Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

10 Key Players in the News of the World Scandal

The world needs enterprising journalists. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, for example, relentlessly pursued information that uncovered the true depth and severity of the Watergate Scandal, forever changing how America views its president.

Muckraking is an essential component of democracy, but when boundaries are crossed for merely trivial matters, like in the News of the World scandal, people are left wondering if boundaries truly exist. The much-publicized demise of the almost 168-year-old publication and crippling of media conglomerate News Corporation due to phone hacking — and other possible illicit tactics of information gathering — has produced a bevy of key players, including a few who are already paying the price for their deeds. Here are 10 you should know:

  1. Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation

    A highly divisive figure because of his political ideology, Murdoch’s possible downfall has energized his detractors and opponents, even prompting one to attack him with a foam pie during a hearing with British lawmakers. The 80-year-old claimed that he was unaware of the extent of the hackings and misled by his employees, even though a former editor told Reuters that Murdoch used to micro-manage his newspapers. According to the CEO, July 19 was "the most humble" day of his life.

  2. James Murdoch, deputy COO of New Corporation

    The one-time rebellious son — who has two tattoos, dropped out of Harvard, and financially backed hip-hop record label Rawkus Records during his 20s — sat alongside his dad before the parliamentary committee, serving as little more than a sidekick as Rupert answered a majority of the questions. James has emerged as the highest-ranking Murdoch child in the company, and is considered a favorite to inherit the empire.

  3. Rebekah Brooks, CEO of News International

    Serving as editor of News of the World from 2000 to 2003, Brooks was present when missing 13-year-old schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked, a primary factor leading to the closure of the paper. During her final year at News of the World, she told the Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport that the publication made payments to police officers to obtain information. Brooks resigned from her position at News International on July 15, and she was arrested two days later.

  4. Les Hinton, CEO of Dow Jones & Company

    Rupert Murdoch was most saddened by the July 15 resignation of Hinton, who had spent more than five decades working for the media mogul as a journalist and executive. Well-liked by journalists within the company, he claimed to be ignorant about the details of the scandal, previously stating that Clive Goodman’s conduct (see below) was isolated.

  5. Glenn Mulcaire, private investigator

    Jailed in January 2007, Mulcaire resides in the middle of the scandal. The former striker for AFC Wimbledon was convicted for intercepting voicemail messages on royal aides’ and celebrities’ phones, including those of Prince William and Elle MacPherson. He drew the ire of the British public when he was accused of intercepting messages left for Milly Dowler and compiling the phone numbers of relatives of military personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  6. Andy Coulson, editor of News of the World

    Coulson replaced Brooks as editor in 2003 and resigned in 2007 — he later served as Director of Communications for the Prime Minister from May 2010 to January 2011 — after the phone hacking convictions of Mulcaire and royal editor Clive Goodman. He recently reemerged as a key figure when emails were uncovered showing that he approved payments to police for information during his tenure. Arrested for his part in the scandal, he later posted bail and remains a free man.

  7. Neil Wallis, deputy editor of News of the World

    Known for his abrasive personality, Wallis is a tabloid legend, one whom Murdoch wanted on his side. He left News of the World in 2009 after six years with the paper, eventually becoming the managing director of a public relations firm while authorizing his own company, Chamy Media, to advise the Metropolitan Police. He was arrested on July 14 on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications.

  8. Clive Goodman, royal editor of News of the World

    Goodman’s column reporting on Prince William’s injured knee in 2005 initially caused suspicion about the paper’s news gathering methods, and he was imprisoned in January 2007 after he pleaded guilty to illegally intercepting phone messages from Clarence House. He was arrested again on July 8 due to allegations that he bribed police officers for information.

  9. Sean Hoare, reporter for News of the World

    Red flags were raised on July 18 when Hoare was found dead in his home in Hertfordshire, 10 months after he told the New York Times that Coulson, who has denied knowledge of phone hacking, "actively encouraged" it. A postmortem into his death, however, showed no third-party involvement.

  10. Sir Paul Stephenson, commissioner of Metropolitan Police Service

    Hiring Wallis as a consultant and accepting his offer of a £12,000 spa break at Champneys essentially ended Stephenson’s two-year reign as commissioner. Resigning July 17, he stated that his presence and questions regarding his integrity would distract the Metropolitan Police Service from its investigation into the phone hacking scandal. As he attempted to set the record straight during his final statement, he claimed that "there has been no impropriety" and that his "integrity is completely intact."