Tears, cheers and anger at News of the World farewell

Sat Jul 9, 2011 8:16pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White and Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON (Reuters) - In a moment of celebration tinged with sorrow and no little anger, the staff of Britain's best-selling News of the World tabloid cheered as they left their offices on Saturday for the last time.

Reporters, editors and production staff walked out of the building in east London en masse, and lined up before the world's cameras waiting to capture a piece of media history.

The headline of the last edition was simple and unusually low key. It read: "THANK YOU & GOODBYE" and underneath in smaller print added: "After 168 years, we finally say a sad but very proud farewell to our 7.5 million loyal readers."

The words appeared over a montage of some of the paper's most famous front pages, most of them involving celebrities, members of the royal family and politicians.

Inside, the paper ran several nostalgic editorials charting its successes over the years, in addition to the usual fare of celebrity gossip, showbiz and other news. The only adverts the last issue carried were for charities.

The owners of News of the World made the shock decision to close the title on Thursday in the face of mounting criticism of its newsgathering techniques. [nL6E7I909T]

Claims of illegal hacking into the voicemails of stars, royals, families of soldiers killed in combat and a kidnapped girl later found murdered have engulfed parent company News Corp in scandal.

Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp which also owns the Sun, Times and Sunday Times newspapers in Britain, flies to London this weekend to try to contain the fallout, fearing it could jeopardize his bid to buy British broadcaster BSkyB.   Continued...