Guardian Nick Davies: Death of a Reporter – Sean Hoare knew how destructive the News of the World could be

Here is an excerpt from a very insightful and moving piece by Guardian Nick Davies, “Sean Hoare knew how destructive the News of the World could be – The courageous whistleblower who claimed Andy Coulson knew about phone hacking had a powerful motive for speaking out

“At a time when the reputation of News of the World journalists is at rock bottom, it needs to be said that the paper’s former showbusiness correspondent Sean Hoare, who died on Monday, was a lovely man.

In the saga of the phone-hacking scandal, he distinguished himself by being the first former NoW journalist to come out on the record, telling the New York Times last year that his former friend and editor, Andy Coulson, had actively encouraged him to hack into voicemail.

That took courage. But he had a particularly powerful motive for speaking. He knew how destructive the News of the World could be, not just for the targets of its exposés, but also for the ordinary journalists who worked there, who got caught up in its remorseless drive for headlines.

[…] In the end, his body would not take it any more. He said he started to have fits, that his liver was in such a terrible state that a doctor told him he must be dead. And, as his health collapsed, he was sacked by the News of the World – by his old friend Coulson.

When he spoke out about the voicemail hacking, some Conservative MPs were quick to smear him, spreading tales of his drug use as though that meant he was dishonest. He was genuinely offended by the lies being told by News International and always willing to help me and other reporters who were trying to expose the truth. He was equally offended when Scotland Yard’s former assistant commissioner, John Yates, assigned officers to interview him, not as a witness but as a suspect. They told him anything he said could be used against him, and, to his credit, he refused to have anything to do with them.

His health never recovered. He liked to say that he had stopped drinking, but he would treat himself to some red wine. He liked to say he didn’t smoke any more, but he would stop for a cigarette on his way home. For better and worse, he was a Fleet Street man.

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