Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, May 25, 1999 Published at 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK


UK

The Hall way

Phil Hall: Keeping up circulation at the News of the World

While the fallout of the Lawrence Dallaglio affair continues to settle on a bemused British public, News of the World editor Phil Hall seems almost unfazed.


Phil Hall on BBC Two's Newsnight: "We have a duty to expose drug dealers"
Speaking on Monday's BBC Newsnight programme, Mr Hall calmly rebutted stinging criticisms levelled at himself and the paper.

"This is the sort of investigation that the News of the World has been doing for 150 years," he said, looking almost bored at the fuss which blew up around the scandal.

'Moral crusade'

The Dallaglio story was the latest instalment in a moral crusade - he did not use the term, although it was heavily implied - against drug pushers.

"We have a responsibility to expose drug dealers. [Lawrence Dallaglio] is a man who is looked up to by young people across Britain," he said.


[ image: Mandy Allwood advertising her story in the News of the World]
Mandy Allwood advertising her story in the News of the World
He would expect nothing less of his own staff. Evidence permitting, any journalist on the tabloid paper who uses illegal drugs will be "sacked instantly" he said.

Although he may be perplexed by the attention, Mr Hall knows the furore will not hurt circulation, which, after all, is the ultimate benchmark of his success or failure in the editor's chair.

Since taking the editorship 1995, he has overseen a string of "scoops" which have helped preserve the News of the World's cherished status as Britain's biggest selling newspaper. It currently shifts about 4.3 million copies a week.

Mr Hall has come a long way since his first job in journalism, reporting for the Dagenham Post in 1974. He stayed in Essex, moving to the Ilford Recorder in 1977 and on to the Newham Recorder in 1980 as a sub-editor.

The Allwood story

He moved from production back into reporting, joining the People and then the Sunday Express in 1992 as a news editor. He signed with the News of the World the following year, working as assistant editor and then deputy editor before taking the top job.

In that role he has weathered considerable criticism, particularly when the paper signed up Mandy Allwood, who had become pregnant with octuplets after having fertility treatment.


[ image: Outed: Nick Brown]
Outed: Nick Brown
The contract allegedly stipulated she must not abort any of the embryos, despite concerns for her health and that of her babies. The Solihull mother eventually lost all eight unborn children.

Among other memorable "exclusives" scored by the News of the World during Mr Hall's reign have been the shaming of Newcastle United director's Douglas Hall and Freddie Shepherd, and the story of Roderick Wright, the Roman Catholic bishop who quit after an affair with a divorcee.

Mr Wright, who resigned as the Bishop of Argyll, posed in the paper in a T-shirt with his arm around his mistress.

Last year the paper was widely criticised for "outing" agriculture minister Nick Brown as a homosexual.

Defence claim

Keen never to be seen breaching the reporter's guidelines laid down by the Press Complaint's Council, Mr Hall insists his journalists are working in the "public interest".

He has always defended "chequebook journalism", whereby the paper pays individuals for their stories.


[ image: Earl Spencer: Told Mr Hall to keep away from Diana's funeral]
Earl Spencer: Told Mr Hall to keep away from Diana's funeral
"Every newspaper in the land, be it the Guardian, the Observer or the News of the World pays for stories," he told the journalists' trade paper, the Press Gazette.

In general he is not one for apologies, although in 1997 he dutifully accepted Earl Spencer's decision for all tabloid editors to stay away from the funeral of his sister, Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.

Further evidence that there is perhaps a softer side to the hard newspaperman came in the wake of the Dallaglio scandal when he was probed on Talk Radio.

Referring to Mr Dallaglio's decision to step down from the England rugby side, he said: "I'm a great rugby fan and he's a heroic figure, so I'm full of regrets at this stage."



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

25 May 99 | Rugby Union
Dallaglio: I lied to reporters





In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online