Summary Box: Ex-reporters defend tabloid tactics

DEFENSE OF THE TABLOIDS: Two former reporters for the now-defunct News of the World spoke up for much-maligned tabloid tactics.

THE JUSTIFICATION: They say that undercover stings and kiss-and-tell stories help expose criminals and hypocrites. Both say reporters and editors balance privacy against the public’s right to know.

THE FORUM: The two spoke at a media-ethics inquiry in Britain set up after it emerged that the News of the World had for years illegally eavesdropped on the voicemail messages in its quest for exclusive stories.