony to the Commons culture and media committee.

It appeared to suggest that at least two further journalists at the News of the World had knowledge of phone-hacking: the individual who wrote up the June 2005 transcript, after listening to hacked phoned calls, and the person named at top the of the email, which was headed up: “This is a transcript for Neville”.

You can view a redacted version of the email in question here.

MPs quizzed NoW execs about the email the following week.

News International head lawyer Tom Crone, told MPs that Ross Hall ( who was not named at the time) did not remember the particular job. Hall was also described as a former messenger who was being trained as a junior reporter at the time.

On the question of whether chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck had seen the email, Crone said: “His position is that he’s never seen that email and never had any knowledge of it.”

Hall’s LinkedIn profile (now deleted but here’s a Google cached version) suggests he was rather more senior than the impression previously given.

It claims he joined the NoW as a reporter/features researcher/editorial assistant in August 1995 and that between 2004 and March this year he was a senior news reporter.

Hall’s profile says he was: “An investigative news reporter covering high-profile stories including the London and US terror attacks and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.”

He currently works as “associate vice president” of a PR company and says he is: “A specialist in dealing with attacks on reputation and issues and crisis communications.”

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