Corpus Investigation of the phrase 'Public Interest'
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx0CENTRE FOR APPLIED LINGUISTICSMA ASSIGNMENT COVER SHEETSTUDENT ID NUMBER: 1163612PROGRAMME: MA IN ELTMM/ICTMODULE NAME: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR – ET904-BMODULE TUTOR: SUE WHARTONWORD COUNT:2,195ASSIGNMENT QUESTION:DATE DUE: 12 NOON on 11 JANUARY 2012DATE SUBMITTED: 9 JANUARY 2012In completing the details on this cover sheet and submitting the assignment, you are doing so on thebasis that this assignment is all your own work and that you have not borrowed or failed toacknowledge anyone else’s workPlease X this box if you agree to this statement XAssignment BUsing lexical analysis software, investigate the behaviour of a word or word sequencein either a large general corpus, or a smaller specialised corpus. Discuss thecollocations, semantic associations, and grammar patterns of your chosen word or wordsequence.Your assignment should include (word counts are given as guidelines only):- A brief discussion of your reasons for focusing on your chosen word(s), of thecorpus on which your analysis is based, and the analysis procedures youundertook (100-200 words)- Your analysis of the words’ behaviour in the corpus- A discussion of the significance of your analysis, explaining what you havediscovered about the behaviour of the word, either generally or within aspecialised domain.Concordance lines, tables of collocates etc. may be included as appendices.
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx1An analysis and comparison of the behaviour of the phrase,‘Public Interest’using a large general corpus and a subcorpus of UK newspapers.INTRODUCTION:The phrase,‘public interest’, has a long history, with a current topical significancei.I am interested inknowing whether lexical priming can account for the way in which this phrase is used. UsingHallidayan references, Hoey’s (2005) theory, and a large general corpus, the Collins Wordbankii, I willinvestigate the behaviour of the phrase.‘Public interest’ can be defined simply as ‘the common welfare of the people’. It can also be definedmore broadly as:a common concern among citizens in the management and affairs of local, state, andnational government. It does not mean mere curiosity but is a broad term that refers to the bodypolitic and the public weal. A public utility is regulated in the public interest because privateindividuals rely on such a company for vital services.iiiThis definition is concerned with thefact that the people have a right to know something because itmay affect them directly. However, there is a more ambiguous definition such as:the fact that people in general are interested in something.ivA publicised event can be cancelled, for example, because of a lack of ‘public interest’.Analysis – collocation:The individual words ‘public’ and ‘interest’ are already widely used together. To make any claimsabout what other words ‘public interest’ collocates with, we need to use corpus evidence.We candefinecollocation in statistical terms as the sequences of words which occur more often than wouldbe expected by chance.(Sinclair, 1991). Similarly:If words commonly occur in the same text and we are frequently exposed to their co-occurrence, we come to expect them together (Bloor and Bloor, 1995:101).A search for the phrase ‘public interest’, across all text types, generates 2517 hits [see Appendix A].A further search for collocates of ‘public interest’, using standard settingsv, sorted by T-scorevi, brings
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx2up the definitive article, ‘the’ (Frequency: 2305; T-score: 45.760), and preposition, ‘in’ (F: 1220; T:33.848),as the most common. Adjusting the concordance horizon range to -5 to 0, to show justthose collocates to the left of the phrase, results in (F: 1710; T: 38.739) and (F: 758; T: 26.161)respectively [Appendix B]. If the T-score is ‘the confidence with which we can assert that there is anassociation’ (Collins, 2009, release notes) then we could readily claim that ‘the public interest’andthe prepositional phrase, ‘in the public interest’, are the most common collocates. This adds asignificant meaning towards the concept of ‘public interest’ as it implies that an action, such asadisclosure, is carried out for the benefit of the public, adding a general appeal, relevance orimportance.The high frequency of a full stop (F: 1078; T:29.500) and the capitalised, definitive article, ‘The’ (F:227 14.120), suggests that the phrase appears commonly at the end of a sentence. Furtherinvestigation shows this is generally true, with substantial appearance at the beginning of a sentencealso [Appendix C]. The words ‘Research’ (F:52) and ‘Group’ (F:50) both capitalised, appearexclusively in US literature, as part of the wider phrase, ‘Public Interest Research Group’[AppendixD].Using‘word sketch’vii, the word ‘public’ acts as a modifying adjective for the word ‘interest’ 1952times [Appendix E]. This is ranked fifth after ‘service’, ‘opinion’, ‘school’ and ‘sector’, which areeffectively more common collocates. By comparison, ‘interest’, as a noun, is modified by ‘public’more than any other word.Narrowingthe focus using ‘Newspapers (form)>news (domain) >UK (country)’,viiithis filtered search,or‘subcorpus’, generates 647 hits. Again, ‘in’ (F:334; T:17.745) and ‘the’ (F:605; T:23.468)have thehighest frequency[Appendix F].647 represents more than half of the hits (1016), found if filtering justby country and this reflects the high percentage of newspapers (51.80%) in the corpus.An analysis of the subcorpus reveals the following frequencies of ‘parts of speech’, within theconcordance horizon of -5 preceding the phrase, ‘public interest’:Determiner (the, a) 547 hits [Appendix G]Preposition (e.g. against, for, in, under) 479 [Appendix H]Noun (e.g. Government, consideration) 387 [Appendix I]Verb inc. Modals (e.g. is, was, will, could) 295 [Appendix J]Pronoun (e.g. it, who, he) 135 [Appendix K]
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx3Within the subcorpus, the phrase is preceded by ‘the’ 350 times, and by ‘in the’ on 190occasions[Appendix L]. Just as ‘in the’ collocates highly with ‘public interest’, the verb, ‘to be’,insome form or other, is the most commonly collocated verb with eitherversion. Thus, the lexicalchunk, ‘is (not) in the public interest’ is widely used.‘Being’ can also be described as a ‘process’,which I will return to when looking at colligation.Priming as an explanation of collocationHoey (2005) states that the widespread use of collocations can be explained by ‘priming’, which is apsychologicalconcept. We can only account for collocation, he argues, if every word is mentallyprimed, or preferred for collocational use. As a word, or phrase:is acquired through encounters with it in speech and writing, it becomes cumulativelyloaded with the contexts and co-texts in which it is encountered, and our knowledge of it includesthe fact that it co-occurs with other words in certain kinds of context (Hoey, 2005:8).If members of the public were asked what word succeeds ‘public’, they would not necessarily say‘interest’ (F:1952; T: 7.87), but they might. ‘School’ (F: 3517; T: 8.28) is arguably more likely to be theresponse. It is also arguably more likely thatasked what word precedes‘interest’, a higher proportionwould say ‘public’ than most other words, such as ‘commercial’ (F:417; T:7.6).Stubbs (1996, in Hoey, 2005:8) states that:‘Speakers are free, but only within constraints … the reproduction of the system is theunintended product of *a speaker’s+ routine behaviour’.However, can we say that the meaning of ‘public interest’ has been primed over long exposure tothe phrase? Is there a constraint to how it is used? Furthermore, if priming leads to a speakerunintentionally reproducing an aspect of language which subsequently primes the hearer (Hoey,2005:9), then can the meaning associated with that phrase change in the way that definitions ofsome words change over time? I will return to this later.Semantic AssociationWhatever definitionsaregiven to ‘public interest’, the semantic associations are quite separate fromthe two words that it combines. Hoey(ibid:12) states that if priming can account for collocation,then it opens up that priming can explain other features of language. One feature is the semanticprosody (positive or negative connotations)of a phrase. It is arguable that the only positive ornegative connotation of our phrase is whether something is or is not deemed ‘to be of it’. A piece of
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx4information, or the act of uncovering one, can be expressed in terms of whether it is or isn’t in the‘public interest’, but this is more clear cut, I would argue, than suggesting that connotation exists.Semantic preference (Sinclair, 1991) or semantic association (Hoey, 2005) are terms used:when a word or word sequence is associated in the mind of a language user with a semanticset or class, some members of which are also collocates for that user (Hoey, 2005:24)A list of semantic associations is difficult to draw up. It is easier to focus on ‘parts of speech’. Theoriginal corpuscontained a high frequency of short, prepositional words [Appendix B]:Preposition FrequencyRange: -5 to 5T-score/Ranking(excludingpunctuation)FrequencyRange: -5 to 0T-score/Ranking(excludingpunctuation)Of 640 23.172 – 3rd459 18.914 – 3rdTo 621 22.674 – 4th348 15.654 – 5thFor 317 16.760 – 8th221 13.615 – 6thBy 138 10.970 – 17th50 5.780 – 26thOn 107 8.857 – 25th61 5.840 – 24thAgainst 80 8.762 – 27th68 8.048 – 17thAdjectives which modify the phrase appearless commonly than one might predict. The first one,‘intense’ is found in 65thplace – (F:29; T: 5.372), with ‘contrary’ second in67th(F:28; T: 5.285). The third, ‘legitimate’ (F:24; T: 4.891) forms part of asmall, ‘legal’ noun set (law, legitimate, litigation, judge, lawyers) [AppendixM]. Other semantically associated words, such as ‘Government’ and‘political’ are found, but not in significant numbers, according to this data.Premodifiers, for example, adjectives that can be grouped by size(‘great(er)’ F:34; ‘growing’ F:11; ‘huge’ F:11; ‘enormous’ F:6), or groupedby gravity(‘broad’ F:16; ‘significant’ F:5; ‘outstanding F:1)are even lessapparent. ‘Public interest’ is, therefore, a phrase which somewhatsurprisingly, according to this data, only occasionally gets preceded by aword which pre-modifies it.
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx5Other terms appear, but not as frequently as might be predicted. For example, the words, ‘attract’ indifferent‘lemmatized’ versions (F:17), (Appendix N),‘clearly’ (F:15), (Appendix O) and the phrase,‘lack of’ (F:12)[Appendix P].Pragmatic AssociationDoes the phrase attract what Hoey(2005) terms pragmatic association?[This] occurs when a word or word sequence is associated with a set of features that allserve the same or similar pragmatic functions … The boundaries between pragmatic association andsemantic association are not going to be clear cut, because priming occurs without reference totheoretical distinctions of this sort (Hoey, 2005:26).For there to be pragmatic association here, the phrase, ‘public interest’,would need to be shown to be associated with words which have a similarpragmatic function.A search using the subcorpa and thecollocation tool generates a word,‘Immunity (F:8 – 1st) / immunity’ (F:18 – 4th), at the top, when ranked by MIscore (see also note v). The word ‘immunity’ appears because of a wider legalcontext of a witness being protected and, therefore, can be associated withthe wider semantic association mentioned earlier, along with ‘prosecuting’,‘evidence’, ‘court’, ‘Appeal’ and the lemma, ‘disclosure’, which appears inthree forms, with the highest-ranked one due to ‘the Public InterestDisclosure Act 1998’.However, in searching for pragmatic functions, I seem to have discovered another list of semanticassociations, albeit in a different way. Would I have to find words with a similar pragmatic functionbefore rejecting the notion that priming is taking place? ixColligationJust as a lexical item may be primed, or preferred, to co-occur with another lexical item, so also ‘itmay be primed to occur in or with a particular grammatical function’ (Hoey, 2005:43). One way ofanalysing the grammatical behaviour of the phrase is using the KWIC sentence view[Appendix Q],rather than viewing the node phrase within the context of words either side.
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx6Immediately, it appears that ‘public interest’ prefers a complement position, either as direct object -‘The only moralists (Subject) who (relative pronoun) have (Finite) attracted (predicator) publicinterest (Cdo)…’ – or as part of an intensive complement - ‘Largest chainsare abusingtheir marketpower against the public interest (Cint)’.Rather than being the subject, as you would expect if an article was about ‘(the) public interest’, thephrase appears,more likely, to be the direct or indirect complement of some other action. It is notfrequently used as the head of a noun group.This, in turn, fits with the original discovery that ‘in the’was the most common collocation to the left of the phrase. We couldsuggest, therefore, that thephrase is positioned towards the end of a clause or sentence, as an external reason for an actiontaking place.A further example:The prepositional phrase, ‘in thepublic interest’, could be seen, however,as a kindof‘exophoric’,circumstantial adjunct, ratherthan a complement. It doesnot answer the question,‘who or what?’ in the traditional complementsense (Bloor and Bloor, 1995:47). Nor is it somethingwhich has an action done to it. But it performs a ‘slightly peripheral’ function in the clause (ibid:51).It is grammatically optional to include it, as the sentence above could have ended with ‘… a jury whoaccepted his defence.’ But it does provide an external reason –hence the ‘exophoric’ label - for anaction or process, ‘being acquitted’. Similarly, it could be a dependent factor on an action takingplace in the future:The ‘public interest’ is a general concept of something which exists, is generally understood, butwhich has contrasting definitions. It could only be a ‘participant’, that is, an element in theideational function of a clause, during a discussion about its definition, such as the example below:TransitivityEarlier I noted the frequency of the verb ‘be’used with the phrase. ‘Be’ is part of a verbal group,made up of lexical verbs (open set) and auxiliary verbs (closed set), which is frequently represented
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx7in clauses using the phrase. The Hallidayan concept of transitivity includes the function of processtypes, as explained:The process centres on that part of the clause that is realised by the verbal group, but it canalso be regarded as what goings-on are represented in the whole clause (Bloor and Bloor, 1995:120).The phrase does appear to attract what can be described as ‘relational process’ types, although thisalso contains difficulties:The semantics of relational process is very complicatedand different sets of Participant rolescan be associated with different, more delicate categories of Relational Process. Out of context it isoften difficult, frequently impossible, to subclassify Relational Processes precisely (ibid:110).Relational processes are, put simply, ‘being’ or ‘having’ verbs. Out of 647 concordance lines, 370include a form of ‘to be’, while 66 include a form of ‘to have’ [Appendix R]. From this, we cancontinue to build up collocated expressions, such as ‘to be in the public interest’. I earlier suggestedthat the prepositional phrase, ‘in the public interest’, is a kind of circumstantial adjunct. This term isusually reserved for showing when (time) and where (place) an action ‘goes on’. In an abstract senseit tells us where the relational processes are taking place. When an action takes place it is frequentlysaid to ‘have’ or ‘be’in the public interest. Furthermore, in Hallidayan SFPCA functional terms,relational processes frequently take an intensive complement, which fits the pattern of manysentences featuring the phrase.Discussion:I began with some definitions of ‘public interest’. One frames the concept as having direct relevanceor importance, whilst the other, more ambiguous term, refers to a general interest. There is no UKparliamentary definition, although meaning is often constructed vis-à-vis the ‘substantial harm’ testor the ‘freedom of information’x.I am interested in the how certain sections of the print media haveredefined what is ‘in the public interest’ as information quite removed from the original definition ofpeople having a right to know something because it affects them directly.How the phrase behaves in this particular corpus, however, does not appear to change dependingon the definition used.The phrase seems to act significantly as an exophoric, circumstantial adjunctas part of a relational process. It appears to position itself more towards the end of a sentence orclause than at the beginning and forms a wider context for more specific actions to take place.
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx8I earlier asked whether priming is involved in the way the phrase is used. It is possible, I wouldsuggest, that long exposure to the idea that something of general interest is ‘in the public interest’has skewed the original meaning somewhat. The meaning associated with the phrase may havechanged over time. ‘Priming’ operates on a psychological, unintentional level and is concerned withunintentional reproduction. This does not appear, however, to be the case with this phrase. It mighthave certain behavioural characteristics, but it is questionable whether its behaviour is affected bypriming. That is not to say that priming does not take place for other lexis, which clearly it does.iThe phrase, ‘in the public interest’, is frequently associated with the justifications of mediainvestigations and this is a topical issue in the UK, with the general ethics of the printed press,currently being investigated under the Leveson Inquiry. This inquiry includes, amongst other‘modules’, an inquiry into the relationships between the press and police and the extent to whichthat has operated in the public interest. It is a ‘slippery concept’ and has been widely discussed atthe ongoing inquiry (see Appendix S for fuller quotes).There is currently no parliamentary definition of ‘public interest’. Its definition is highly important asit used in framing concerns over the justification for certain practices by the press, includingconcerns on specific matters by the chairman:I do entirely understand the significance of the issue and I recognise that it is likely to be inthe public interest that this be resolved in an orderly manner.Lord Justice Leveson, 14 December 2011The issue that Lord Justice Leveson is referring to in this particular quote is whether the Guardiannewspaper was accurate to describe ‘as fact’ that the News of the World had deliberately deletedvoice messages from the mobile phone of the murdered schoolgirl, Amanda ‘Milly’ Dowler.Ideally, an analysis of a corpus which includes all UK newspapers, not a selection may producedifferent interpretations of the phrase ‘public interest’ in order to justify its actions, but may notproduce differences in phrasal behaviour.The way one politically oriented newspaper might be ‘primed’ to use the phrase may differ from theway a differently oriented newspaper might be ‘primed’. If, by primed, we are concerned by thepsychological approach to the use of lexis, then surely this can include motivations, restrictions and
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx9coercions on the part of a newspaper owner to the writer, say, an editor or a journalist. Indeed, myown selections and interpretations might be influenced by the ‘priming’ that I have been exposed to.iiThe Collins Wordbank is a large general corpus, with 22,620 documents containing 553,171,489 tokens.51.80% of the text comes from newspapers, 27.54% from books, 11.12% from spoken sources and 7.91% frommagazines. Similarly, 52.31% of the texts relate to news. Source: Release Notes 2009.iiiThe Free Dictionary http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Public+InterestivMacmillan Dictionary http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/public-interestvStandard settings are to search for a key word in the range: -5 to 5, minimum frequency in corpus: 5,minimum frequency in given range: 3, by T-score and MI. Source: Release Notes 2009.viThe Mutual Information score expresses the extent to which observed frequency of co-occurrence differsfrom what we would expect (statistically speaking). In statistically pure terms this is a measure of the strengthof association between words x and y. In a given finite corpus MI is calculated on the basis of the number oftimes you observed the pair together versus the number of times you saw the pair separately.MI does not work well with very low frequencies - the t-score provides a way of getting away from thisproblem as it also take frequencies into account. The t-score is a measure not of the strength of associationbut the confidence with which we can assert that there is an association. MI is more likely to give high scoresto totally fixed phrases whereas t-score will yield significant collocates that occur relatively frequently. In mostcases, t-score is the most reliable measurement.viiWord Sketch shows the words which typically combine with a chosen search term, and what theirgrammatical relation is to the search term.viiiFor the purpose of this subcorpus (of 122,719,932 tokens), the results include the Independent, The Times,The Sunday Times, The Sun and, interestingly, The News Of The World. It also includes four regionalnewspapers - Glasgow Herald, Belfast Telegraph, Irish Times and Liverpool News. Source: Release Notes 2009.ixAn attempt to carry out more specific searches for grammar, such as using the CQL (Coprpus QueryLanguage) box were thwarted by an software system error. Screenshot below.xAmongst other relevant pages on the parliamentary website, this committee, set up in 2011, has been set upto look at the issue of defamation. Clause 2 asks the general public whether ‘public interest’ should bedefined. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/joint-select/draft-defamation-bill1/news/call-for-evidence/
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx10REFERENCES:BBC Newsnight:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b018b9kf/Newsnight_14_12_2011/.Accessed on 14 December 2011.Bloor, T and Bloor, M. (1995)The Functional Analysis of English: A Hallidayan Approach. London:ArnoldDavis, N. (2011) at the Leveson Inquiry: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2011/nov/29/leveson-inquiry-nick-davies-paul-mcmullan-live#block-50. Accessed 17 December 2011.Leveson Inquiry: Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press: http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/Collins WordbanksOnline(2009): ‘Corpus Concordance Sampler’Available at:http://wordbanks.harpercollins.co.ukHoey, M (2005) Lexical Priming: A New Theory of words and language. London: Routledge.Sinclair, J.M. (1991)Corpus, Concordance, Collocation in Hoey, M(2005) Lexical Priming: A NewTheory of words and language. London: Routledge.Stubbs, M. (1996) Text and Corpus Analysis in Hoey, M(2005) Lexical Priming: A New Theory ofwords and language. London: Routledge.Appendix A:
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx11First page only (20 concordance lines) of an unfiltered search for ‘public interest’, across the wholecorpus, with default settings.Appendix B:
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx12In the range: -5 to 5 In the range: -5 to 0 (collocating on the left)Appendix C:
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx13Page 3 of 12 highlighting the collocate ‘The’ (capital letter) to show how the phrase ‘public interest’commonly appears at the beginning and end of a sentence.Appendix D:Exclusively US literature found for the words ‘Research’ and ‘Group’.
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx14Appendix E:Grammatical relationship of ‘public’ and ‘interest’Appendix F:
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx15‘public interest’ filtered subcorpus: - Page 1 of 33most popular collocates in the subcorpus.Appendix G:
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx16Appendix H:Appendix I:
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx17Appendix J:Appendix K:
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx18Appendix L:Appendix M:
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx19Highlighted results from whole, unfiltered corpus:
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx21Appendix Q:Appendix R:
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx22Appendix S:Extracts which quote the phrase, ‘public interest’ during one day of hearing at the Leveson Inquiry, 29November 2012. Available at: http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/hearing/2011-11-29am/and at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2011/nov/29/leveson-inquiry-nick-davies-paul-mcmullan-live#block-50
ET904-B: LEXIS AND GRAMMAR STUDENT ID: xxxxxxxx23One view:12.01pm:Nick Davies, of the Guardian, says in paragraph six of his statement that the concept of public interestcan be particularly "slippery". Expanding on this, he says in operational terms its difficult because its hard totell where the lines are supposed to lie. The answer is it would be all right if its in the public interest but weare stymied … very often it isnt clear and personally I would like it if somebody [set up] a public interestadvisory body that I, or a member of the public, could go to and could get high quality advice.In the advent of a dispute I would be able to provide the advice and say this is what I was told. I would havesomething that was weighty in the event of a dispute.12.03pm: In relation to the public interest, Davies says: I profoundly disagree that the News of the World hada public interest in publishing the story about Max Mosleys sex life.12.39pm: Davies written statement expands on the reasons why he felt it would be a breach of privacy topublish a story about a former ministers phone being hacked.The raw material for that story included details ofmessages which had been exchanged between him and a woman friend. I argued that we should not publishthose messages - they were intrusive, and it was perfectly possible to expose the important point, that thisminister had been a victim, without breaching his privacy.The same kind of balance was raised by the story of the hacking of MillyDowlers voicemail which I brought inin July 2011. I was sure that it was a matter of public interest that should be revealed, but I had some concernthat publication would breach the Dowler familys privacy by exposing them to yet more publicity.2.38pm: Davies is now discussing a story about David Blunketts alleged relationship with a married woman. Hesays he would not have published this because it was "prurient" and an "unjust invasion into his privatelife"".However, as the journalists "dug in" to the story they did uncover something of public interest, which wasthat Blunkett allegedly helped fast track a visa for the womans nanny.Alternative view:2.54pm:Paul McMullan,the former News of the World deputy,worked on the "name and shame" paedophilestory which he says was one of the Rebekah Brookss good ideas.McMullan offers his definition of publicinterest:Circulation defines what is the public interest. I dont see its the job of anyone else to force the publicto read this or that.I dont see its our job to force the public to choose – You must read this and you cant readthat.3.12pm: McMullan says if he hacked David Beckhams phone – which he is not saying he did – it was in thepublic interest. He also says an ordinary trick used by teenagers has been elevated into a national scandal aboutphone hacking.