Back in 2005 Andy Coulson was conquering all before him as editor of the News of the World.
It now turns out it was the very time when employees of the paper were involved in the activities which would prompt the ongoing furore over the hacking of mobile phone messages .
I’ve dug out the profile of the NoW team, and interview with Coulson, that Ian Reeves wrote in April of that year. It’s worth reading again.
Let’s not forget the News of the World was British Press Awards and London Press Club Newspaper of the Year that year (it also won the BPA prizes for scoop of the year for “Beckham’s secret affair” and young journalist of the year for Ryan Sabey).
Even before the phone-hack revelations, the award was a controversial one for those who disagree with ‘chequebook journalism’ – with The Guardian and other titles threatening to boycott the British Press Awards as a result.
As well as the David Beckam affair, and the story of then England manager Sven Goran Eriksson’s dalliance with Faria Alam – Coulson also boasted in the interview of investigations which revealed a woman who wanted to sell her baby and another who had sought to sell her daughter’s virginity. He said that be believe that one of these stories had saved a life, while the other had led to a vulnerable child being taken into care.
He gave the impression of being an editor who was driven by a moral, as well as commercially competitive, imperative.
And he was at pains to stress the “degree of discussion and analysis” that went into stories before they appeared in print.
He said: “The business that we’re in, our mistakes are so public – and we have made a couple of them, you put ’em right when you’ve got it wrong – that you have to do everything you possibly can. That’s a responsibility that runs right the way down from reporters. You’ve got to think your stories through before you press the button.”
Read the 2005 Andy Coulson interview and News of the World feature on this link (forgive the slightly jaunty angle of the scanned in pages).