The scandal broke in 2007, after Scotland Yard discovered dozens of politicians, celebrities and sports figures routinely had their voicemail broken into by a private investigator employed by the paper. Even Prince Harry’s phone had been compromised. The contents of those conversations were often used in stories in the cutthroat, competitive world of British celebrity tabloids.
When the phone hacking came to light, two members of the paper were arrested — the private investigator and the paper’s royal editor. The paper said only to two “rogue reporters” had been involved in the hacking.
However, over the years, questions kept coming up as to the real extent of the spying. In the fall of 2010, the New York Times published an extensive investigation into the hacking, suggesting that Andy Coulson, the former editor of News of the World, had full knowledge of the affair. Coulson had since become Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communication. This past January, Coulson stepped down from his post at 10 Downing Street, saying the accusations distracted from the government’s work.
This month, the investigation heated up as two News of the World journalists were called in for questioning by the police and arrested. They were later released on bail. Last week, the paper finally acknowledged the hacking practice had been more widespread. On Wednesday, Hugh Grant sent the tongues wagging when he recorded a conversation with a former News of the World reporter. On Thursday, a third journalist from News of the World was arrested. The Guardian reports further searches of the News of the World offices will likely take place soon.
The tabloid has gone from breaking the news to being the news.