Sunday, July 10, 2011

HACKED TO DEATH---NEWS OF THE WORLD CLOSES AFTER 168 YEARS


''THANK YOU AND GOODBYE'


News of the World Editor, Colin Myler (C), holds a copy of the latest issue as he leads his staff out of the headquarters of News International. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
  We have come to the sad and ignoble end of a once proud journalistic era as the News of the World runs off the presses for the last time.
  Beset by allegations of phone hacking, perjury by a former editor and blatant invasions of privacy, Rupert Murdoch has decided to close the 168-year-old newspaper.   While its conduct in recent years has been despicable, in the past the News of the World has conducted some first-class campaigns, brought villains to justice and broken some stories that have had a major impact on British life. Its closure will be viewed with sadness by hundreds---possibly thousands---of journalists who have worked for it over the years, including me, who had my first experience of Fleet Street through Saturday reporting shifts on the News of the World. 
News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch
  Those were the pre-Murdoch, pre-tabloid days when it was still owned by Sir William Carr and instead of celebrity kiss-and-tells, its stories tended towards randy vicars, wife-swapping headmasters and crooked councilmen. In those days it sold eight million copies a week, compared to today's 2.5 million.
  I have happy memories of being assigned a car, a driver and photographer and being dispatched to a remote country village where, unknown to his wife, the local publican had been having an affair with the sexy barmaid in the rival pub down the road. 
  And on another occasion, chasing a prominent Oxford University professor around a tennis court to ask him about his affair with a student. 
  If they didn't want to talk about it, that was fair enough---but it never ceased to surprise me how many were willing to do so. It seems that everything in those days was done without malice and with a cheery tongue-in-cheek tone.         
  Although there will no longer be a News of the World it seems likely that a Sun on Sunday will arise to take its place.
  The content will doubtless still centre around misbehaving celebrities, footballers and kiss-and-tells from C-list actresses.
   But it will never match the fun and freedom of the old, broadsheet News of the World.

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