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Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
News of the World editor quits

Phil Hall is to be replaced by Rebekah Wade
The editor of the News of the World, Phil Hall, is to stand down from the post, News International has announced.

Mr Hall, 45, has been in charge of the UK's biggest-selling newspaper since 1995.

Under his editorship the paper landed a string of exclusives to keep it ahead of its rivals in circulation, currently selling around 4.2 million copies a week.

The BBC's media correspondent Torin Douglas believes Mr Hall, the paper's tenth editor in 20 years, is simply the latest victim of the paper's owner media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

Most editors of the paper haven't left of their own volition and Phil Hall is no exception

Torin Douglas, BBC media correspondent
Mr Hall will be replaced by the deputy editor of The Sun, Rebekah Wade, with immediate effect.

Torin Douglas told BBC News Online: "Most editors of the paper haven't left of their own volition and Phil Hall is no exception.

"The paper has the highest market share it's ever had within the Sunday tabloid market, but circulation is not good."

'An exhilarating experience'

In a statement, Mr Hall said: "Editing the News of the World has been an exhausting and an exhilarating experience, breaking the big agenda setting stories and winning awards for the newspaper and its team.

"I wish the News of the World and its staff the great success that both so richly deserve."

Les Hinton, executive chairman of News International, credited Mr Hall with having made "a huge contribution" in running the newspaper.

He added: "I will greatly miss working with Phil as an editor. He has, however, agreed to discuss other roles he might play within the company.

'Ideally qualified'

"In Rebekah we have an excellent and extremely well qualified successor whose dedication, energy and skill will make her an ideal editor of the News of the World."

Ms Wade is being succeeded at The Sun by Fergus Shanahan, 45, who joined that paper in 1989 as assistant night editor.

The Sun's editor, David Yelland, congratulated Ms Wade on her new appointment, and said: "I will miss Rebekah. We worked together for two wonderful years. However, her departure is good news both for her and the company."

Long career

Mr Hall started in journalism as a reporter for the Dagenham Post in 1974.

He moved to the Ilford Recorder in 1977 and on to the Newham Recorder in 1980 as a sub-editor.

He then moved from production back into reporting, joining the Sunday People and then the Sunday Express in 1992 as news editor.

He joined the News of the World the following year, working as assistant editor and then deputy editor before being appointed editor when Piers Morgan left to edit The Mirror.

Mr Hall has been no stranger to controversy since taking over as editor.

He courted controversy when the paper signed up Mandy Allwood, who had become pregnant with octuplets following fertility treatment.

Series of scoops

The Solihull mother eventually lost all eight unborn children.

Among other memorable News of the World exclusives during Mr Hall's editorship have been the shaming of Newcastle United directors Douglas Hall and Freddie Shepherd, who referred to Newcastle women as "dogs" and said fans were stupid for buying expensive shirts.

It made more headlines when it claimed England rugby union captain Lawrence Dallaglio took and dealt in hard drugs. He denied the allegations and claimed he had been making up stories to "impress" the undercover reporters.

Nevertheless Dallaglio was forced to resign from the team.

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