A News of the World employee hacks into the mobile phone voicemail of missing schoolgirl. Is that newsworthy or not?

So, The Guardian reports creditable claims that an employee from the News of the World hacked into, and deleted messages from, the voicemail of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002, leading to false hope for her parents that she was still alive, and misleading the police investigation at the time. That's a pretty big story, and unquestionably a much bigger scandal than the kind of "FAMOUS MAN OFF TELLY OR FOOTBALL SAYS OR DOES SOMETHING A BIT CONTROVERSIAL" thing that would cover an entire wall of a newsagent like bilious wallpaper.

The stories broke a couple of hours ago (this is being typed at 7pm), so Her Majesty's press have had plenty of time to put the story on their websites. Which of them have it "above the fold", that is, have the story in a position that's visible on the front page of their website without having to scroll down or carry out a search?

YES:

The Guardian: lead story

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The Independent: lead story

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The Telegraph: lead story

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The Times: fourth story, though the News of the World’s sister newspaper takes a very different approach to the story, instead reporting it as “Dowler family sues News of the World”:

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NO:

Daily Mirror: no coverage of the Milly/News of the World phonehacking story, but Fearne Cotton has a “new boyf”.

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NOTW’s sister paper The Sun: no coverage, but a “Fat bloke is at top of Next modelling poll”.

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Daily Star: No coverage, but “Gorgeous Gemma is making her page 3 debut today” is considered newsworthy.

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Onto the supposedly “quality tabloids”, then. Starting with the Daily Express: no coverage, though blah blah cancer, holidays, Miliband, the EU.

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The Daily Mail: no coverage. But two of the three lead stories are that Kate and Wills are in Canada. Of course, dead schoolgirls are only important to the Daily Mail when they can blame it on striking teachers.

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So, that’s how the press are covering (or not) the News of the World/News International Milly Dowler phonehacking story. The broadsheet press have decided it is a news story. The tabloids, well, we can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want to throw any more light on the whole ‘dark arts of tabloid journalism’ thing. Can you?

 

Meanwhile, over on News International’s corporate website, a irony-free reminder of just what constitutes “world-class journalism”:

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