The quality press has been accused of “sneering at the working class” by the News of the World’s managing director Bill Akass.
Talking at the Society of Editors conference, Akass defended the tabloid press’s reliance on celebrity stories and said that the public interest is not defined merely by the “snobbish elite who represent just a tiny fraction of the public”.
Making a case for the importance of celebrity stories, Akass said: “Our readers ultimately pay the wages not just of MPs and public officials but also celebrities and sports stars. We make no apologies for revealing when our readers are being cheated or misled by those who seek to profit from them.”
He went on to explain that News of the World readers “don’t live in Hampstead, don’t send their kids to public school and don’t buy
He claimed the News of the World – which is embroiled in an investigation into alleged phone hacking – and its journalism played a vital role in “preventing corruption”.
He said: “Our existence, and the existence of a robust, battling competitive press is a powerful deterrent from wrongdoing for those in public life.”
This article appears in issue 261 of Media Digest.