Sacked staff eye mounting Murdoch woes with alarm

Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:50pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Former News of the World staff are watching with alarm as Rupert Murdoch's media empire scrambles to contain a hacking scandal that has closed their newspaper and could make finding new employment more difficult.

Some reporters at the hugely popular British paper say their reputations may be harmed by association as more cases of intrusive news gathering surface, both at News of the World and other Murdoch titles.

"Now that the dust has settled, we are looking to our future and I think we have all been a bit tarnished by this and we're genuinely concerned about issues going on elsewhere," said one former employee, who asked not to be named.

"Two weeks ago, despite what has come out, having worked at News of the World was a huge bonus (in getting new employment)," added the reporter, one of around 200 to lose their jobs.

"We are now at a point where we are not going to get a job abroad, and in the UK we may be able to, but it won't be as easy as it was."

The Sunday Times broadsheet and the Sun tabloid, also part of the Murdoch stable, have been sucked into the scandal after the Guardian newspaper reported on Tuesday that they had targeted Gordon Brown when he was finance minister and prime minister.

The reporter said he and around 10 former News of the World workers were meeting on Tuesday to discuss whether to seek legal advice before entering into negotiations with News International, Murdoch's British newspaper arm.

Some have already contacted lawyers. The London legal practice Silverman Sherliker invited the sacked journalists to sign up to an action group via its website.   Continued...

<p>Copies of the final edition of the News of the World, alongside other Sunday papers, are displayed for sale in a newsagent in London July 10, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>