Guest Lecture: Sandra Laville

Loss of faith in journalism has long been an issue, but the phone hacking scandal and subsequent Leveson Inquiry has only fulled that fire further. Crime Correspondent at The Guardian, Sandra Laville, gave a guest lecture to remind Journalism students at University College Falmouth that hope was not all lost.

“I have to be the people’s eyes and ears, to hold the authorities to account and to give people voices who don’t have voices normally,” she said, upon defining her role as a journalist.

The aforementioned phone hacking scandal brought about many (still unanswered) questions of the integrity of journalism as a practice, public interest and so on.

She was asked of her opinion in regards to Rupert Murdoch and his knowledge of phone hacking, but she believed that the problem was far below him, and didn’t comment further.

Laville gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry in March but is worried that Lord Justice Leveson is focusing on a need to monitor and record all contact between officers and journalists. She feels that this will prevent her from doing her job properly.

She has held informal contacts with police officers throughout her career often meeting up for drinks to gain stories and quotes, but Leveson is contemplating banning alcohol being consumed with journalists.

Laville believes that the MET as a resource is limited and she needs more places to get information regarding the services, something Leveson is also thinking about giving journalists access to.

She confessed that when pressed for a statement that differed to the one she had officially given prior to the inquiry, she relented and gave Leveson the information he wanted to hear, but now regrets that decision and will be appealing to revise her statement.



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