Sunderland-born former News of the World reporter warns newspapers over future

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A FORMER national tabloid journalist has warned that newspapers need to undergo “revolutionary reforms” to survive extinction.

Sunderland-born former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck was speaking to the Cambridge Union Society.

He told students that only radical changes could save the tabloid press.

During a talk on press ethics and phone hacking at News International, he added that he hoped the Leveson Inquiry would help to create a tabloid culture more in keeping with changing public expectation.

Mr Thurlbeck said: “We in the print media are at a crossroads and if we choose to carry on the path we have trodden so doggedly and in the same clothes for more than a century, tabloid newspapers will cease to exist in a generation.”

The 50-year-old reporter was arrested in March over allegations relating to Scotland Yard’s phone-hacking inquiry.

However, he was told last month he would not be charged with intimidating a witness or harassment, which related to a blog he posted.

Mr Thurlbeck remains on bail in relation to voicemail interception following an arrest last April.