Kindly refrain from forgetting that Sky, Fox, The Sun, The Times etc are THE SAME THING, and the closure of their red-topped Sunday print representative (until a suitable replacement is birthed) does not mean the closure of the operation.
News International announced on Thursday that it is closing the News of the World after this Sunday’s edition, with no end in sight to the political and commercial fallout from the phone-hacking scandal after 72 hours of mounting crisis
Sunday’s edition of the paper will be the last, News International chairman James Murdoch told News of the World staff on Thursday afternoon.
Murdoch told employees at the 167-year-old title: “The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed to when it came to itself”.
Murdoch said in a statement: “Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued.”
Murdoch also conceded the company had “made statements to parliament without being in full possession of the facts. This was wrong”.
He said “the News of the World and News International wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter” and that the company had passed information to the police which would demonstrate this.
“Those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences,” he said.
Murdoch also said in his statement to staff that he had authorised out-of-court payments to victims of hacking: “I now know that I did not have a complete picture when I did so.”
He added: “That was wrong and is a matter of serious regret.”
It is the first national newspaper to close since Rupert Murdoch shut News International mid-market tabloid Today in 1995.
The News of the World was Rupert Murdoch’s first UK newspaper acquisition in 1968 and its profits helped him build his publishing and broadcasting empire in this country and the US.
The title remains the UK’s biggest-selling Sunday paper, with a circulation of 2.66m in May this year. In 1962, when the Audit Bureau of Circulations began publishing regular newspaper sales figures, the News of the World was selling 6.66m.
A spokesman for the company would not comment on whether News International will continue to publish a tabloid title on a Sunday.
The News of the World has been NI’s most profitable title for many years.
There are already industry rumours that the News of the World’s stablemate the Sun could be turned into a seven-day operation. News International has already announced plans to move to seven-day working across its four titles – the Sun, News of the World, the Times and Sunday Times – and the internet domain name thesunonsunday.co.uk was registered two days ago, although the purchaser’s identity is unclear.
Murdoch told staff some of them would be leaving the company and said that was a matter of regret. He paid tribute to their “good work”
There will be no adverts in Sunday’s edition and any money already received will be donated to good causes.
The closure of the paper is a dramatic move designed to assuage public anger at shocking revelations about the behaviour of its journalists, but it is unlikely that NI’s printing presses will be left idle on a Sunday.
Sky News reported that NI chief executive Rebekah Brooks was in tears as she told staff the title is to close.
Labour MP Tom Watson, who has been highlighting the phone-hacking scandal at the paper for two years, said: “Rupert Murdoch did not close the News of the World. It is the revulsion of families up and down the land as to what they got up to. It was going to lose all its readers and it had no advertisers left. They had no choice.”
The News of the World, which has averaged about £660,000 in advertising income each weekend so far this year according to industry estimates, was already facing a widespread advertiser boycott on Sunday.
A revolt by advertisers gathered pace in the past 24 hours as Prime Minister David Cameron announced public inquiries into phone hackingand criticism of the paper’s activities mounted from politicians and the general public.
There were also the first signs of a possible boycott by readers, with one independent convenience chain admitting on Thursday that it would not be stocking the title in its five stores across Essex and Cambridgeshire. The owner said he took the decision because one of his shops, at Ely station, is close to Soham where Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were murdered.
Earlier this week it was alleged that Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective formerly employed by the paper, may have hacked into the phones of Wells and Chapman’s parents.
The number of alleged phone-hacking incidents perpetrated by the paper in years gone by had also continued to grow, with the latest involving families of members of the armed forces killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. More details were also emerging about alleged payments by News of the World journalists to Metropolitan police officers.
Most NoW advertisers, including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Dixons, Boots, Specsavers, Ford, Halifax, Co-op and Npower had already pulled their campaigns. It is understood News International only had four left – BSkyB, British Gas, Mars and Tesco.
The decision to close the paper is understood to have come following a meeting on Thursday between executives including Murdoch, who is also the deputy chief operating officer of NI-owner News Corp and oversees the UK business, Brooks, and the publisher’s commercial managing director, Paul Hayes.
Rival publishers were said by media buying agency sources to be descending on advertisers like “ambulance chasers” looking to snap up potentially millions in ad revenue from the “toxic” News of the World, with companies responsible for more than £8m in annual spend pulling campaigns in the past 24 hours.
A number of media buying agency executives said they had been inundated with calls from rival publishers querying what the advertisers they represent might be looking to do with their budget.
“It is like ambulance chasing, calls are coming from rivals [newspapers], smaller publishers, radio and outdoor – you name it,” said one senior industry source. “The NoW brand is now so toxic that by association clients definitely want out this weekend at least.”