In a hearing today in London, editors at three of UK’s most popular celebrity gossip rags, Heat, OK! and Hello! testified. Prime Minister David Cameron put together a commission to look into sensational journalism after an investigation revealed that Ruport Murdoch’s News of the World had engaged in unscrupulous practices including tapping and hacking phones of public figures, celebrities and crime victims. British celebs like author J.K. Rowling and Hugh Grant, the Associated Press reported, had complained of being harassed by paparazzi.
OK! editor Lisa Byrne said her magazine’s approach allowed celebrities who were getting married or having a baby to keep the hounds of the tabloid press at bay.“The sad truth is that there can be almost a bounty on the head of that child for the first photos,” she said. “They can make a paparazzo a lot of money. So to work with a magazine such as ours where we can offer a controlled, safe environment means they can take that into their own hands.”The editors all said they had ethical boundaries. Hello! editor Rosie Nixon said Hello! would not run pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, shopping or going about her daily life.But they also acknowledged they sometimes got it wrong, as when Hello! ran snatched photos of the wedding of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas in 2000. The couple had signed an exclusive 1-million pound deal with OK! to cover the lavish event at New York’s Plaza Hotel.Zeta-Jones said she had felt “violated” when Hello! published its “sleazy and unflattering” pictures.The case sparked a long-running lawsuit, which OK! won.Nixon called running the unauthorized pictures “a mistake … a very costly mistake.”
Now we know, but for others, lack or absence of coverage cannot be too good if you make your money in the public limelight. What do you think?