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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Pressure mounts on Brooks over newspaper's 'ultimate sacrifice'

Staff at the News of the World believe their jobs have been cut simply to save the position of their former editor.

Rebekah Brooks leaves News International's premises in Wapping yesterday after telling NotW staff the paper was being closed.
Rebekah Brooks leaves News International's premises in Wapping yesterday after telling NotW staff the paper was being closed.
Image: Sang Tan/AP

PRESSURE IS MOUNTING on the chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, to consider her position this morning amid accusations that she advocated the closure of the News of the World simply to save her own skin.

Brooks, who was the editor of the NotW during the time it is alleged to have hacked the voicemail inbox of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, bore the brunt of the ire of newspaper staff in the wake of yesterday’s unprecedented announcement.

The Daily Telegraph described how Brooks was confronted with a ‘lynch mob mentality’ as she addressed staff informing them of their impending redundancy, before being immediately asked to leave by editor Colin Myler.

It said the same staff had cheered when Brooks had offered her resignation on Wednesday night, though it was turned down by James Murdoch, the chief executive of News International’s parent company News Corporation.

But such was the ire that Brooks met with yesterday that News International security had to escort her from the paper’s premises in Wapping in East London.

“Brooks has lost us our jobs because she has refused to fall on her sword,” one unnamed NotW writer said. “Saving one job has come at the cost of 200.”

A Labour MP who had secured an unprecedented debate on phone-hacking in the House of Commons earlier this week has also said he believes the paper was sacrificed to save Brooks’ career.

“This strategy of chucking first journalists, then executives, and now a whole newspaper overboard isn’t going to protect the person at the helm of the ship,” the Belfast Telegraph quotes Chris Bryant – a phone-hacking victim himself – as saying.

PR guru Max Clifford said he felt the paper was dropped not to safeguard Brooks, but instead to ensure that the attempted News Corp takeover of British Sky Broadcasting can conclude without a hitch.

Twitter users have shared the same belief, with many commenting that James Murdoch had ‘cut the wrong red-top‘ – believing that the red-haired Brooks should have been dropped instead of a successful newspaper with many innocent staff.

The closure of the title – once the best-selling English-language newspaper anywhere in the world – also means the loss of 22 full-time and ten part-time staff positions at the paper’s Irish edition, based on Bishop’s Square in Dublin.

Rebekah Brooks – CV

  • Born Rebekah Wade in May 1968
  • First journalism job with French-language architecture magazine in Paris
  • Joined the News of the World aged 20, in 1989
  • Became feature writer for ‘Sunday’ magazine and then became deputy editor
  • Became deputy editor of The Sun in 1998
  • Appointed Editor of NotW in 2000
  • Became first female editor of The Sun in 2003
  • Appointed chief executive of News International in 2009
  • Married actor Ross Kemp in 2002, divorced 2007; married author and horse trainer Charlie Brooks in 2009

More: Relatives of Omagh victims may have been hacked by NotW >

Gallery: How the press is reporting the end of the World >

Read: Ex-David Cameron aide to be arrested over NOTW phone hacking: report >

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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