News of the World Under Rebekah Brooks ‘Like the Death Star,’ Says Former Reporter

146671048 <em>News of the World</em> Under Rebekah Brooks Like the Death Star, Says Former Reporter

Brooks, Getty Images

Former News of the World reporter Graham Johnson has published a tell-all of his time under Rebekah Brooks called Hack: Sex, Drugs, and Scandal from Inside the Tabloid Jungle. An interview with Vice suggests Rupert Murdoch’s former deputy might not enjoy her portrayal.

“The problem is with tabloid journalists, like Rebekah Brooks, and the editors at the Mirror, is they’ve dished it out constantly, but they never expected to get it back,” Mr. Johnson told Vice. “But now they’re getting it and they don’t like it.”

Mr. Johnson also described the corporate environment that enabled reporters to conduct illegal activities like phone hacking and bribery on a wide scale, prompting the U.K. government to launch a major media ethics investigation last year. He said:

It was like the Death Star in Star Wars, fear and repression were tangible, it was like atmospheric pressure under the sea. I remember some girl trying to commit suicide at the News of the World Christmas party. You justify it because you are a stormtrooper. You know, “This is my job, I don’t care. I don’t care what you think or whether this is immoral.” The vice, the immorality has got to be in you and I take responsibility for that. When I started off as a reporter, I had no morals. I was driven by passion and greed and lust and an extremist form of ambition. I went from being a bad reporter and changed to being a good reporter.

There are more gory details and tabloid reporting tips (The Observer’s favorite: hire a bunch of photographers to swarm the subject’s house and then arrive, camera-less, the sensitive savior-reporter) over at Vice and, presumably, in the book.