Whatever you think about the News of the World, they did create what digital marketing experts like to call 'engaging content'.
It was the world's biggest selling newspaper. They knew how to create headlines that would grab attention, intros that would beckon you in and story narratives that would have you gripped until the last sentence. Which usually involved the journalist reporting that he 'refused' a brothel keeper's 'disgusting offer' and 'made my excuses and left.'
I loved the rich lexicon of the tabloid writer.
There's no doubt that the News of the World overstepped the mark. Nobody could defend the dreadful, immoral intrusions of privacy in the Miller Dowler and Soham murder cases. But only a BONKERS JUDGE would punish the 250 or so sports, entertainment and consumer journalists who were entirely innocent.
In tabloid terms, the story of the sudden end of their careers would be described as a horror crash.
In the tightly worded tale that followed, the selfless devotion to the public would be described in highly emotive terms. Readers would hear how they WOWED the public, CAMPAIGNED tirelessly for the underprivileged and EXPOSED CRIMINALS in places where COPS WERE TOO SCARED to go.
The News of the World hacks were masters of 'engaging and compelling content.' Except they would never describe their job with those words.
As a rule, anyone who uses the phrase 'engaging content' will never, ever, write 'engaging content'.
Yes, I realise I am over using that ghastly phrase. But only to illustrate another advantage that tabloid journalists enjoyed. They weren't slaves to 'key word density'. The wrote for the readers, whereas the new generation of writers just want to catch the eye of a Google Algorithm. Zombies have masterminded a take over of journalism.
An 'insider' (i.e. a person I made up to back up my point) has told me that the closure of the News of the World was less a moral crusade and more about realigning News International with the digital world.
Now that, is very sad. A real horror crash.