James Murdoch has blamed his BlackBerry for missing an explosive email warning him of the extent of phone hacking at the News of the World.
Murdoch, News Corp's deputy chief operating officer and son of media oligarch Rupert Murdoch, claims he only glanced at the crucial email on his BlackBerry phone, and so missed a warning that hacking was rife at the now defunct newspaper.
Murdoch received the email from News of the World editor Colin Myler in June 2008. The message was at the top of a lengthy email chain also containing advice from the company lawyers.
But because it arrived on a Saturday, he simply replied to the email less than two minutes later, saying, "No worries" -- without actually reading the message. In fact, he didn't see the full message until last December, when it was -- how shall we put this -- a bit bloody late.
Murdoch has already been forced to resign as boss of News Corp's UK
newspapers and boss of BSkyB. The Leveson inquiry has so far led to the
closure of the News of the World and over 45 arrests.
We feel your pain, Jim. We know what it's like. It's the weekend, you want to switch off, you've just popped on your phone for a quick game of Draw Something with Jeremy and to see if anyone's going to Dave's party tonight -- and there's an email from work. Yawnsville -- of course you're going to skip over it without reading it properly.
So what if it opens with the words, "It's as bad as we feared," as the message in question read. Boooorrrriiinnng -- I've got time for a game of Angry Birds before Dad gets home!
Murdoch's email howler demonstrates the pitfalls of being connected all the time. Smart phones are fantastic and sometimes it's super-handy to be able to get at your emails on the go, but the crossover of your phone and your work can cause problems. It gives IT bods a headache, it makes it harder to leave work behind when the 5 o'clock whistle goes, and it can lead to problems like this. No wonder Volkswagen has banned email from going to workers' phones out-of-hours.
Do you find it hard to leave work when you leave work? Do you scrupulously check your email at night and weekends, or do you dizzily skip through them, Murdoch-style? Have you ever missed something important at work because your phone let you down? Tell me about it in the comments or on our Facebook wall. I mean, I won't read them, but I'll skip through them on my BlackBerry.