[UPDATE 7pm WEDS 6th JULY: The flyer and all uploads now updated to include the latest news. If you downloaded it before, you might want to nab the latest version as well. Many thanks to everyone who’s mentioned the flyer on Twitter, Facebook, various web forums and the Guardian comments section. Feel free to adapt, amend, mirror or host any versions of that flyer yourself. Get that message out there!]
The News of the World phone hacking scandal rumbles on, with fresh allegations that the paper targeted the families of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. A Twitter-led campaign to boycott the newspaper has been rumbling on since the story broke, along with a concerted campaign requesting that a number of companies re-evaluate their advertising spend. Some members of the public are even phoning the News of the World newsline (0207 782 1001), yelling a certain word starting with the letter ‘C’, then hanging up.
All perfectly admirable behaviour, but we can’t help but feel a big bunch of people who probably didn’t buy the News of the World in the first place pledging not to buy the paper won’t really make too much difference. Indeed, any member of the public who chooses to get their ‘news’ from tabloid newspapers may well remain blissfully unaware of the story – at the time of writing, only the Daily Mail is giving any prominence to the latest phone hacking revelations, featuring the story on the front page of today’s edition (though not the main story), and at the time of writing it’s the only tabloid to feature it as top story on their website. In the other tabloids it’s rather suspiciously deemed worthy being tucked away in the inside pages, leaving front page room for Ashley Cole, Prince William and the latest desperate health scare (yeah, that’ll be the Express).
What might help is to try and get the story out there, where tabloid readers are a little more likely to see it. Say for example, you could print out a quick synopsis of the phone hacking story as it stands, and discreetly place it atop the pile of News of the Worlds in your local newsagent, petrol station forecourt or supermarket. Something a bit like this, perhaps?
There’s the above sheet in a variety of formats, feel free to download, print, disseminate, or even adjust it as you wish to make any number of points expressing how you feel about the News of the World. Feel free to host these files on your own websites, Twitpic accounts, blogs, Facebook sites or whatever – the main thing is to get the message out there.
You might even remain strongly in favour of the paper, and want to re-edit the document to express how you think hacking into the voicemail of missing children is actually a good thing, and that Rebekah Brooks should now become Prime Minister. Though, y’know, you’d be an idiot.
The main thing is, if the tabloid newspapers – who you’ll remember think that taking any approach to get a good story is wholly justified – don’t want this story out there, we might just have to do it ourselves.