From The Guardian newspaper; A seasoned â€˜execâ€™ has been jailed for four months, a supplier for six, plus a senior exec has resigned, offering to make substantive donations for any offence caused.The crime? Burglarising mobile phones to find out private information (free subscription) which is then used for commercial and personal advantage.
In any area of business this would be labelled a complete PR disaster, but in this case itâ€™s not; simply because it happened to a newspaper. And as Iâ€™ve said before, the news media is the only industry that somehow never labels its own commercial embarrassments as PR disasters. But why should they be exempt?
In this case the â€˜newspaperâ€™ was Britainâ€™s â€˜News of the Worldâ€™. The paperâ€™s nickname, News of the Screws – given for its tendency to report on celebrity bonking and sleaze â€“ has taken on a new and sinister meaning because of the â€˜phone screwingâ€™ practiced by disgraced royal reporter Clive Goodman and gumshoe Glenn Mulcaire.
The scenario offers a salutory tale for PR consultants (free subscription) (Lahndan publicist Max Clifford and Royal Comms Secretary Paddy Harveson were said to have been targets of the phone tapping scandal), as ‘celebrity espionage’ brings another difficult dynamic in managing client reputation. Forget brain tumours, using mobiles can definitely be highly dangerous…to your career.