News of the World One Year on: Where Is News International Now?

07/07/2012 17:18 BST | Updated 06/09/2012 10:12 BST

When the News of the World closed down, you'd think after playing a small part in its downfall, I'd be happy.

Working with John, Tom Watson and Chris Bryant, we helped to expose the lie that it was one rogue reporter and only a handful of people were hacked. One of the smoking guns proved to be the invoice from News International that proved Glenn Mulcaire had billed for two pieces of investigative work.

In spite of constant denials from the Met Police's Yates of the Yard, the investigation was reopened, the plastic bags full of evidence were finally examined and it proved John was targeted, through the hacking of his Chief of Staff, Joan Hammell.

When the Milly Dowler hacking was confirmed and the advertisers deserted the paper in droves - the death knoll sounded at the News of the World.

But as we approach the first anniversary, I won't be popping corks.

The Murdochs had decided to sacrifice a paper that, putting your political opinions aside, had played a huge part in the cultural life of the UK and my own.

I remember doing a couple of shifts there for back in 1993 - my first on Fleet Street, though by then it was in Wapping.

To this day, from my time at the Sunday People, to a GMTV producer and a BBC editor, I have never known an environment like it.

The NOTW's news desk's biggest rivals weren't the other papers - it was its own features desk. As all Sundays are, they were driven for exclusives. But its commitment was unrivalled. This was pre-hacking. Their stories came from good, solid contacts, leads and investigative work - and of course quite a few buy ups.

But that was the old regime. The days before Wade and Coulson.

In 2001 they'd discovered my long lost step-brother Paul.

He'd been put up for adoption by my mum when she was 19 and he was three years old. He'd gone on to have a remarkable career - Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Military Police, arranging security for Thatcher's Ireland visits, setting up the policing in post-Kosovo liberated Pristina and being awarded an MBE and OBE.

Out of the blue, we received a call from a contact at the MOD. A hack from the NOTW - now under Wade and her No. 2 Coulson - had door-stepped my step-brother and told him for the first time who his mother was.

We managed to keep this quiet with the newspaper for two years as they knew the stress this would put on his adopted mother. We needed time to break it to her and they gave it us.

But in 2003, eventually we had to manage the story with Rebekah, who at this time had gone to edit the Sun. We met at the Captain Kidd pub near Wapping. I found her charming, professional and she actually played it quite fair. We had more trouble with Coulson, who was understandably furious the scoop was being broken in the Sun, in a deal arranged by News International's Chief Executive Les Hinton.

So if it wasn't for the News of the World, we wouldn't have been reunited as a family.

Its last editor Colin Myler was also dealt a bad hand by the Murdochs. He rightly won acclaim for his paper's brilliant expose of alleged match fixing involving Pakistan international cricketers.

Myler led a hard-working team of hacks - some of them my friends and colleagues - who were the envy of their peers and ultimately lost their jobs for a few bad apples in the Wade/Coulson era.

So a year on where is News International?

The company got cost efficiencies with a seven day a week Sun - the NOTW was selling 2.6 million towards the end. The Sun on Sunday now gets 2.2 million with 200 less journalists on the pay roll.

They made a blood sacrifice to stop the rot spreading to News International. Journalists have been arrested at Wapping but very few charged and contagion was checked at the Screws.

But NI lost its prized Sky bid, with Rupert acknowledging only days ago NI will never get control of it.

So axing a paper with a 168 year-old heritage was ultimately a futile gesture.

But then this wasn't personal.

It was purely business.