Editor Tells ‘N.Y. Post’ Staff Not to Destroy Hacking-Related Documents

Request is precautionary, Col Allan says

Employees of the New York Post have received emails from editor Col Allan and their parent company's lawyers asking them to hold on to any hacking-related documents in light of the current News Corp. investigation, according to memos published by Jim Romenesko at Poynter.

“By now, you have received an email from News Corporation’s in-house legal counsel to preserve and maintain documents,” Allan wrote. “All New York Post employees have been asked to do this in light of what has gone on in London at News of the World, and not because any recipient has done anything improper or unlawful. As we watched the news in the U.K. over the last few weeks, we knew that as a News Corporation tabloid, we would be looked at more closely. So this is not unexpected.”

Allan asked for his staff’s “full and absolute cooperation” in complying with the legal team, but said that he understands any concerns the employees might have with protecting their sources. “While we have instituted this hold, we do intend to protect from disclosure all legitimate and lawful journalistic sources in accordance with the law,” he wrote.

In the original email, company lawyers asked the Post staff to retain (i.e., not destroy or alter, but not necessarily collect) “any documents pertaining to unauthorized retrieval of phone or personal data, to payments for information to government officials, or that is related in any way to these issues.” And by "document," the lawyers don't just mean typed pages: The word applies to a long list of media, including text messages, social media content, appointment books, and disk drives.