Advertisers face pressure over scandal at tabloid

SMU Journalism Professor Jake Batsell talks about the fallout from the News of the World scandal in which news staff are accused of illegally hacking into a murdered teenage girl's cell phone.

By Anika Anand contributor

Advertisers fled British tabloid News of the World, and stock in its parent company, media giant News Corp., fell Wednesday amid a growing phone-hacking scandal.

Ford, Mitsubishi Motors and Virgin Holidays are among the marketers who have declared they will pull advertising from the newspaper after police opened an investigation into whether news staff illegally hacked into a murdered teenage girl's cell phone. Other advertisers said they would wait to see the results of the police probe. . .

Jake Batsell, a digital journalism professor at Southern Methodist University, said the outrage factor is higher than usual due to the facts of the case. Published reports say a newspaper researcher erased voice messages to make room for more, giving the parents of the missing girl false hope that she was still alive.

"The explosion seems even more intense than usual because we're not talking about a celebrity being victimized, we're talking about a normal person who could be anyone," said Batsell.

In an effort to capitalize on the outrage sweeping Britain, car company Mitsubishi not only said it would cancel its advertising in News of the World but also responded to a Facebook user's suggestion and announced it would donate the ad dollars to a charity.

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